American University in Bulgaria

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Coordinates: 42°1′17″N 23°5′42″E / 42.02139°N 23.09500°E / 42.02139; 23.09500

American University in Bulgaria
Американски университет в България
American University in Bulgaria.jpg
AUBG Campus
Type Private
Established 1991
Endowment $24 million[1]
President Stratsi Kulinski[2]
Provost Emilia Zankina
Dean Robert White
Academic staff
Students 1000[4]
Address 1 Georgi Izmirliev Sq., Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
Campus Urban
Colors White and blue         
Affiliations NEASC

American University in Bulgaria (or AUBG) is a private university located in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The university offers American-style education in Europe that provides an opportunity to combine different fields of study for greater professional success and personal fulfillment. Degree programs and curriculum are regularly upgraded and modernized to respond to the ever-increasing demands of the global business environment. The education is in English and the international faculty body, comprising world-renowned professors as well as experienced practitioners, work tirelessly to create an outstanding academic experience for students. Established in 1991, today AUBG is home to about 1,000 students from over 40 countries on 5 continents (as of Spring 2017). Close to 50% of the students are international.

AUBG alumni are widely recognized for making a difference in the region and in the world. The majority of our graduates start their career almost immediately after graduation in a variety of economic, social, political spheres, and the NGO sector. AUBG is an undisputed education leader for sixth consecutive year according to the national university ranking 2016 edition. The five programs evaluated – Business Administration (BUS), Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), Economics (ECO), Political Science and International Relations (POS), and Computer Science (COS) – are all top-ranked, with Business Administration rated as the best in the Bulgaria. Additionally, AUBG graduates in BUS, ECO, JMC and POS are among the highest paid professionals in the country. AUBG also boasts the lowest unemployment rate in four programs: ECO, COS, JMC and POS.[5]


Founded in 1991, the American University in Bulgaria is the first American-style, liberal arts undergraduate education institution in Eastern Europe. The University is a unique cooperative venture established with the support of the U.S. and Bulgarian governments, the Open Society Institute, the City of Blagoevgrad, and the University of Maine. When it opened its doors in September 1991, AUBG welcomed a first-year class of 208 students and 16 full-time faculty members. Nowadays, around 1100 talented students from over 40 countries come together to live and study in AUBG.[6]

By May 2016, twenty two classes of around 5,000 students had graduated from AUBG.[7]


The AUBG mission is "to educate students of outstanding potential in a community of academic excellence, diversity, and respect and to prepare them for democratic and ethical leadership in serving the needs of the region and the world."[8] The university fulfills its mission by providing scholarships and financial aid to deserving students from the region and beyond.

The university has three sources of funding: its endowment (which came largely from gifts from the United States Agency for International Development and the Soros Foundation), gifts, and tuition. Friends from all over the world, among them, John Dimitry Panitza, Anna Tchaprachikoff, Minko Balkanski, Atanas Zamphiroff, the America for Bulgaria Foundation,[9] have supported the university throughout the years.


Baccalaureate degrees conferred by AUBG are accredited in both Bulgaria[10] and the United States.[11][12][13] AUBG is institutionally accredited in the United States from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.[11][12][13] The University also issues a European Diploma Supplement (part of Europass), which confers automatic recognition of the AUBG degree throughout Europe.[14]


Graduating students

AUBG graduates top global success rankings with 99.8 percent employed or enrolled in grad school within a few months of graduation. Further, 65 percent of graduating students receive more than one job offer or higher degree program acceptance letter when they applied for work or a higher degree upon completing their studies at AUBG. AUBG alumni score remarkable compensation results. Approximately 20 percent of graduates earn more than $100,000/year and over 20 percent of alumni from 1995-2005 who are currently working in the US earn more than $250,000/year.[15]

