Special Award in Journalism
Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
This professional project grant is for specialists in the field of journalism to work with the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD). CSD is a Sofia-based European policy institute, combining knowledge on economics, law, criminology, political science, and sociology. CSD’s mission is to build bridges between scholars and policy makers.
CSD is looking for an energetic, organized, and detail-oriented journalist, well-versed in the strategic use of media. The grant is based at the organization’s headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria, where its team of professionals will support the journalist in developing materials based on their research for a broader readership.
CSD seeks support to increase audience, raise profile and maximize impact via reports in English-language media on priority policy issues like foreign authoritarian influence (based on CSD’s Kremlin Playbook series), countering strategic corruption and disinformation, as well as transition to low-carbon economy. The grantee will take part in developing content and stories, media relations, and public policy events. Grant activities could include: developing strategies for connecting CSD experts with international media (in the US and Europe); drafting author-controlled Op-eds and other pieces on CSD priority topics and promoting them for publication in European, US and other relevant international media; working with the CSD communications team to implement initiatives with strategic impact.
CSD is a Sofia-based institute. Scholars are expected to live and work in Sofia.
Eight to ten months
Start date is flexible, but September 2023 is preferable.
Conversational Bulgarian is useful but not required.
Candidates should ideally hold a master’s degree in journalism or related field (political science), and must have a minimum of three years of professional experience.
$3,000 per month
Travel allowance of $1,700 and relocation allowance of $1,300 for grantee. Travel allowance of $1,500 for one dependent and $3,000 for two or more accompanying dependents who remain in country with grantee for at least 80% of grant duration.
Basic housing allowance for grantee with no dependents is $600 per month; additional housing allowance of $100 per month for one dependent / $200 per month for two or more dependents.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
Bulgaria offers up to five Fulbright US Scholar awards (3-5 months), open to all disciplines.
What is life like in Bulgaria?
The benefits of life in Bulgaria include a breathtaking countryside, a relaxed lifestyle, friendly people, cheap prices, and delicious food. Bulgaria is generally a peaceful and safe country, and the local population is proud of the country’s long history and holds education in very high regard, which results in a good number of opportunities for collaboration.
“Founded in the 7th century CE, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states on the European continent. It is intersected by historically important routes from northern and eastern Europe to the Mediterranean basin and from western and central Europe to the Middle East. Before the creation of the Bulgarian state, the empires of ancient Rome, Greece, and Byzantium were strong presences, and people and goods traveled the land with frequency. Emerging from centuries of Ottoman rule, Bulgaria gained its independence in the late 19th century, joined the losing side of several conflicts in the first half of the 20th century, and, after gravitating toward the Axis powers in World War II, found itself within the close orbit of the Soviet Union by mid-century. This alliance had profound effects on the Bulgarian state and psyche, altering everything from land use and labor practices to religion and the arts. As communist governments fell in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bulgaria was suddenly released from the USSR’s sphere of influence and drifted into the uneasy terrain of post-communism. Today its gaze is firmly fixed on the West: Bulgaria became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and of the European Union (EU) in 2007. The members of the EU engage in the bulk of Bulgarian trade. Like other nations of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria claims a mix of Eastern and Western cultures, and the mingling is evident in its cuisine, its architecture, and its religious heritage” (adapted from Encyclopædia Britannica).
Bulgarians are joyful people and they like to celebrate, so don’t be surprised by the many holidays in the calendar; come celebrate with us!
Fulbright Scholars in Bulgaria
As a Fulbright scholar in Bulgaria, you can engage in a variety of activities – teaching, research, professional project, or a combination of any of those. We are flexible regarding the timing of your grant, and we accept affiliations outside of academia. We work closely with many institutions of higher education, research think tanks, NGOs and international organizations, and we will be happy to put you in touch with those relevant to your work and interests. During your grant period, the Bulgarian Fulbright Commission will be there to help you settle into your Bulgarian life. We organize an orientation in the beginning of September, a mid-term meeting in January, and a wrap – up seminar in June. If your grant start date doesn’t coincide with those events, Fulbright Bulgaria staff will set up an individual meeting after your arrival to discuss aspects of living and working in the country and to answer any questions you may have. We also strive to provide a cultural/educational program for scholars and students every month; we share information and invitations from partner organizations that may enrich your stay in the country, and we support our scholars’ in-class, extracurricular, or community engagement activities in a variety of ways. We help you liaise with colleagues and give guest lectures at other institutions in the country (or in another European country through the Fulbright Inter-Country Travel Program).
Fulbright Bulgaria has also established ways to help grantees obtain local phone/mobile data services, local bank accounts, and negotiate with local schools to allow children to audit classes taught in English. Scholars arriving with children can enroll them at their own expense in a private international school, or, as the usual practice goes, children continue their studies at their US school online, but join some classes at a Bulgarian public school (free of charge) to meet Bulgarian peers, dive into the rich culture and learn new Bulgarian words. Bulgaria is known for its ability to successfully prepare students thoroughly in subjects such as math, history, arts, languages and literature, biology, chemistry, and others.
General information about Bulgarian higher education and the academic year:
Higher education in Bulgaria is provided exclusively by colleges and universities. In accordance with the Higher Education Act, universities are all self-governing and autonomous institutions.
Currently, we have 51 acknowledged higher schools which under the Higher Education Act are state owned and private, including universities, specialized higher schools and self-contained colleges. The academic year is divided into two semesters and typically covers 32 academic weeks. The exact date of the academic year is set by the respective institution, but usually the start of the first semester is in the beginning of October, and the second semester starts some time in February (for the American University in Bulgaria, semesters start in August and January). Educational degrees conferred are Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD. More information on structure, admission and cycles of higher education in Bulgaria can be found at https://www.euroeducation.net/prof/bulgaco.htm
Bulgaria is actively working on building an appropriate environment for modernizing the higher education system, considering the demands of society and businesses. Good practices are continually being studied and disseminated, and Fulbright scholars’ contributions to curriculum development or exchange of best practices are always appreciated.
Fulbright Bulgaria is happy to support not only traditional scholar awards in academia, but also professional projects that may lead to long-term collaborations or will have a significant impact for the participating parties or the respective sector. We welcome specialists with established professional careers in a variety of fields – journalism, law, business, political science, hard sciences, environmental sciences, arts, etc. who are willing to engage with local institutions for the realization of a specific project that also has an educational, training, or cultural enrichment focus.
For more about Bulgaria, please watch the following video: https://youtu.be/esT3KbwgjGg
US Scholars Testimonials - https://youtu.be/pHK2LgjnDyw Throughout 2021, the US State Department, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, and other Fulbright partners and supporters are celebrating the Fulbright program’s 75th Anniversary with a wide and varied range of activities taking place around the world. This film was created for this occasion to showcase the talent of Fulbright Bulgaria alumni in the arts: https://youtu.be/FuB4K6WKY0A
Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.