The 2017 edition of the National Debate Forum was the second event organized in Bulgaria as part of the Debating Threats to Democracy Project. The event took place in Varna, Bulgaria from 4th of May till the 7th of May 2017.

This was the Fourth edition of the National Debating Forum in Bulgaria and the second one organized as a part of DTTD project.  The National Debate Forum is a 4 day event combining debating and civics workshops with simultaneous mock tournaments in different formats. The event was attended by 252 people in total including 221 participants, 21 organizers, trainers and coaches as well as 10 volunteers.

The key goals for the National Debating Forum are to promote critical thinking and awareness among the young people in Bulgaria regarding certain topics, especially ones that threaten the democratic liberties.

The National debate forum gathers at one place the best and brightest high school and University students in the country who receive training from some of the best debate coaches available in the country as well as internationally renowned debate trainers. All participants were exposed to many workshops and lectures which expanded their understanding for the democratic structure of a state. What are the underlining principles for a functioning liberal society and how change is achieved. The knowledge gained through the workshops and trainings was then reinforce during the debate rounds

Number of public debates started taking place after the forum, addressing important questions in local communities. For example the SDA would be organizing a public debate on the topic of nationalism in cooperation with the National Historical Museum of Bulgaria.

As well as the debate trainings the National Debate Forum focuses on topics as structural dialogue and using debating in real life as a tool for civil participation. To achieve that purpose, as guest lecturers at this year’s event were invited Iva Tzolova and Alexandra Mircheva, who are the current youth delegates of Bulgaria to the UN. They both held workshops and lectures on topics as youth participation, structural dialogue and activism.