Furthermore, AUBG is an undisputed education leader for sixth consecutive year according to the national university ranking 2016 edition. The five programs evaluated – Business Administration (BUS), Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), Economics (ECO), Political Science and International Relations (POS), and Computer Science (COS) – are all top-ranked, with Business Administration rated as the best in the Bulgaria. Additionally, AUBG graduates in BUS, ECO, JMC and POS are among the highest paid professionals in the country. AUBG also boasts the lowest unemployment rate in four programs: ECO, COS, JMC and POS.[16]

The Bulgarian University Ranking System has been developed to help degree-seekers choose a university. The system compiles information and data on more than 100 indicators, which measure different aspects of university activities. These include: teaching and learning, university environment, welfare and administrative services, science and research, prestige, career development, relevance to the labor market and regional engagement. The indicators are based on statistical data collected from various sources, including sociological surveys.[17]


Classroom Environment

The university follows the traditional American-style of education liberal arts. Critical thinking, hands-on education, interactive teaching, regularly upgraded and modernized curriculum to respond to the ever-increasing demands of the global business environment, an opportunity to combine different fields of study, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovation are in the core of the education AUBG offers. At AUBG, students benefit from small class-sizes, interactive classroom environment, and close interaction with professors. More than 60% of the students graduate from AUBG with double majors or a major and a minor. More than half of graduating seniors complete double majors, while many undergraduates supplement their main field of study with a minor in one of 19 disciplines offered at AUBG.

The university employs 70 faculty members from over 15 countries.

AUBG maintains close relationships with universities both in Bulgaria and abroad. In the United States, AUBG students can choose to spend a year or a semester at one of several hundred universities through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). In Europe, AUBG is the holder of a standard Erasmus Charter and has bilateral Erasmus Programme agreements with over 50 institutions.[18]

Undergraduate programs[edit]

Interactive Teaching

The university offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in 11 programs:[19]

Secondary majors are those that are accredited in the United States and result in an American diploma only.

The university offers 18 minor programs:[20]

Graduate programs[edit]

Elieff Center for Education and Culture in Sofia

In addition to its undergraduate program, the university started an Executive MBA program in 2003. EMBA classes take place in Elieff Center[21] in Sofia.

Non-degree programs[edit]

The university offers a rich variety of trainings and courses and the portfolio is regularly upgraded. Most of the trainings are held in the AUBG Elieff Center for Education and Culture in Sofia.[22]

The Blagoevgrad-based English Language Institute offers English-language instruction at all levels and for all ages year-round. It is also a certified Internet-based TOEFL testing center.[23]

Tuition and scholarships[edit]

AUBG enrolls students who are at the top of their high school graduating class, among them national mathematics competition champions, language contest winners, sports talents, high school gold medalists, and students who have distinguished themselves at community service projects.[24]

AUBG offers spring and fall semester admission on a rolling basis.

The university offers need- and merit-based aid to deserving students.[25] Financial aid, various scholarships, and student assistant or work-and-travel positions – the university makes sure that students get the best value for their money.

AUBG is one of few universities who award scholarships for further study to their graduates: the Tchaprachikoff scholarship provides funding for study at any of the top 20 U.S. universities.[26]

University campus[edit]

AUBG Campus

The Skaptopara campus in Blagoevgrad is home to the university undergraduate programs. It includes three residence halls; Balkanski Academic Center, which houses classrooms, computer labs, and offices; Panitza Library, the largest English-language library in Southeast Europe; and a unique Student Center.[27] According to results from Bulgaria’s official University Ranking system, AUBG has the best residential facilities in the country.[28]

AUBG is the first institution in Bulgaria with an American style housing system. Undergraduate students live on campus as part of the university mission.

