Fulbright European Staff Meeting

Sofia, Bulgaria – March 13-15, 2024


Highlighting Fulbright Bulgaria’s Impact

Fulbrighters make a difference in their areas of expertise and communities. Thirty years since the Commission’s founding, Fulbright Bulgaria alumni on both sides of the Atlantic number over 1,500 across diverse academic fields and professional specializations. Their work is what embodies the people-to-people diplomacy at the heart of the Fulbright experience.  

Find out how some of our alumni innovate, solve problems, and inspire others to do the same.  

Taxi from Sofia Airport

In the Arrivals halls at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Sofia airport, there are stands of Yellow 333 AD, the taxi operator company which is the official contractual partner of Sofia Airport. You can request their services by calling +359 291 119, online at www.yellow333.com/en/ or by following the floor markings in yellow leading to the taxi stand area. The company’s phone app can also be downloaded on Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

To avoid the risk of abuse, it is better to not accept the services of drivers who approach you in the arrivals hall. The fare must be displayed on the window of each cab – it is about 1.07/1.24 leva per kilometer (day/night). Representatives of companies that do not have a contract with Sofia airport can legally charge 3, 4, 5 – up to 10 leva per kilometre. Most taxis in Sofia also charge around 2.19/2.49 lv. initial charge, 0.3 1v. waiting charge and 0.87 lv. call-to-address charge.

Metro from Sofia Airport

The trip costs 1.60 lv, the standard ticket price in Sofia. You can use your bank or Revolut card to purchase a ticket by validating the card at the electronic readers at the entry gates. The ticket is valid to travel in the metro within 30 minutes from the issue hour. Within this time limit, the ticket also entitles you to transfer to any other means of transport.  

Please note that you have the right to transport two pieces of luggage for free if the total dimensions do not exceed 140 centimetres. If you carry more than two pieces of luggage, or if your bags are larger than 60x40x40 centimetres, you will need a standard ticket for each additional or bulkier piece. This rule applies to the whole public transportation system in Sofia (buses, trams and trolley buses). Moovit is a popular mobile app to help you navigate public transportation in Sofia.

Conference Venue


Astoria Grand Hotel, 8 Gen. Totleben Blvd.

The hotel offers an incredible panorama view of Sofia City as well as Vitosha mountain. There are 490 rooms and conference halls on 21 floors. You can use the restaurants, lobby bar, the game room, spa centre and more.


Morning: arrivals / sightseeing / free time

12:30 - 14:00 Lunch in hotel
14:00-14:45 Welcome, introductions / icebreaker


paper-based phase, challenge statements, diversity essay, NSC recommendations

15:45-16:15 Coffee break


interview best-practices, training selection committees / boards, uncoscious bias

17:30-17:45 Quick break to change clothes
17:45-18:45 BG folk dancing mixer
18:45-19:30 Shower / rest / refresh
19:30 Buses leave hotel for Vodenitsata
20:00-22:00 Traditional Bulgarian dinner with dancing and firewalking
22:00 Buses leave to return to hotel


7:00-9:00 Breakfast at hotel
9:00-10:00 Session 3: SUPPORT FOR GRANTEES: Roadmap of support stops (split into groups: US vs natl, student vs scholar or student / scholar vs ETA); divided by type of grantee
10:00-11:00 Session 4: SUPPORT FOR GRANTEES (divided by type of support) Discussion in small groups (world cafe style) divided thematically: financial, organizational, psychological support
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-12:45 Session 5: Delphine DEI session
12:45-13:45 Lunch
13:45-14:45 Session 6: Updates from IIE and ECA
14:45-15:30 Session 7: platform/portal management (IIE/ECA input); best practices for Fulbrighter App or SLATE tricks and tips
15:30-16:00 Coffee break
16:00-17:15 Session 8: Plenary Address: Assessing the Impact of Fulbright (Elsevere?): TBC
17:30-19:00 Walking tour of Sofia from hotel, ending up at ABF/ABC center for cocktail reception with embassy and ABF
19:00-21:00 Cocktail reception at ABC center
21:00 Make way back to hotel on foot, by subway or taxi; or free time for drinks/sightseeing


7:00-9:00 Breakfast at hotel
9:00-10:00 Session 9: ASPE and health-related resources
10:00-11:00 Session 10: Staff burn-out and sharing self-care best practices
11:00-11:30 Coffee break
11:30-12:30 Session 11: Engaging Alumni
12:30-13:00 Closing / wrap up / feedback
13:00-14:00 Lunch

(free time; could organize a trip to National History Museum / Boyana Church or elsewhere if participants interested)

Rila Monastery

UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site

Rila Monastery

Established in the first half of 10 century AD by John of Rila, the heavenly protector of the Bulgarian people, the monastery is a pillar and haven of the Bulgarian spirit and identity. 


An hour and 40 min drive East of Sofia.


This is the “revolutionary” capital of the Bulgarian uprising during the Revival Period around the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman occupation. You can visit the homes of prominent Bulgarian revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives during the April Uprising and Russo-Turkish War that brought about the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878. 

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

The largest Orthodox temple on the entire Balkan Peninsula

Patriarchal Cathedral St. Alexander Nevsky

The cornerstone of the St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral was laid on February 19, 1882. Viewed from the outside, the length of the temple is 72 meters, and the width is 55 meters. Its height is 50.52 meters and the roof bridge is 28 meters above the main vaulted entrance with three doors and a bell tower that ends with a dome. 

Retro Tram Around Sofia

One-hour tour guided by a young Bulgarian actor

Retro Tram Around Sofia

The route of the historical tour starts from “Vazrazhdane” Square, passes by “Macedonia” Square, the Courthouse, Maria Louisa Blvd., Lions’ Bridge, Central Station, Hristo Botev Blvd. and returns to Vazrazhdane Square. This is a fun way to know more about the history of Sofia City and to make tons of awesome photos. 

Celebrating Fulbright at 75

Throughout 2021, Fulbright Commissions, U.S. Embassies, universities, and other Fulbright partners and supporters held Fulbright Days to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program with a wide and varied range of activities. In total, 66 countries and territories around the world celebrated the impact of Fulbright partnerships across the globe.  

Fulbright Day in Bulgaria was held virtually on May 24, 2021 – the holiday of Saints Cyril and Methodius and of Bulgarian culture and education. This was the premiere of our film, “Fulbright at 75: Bulgarian-American Visions and Voices”, featuring alumni in the arts with music, dance, theater, visual arts, poetry and even a choral performance! This is our story.  

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Contact us

Get in touch with us if you have any questions or in case you might need anything during your stay in Sofia. We are excited to have you!

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