The residence halls are a smoke-free environment and disability accessible. Activity areas include aerobic rooms, music practice rooms, multipurpose rooms, billiard and ping pong areas, several television lounges, outside decks, kitchens, and cafes. All of our residence halls are secured 24 hours with a security guard. There are common areas where students can either study or rest along with friends. If a student need anything, he/she can go to the reception desk and ask a Resident Assistant for help.[29]

Panitza Library

John Dimitry Panitza,[30] a Bulgarian philanthropist and AUBG founder, is the patron of Panitza Library. Through Panitza’s efforts, the library developed into a modern center of learning and the largest English-language library in the region.[31] Panitza Library’s[32] modern facilities are equipped with computers, Internet, audio-visual center, and supporting copying services. Access to electronic resources is organized through the library web portal.

America for Bulgaria Student Center Won Building of the Year Award in 2013

The Balkanski Academic Center bears the name of physicist Minko Balkanski[33] The center was dedicated to Professor Balkanski and his family in 2010.[34]

The America for Bulgaria Student Center [35] is the jewel in the crown of AUBG's contemporary campus. The spacious, generously sunlit, multi-functional center was built in 2013 with the financial help of the America for Bulgaria Foundation and embodies AUBG's unparalleled energy and dynamics. It hosts state-of-the-art theatre, sports and dining halls, and the Student Services office. Here students will also find the Enrollment office, where the AUBG journey begins for future students. Admission advisors are available to assist students with useful information on how to get started, including scholarships and other financial aid available at AUBG. Other popular facilities inside the center are the workout gym, the innovation hub "Aspire", a trendy coffee shop and lots of chill out areas with wi-fi access.The America for Bulgaria Student Center won first place in the Education and Sport category at the "Building of the Year" contest.[36]

Student life[edit]

AUBG students can join a club, a student media, a sports team, or an activity such as theater, musical, AUBG Choir, debating, Model United Nations simulations, and public service.[37]

Student government[edit]

Established in 1991, the AUBG Student Government[38] provides a venue for students to practice the tenets of democracy and make a difference in campus decisions. It is a directly elected representative body of the students at AUBG. The Student Government holds its sessions weekly. It has a yearly budget, which is allocated among the student clubs and organizations.



AUBG hosts chapters of international organizations, such as People to People International, AIESEC, the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society, and the Association for Computing Machinery. Social and sports organizations, such as the AUBG Olympics, Basketball Club, Debate Club, Chess Club, Women in Business Club are also available.[39]

The Computer Science Student Union[40] organizes practical workshops and invites guest speakers on campus year-round. The union was awarded chapter status with the Association for Computing Machinery in 2008 and has won several chapter excellence awards.[41]

Better Community Club members work on community projects. Their activities include a multi-year educational project at Blagoevgrad’s "St. Nikolay Mirlikliyski" orphanage; fundraising campaigns for local centers for people with disabilities and a local family afflicted with serious health problems; and others.[42]

Students from the Business Club invite business figures, politicians, and economists, to talk to students on business-related topics.

AUBG Musical

Assets Trading & Management (AT&M) is a student organization which operates as an investment fund where students learn analytical framework for the analysis of the financial markets.

AUBG Choir brings the music talents of AUBG and the local community together. It was created in 1993 by its director – Associate Professor of Music Dr. Hristo Krotev. The choir has received numerous national and international awards.[43]

The Broadway Performance Club stages musicals for the students and faculty every year. The AUBG community has already seen Chicago, West Side Story, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge, Grease, Memphis, All Shook Up and Burlesque. After its performances in Blagoevgrad, the musical goes on a tour around the country.[44]

Research and innovation[edit]

Innovation Hub "Aspire"

Students participate in conferences and competitions worldwide, such as the Carroll Round International Student Research conference at Georgetown University, USA and the annual Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition.[45][46] The Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program has repeatedly recognized AUBG students’ potential.[47] AUBG hosts its own research conference every year, where students and faculty present research projects.[48] AUBG students have engaged in robotics and computer science development at The CSSU.

In Fall 2016 the innovation hub “Aspire” opened doors. It encourages AUBG students to create something, whether it is a start-up business, a tech venture or a book. “Aspire” is a shared working space that aims to foster the exchange of ideas among the AUBG community and to facilitate the transformation of creative visions into reality. The hub is a home of many events related to innovation, inventiveness and inspiration.

Student media[edit]

There are several student media on campus (broadcast, print, and electronic) which chronicle university events and town life, among them AUBG Daily,[49] The Griffins Times, and Radio AURA.[50]


ABF Sports Hall

Every year AUBG holds its own Olympic games. In the AUBG Olympics,[51] students compete in sports disciplines, such as long jump, soccer, basketball, volleyball, arm wrestling, tug-of-war, horseshoe throwing, and boxing. The university has its own American football team, the AUBG Griffins.[52] Residence halls host table tennis, billiards, aerobic fitness rooms, and gym facilities. Just behind the ABF, the AUBG students can enjoy outdoor sports at the newly-built sports facilities. The new premises feature a basketball court, a football field, two tennis courts and a volleyball court. The new fields help AUBG students to enjoy their favorite sports even more.Those interested in skiing, hiking, horseback riding, boxing, kickboxing, aerobics, volleyball, baseball, yoga, tae kwon do, softball, and karate have formed student clubs and intramural teams. Every semester there are soccer and basketball intramural competitions and the Bulgarians vs. Internationals tournament.

Lecture series[edit]

The university hosts business practitioners and public figures year-round. Zhelyu Zhelev, Bulgaria’s first democratic president and recipient of an honorary doctorate from the university, visited AUBG twice as part of the Ambassador Elena Poptodorova Distinguished Lecturers series.[53] Bulgaria's EU Commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, was another guest lecturer in the series.[54]

Notable people[edit]

  • Martti Ahtisaari, President of Finland (1994–2000), 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Honorary AUBG Doctor of Humane Letters (2005)
  • William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton, 42nd President of the United States of America (1993–2001), Honorary AUBG Doctor of Humane Letters (1999)
  • Claude Jansen,[55] Trustee Emeritus, Honorary Chair of the International Council and Chair of the Board, INSEAD, Paris, France
  • Elizabeth Kostova, former AUBG Board Member, AUBG University Council member since 2011, author of the bestselling novels The Historian and The Swan Thieves
  • John Dimitry Panitza|John Dimitry "Dimi" Panitza (1930–2011),[56] AUBG founder and board member, Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation founder, Former Managing Editor of Reader's Digest, Paris, France.
  • Ralitsa Vassileva, anchor for CNN International, Atlanta, USA, AUBG Doctor of Humane Letters (2001)
  • Zhelyu Zhelev, first democratically elected president of the Republic of Bulgaria (1990–1997), AUBG Doctor of Humane Letters (1995)
  • Victoria Entwistle,[57] AUBG Board Member, Helping Companies Optimise Portfolios Through Corporate Finance Transactions

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Milena Grayde,[58] AUBG graduate, Class of 1995, Managing Director at J.P. Morgan Limited
  • Stefan Ivanov,[59] AUBG graduate, Class of 1995, CEO for Brazil at MRP International
  • Vicky Politova,[60] AUBG graduate, Class of 1995, Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer at NOVA Broadcasting Group / Modern Times Group
  • Vejen Stoilov,[61] AUBG graduate, Class of 1995, Director in Operational Risk at Barclays
  • Elvin Guri,[62] AUBG graduate, Class of 1996, entrepreneur, CEO at Empower Capital Fund
  • Georgi Iliev,[63] AUBG graduate, Class of 1996, author of The Life and Death of Mr. Iliev (2006) and Holy Fool: Dogtown (2010), recipient of the 2010 Book of the Year award in Bulgaria for his novel Holy Fool.
  • Olga Marcenac,[64] AUBG graduate, Class of 1996, Country Manager Bulgaria at Call Point New Europe
  • Daniel Tomov,[65] AUBG graduate, Class of 1997, Founding Partner at Eleven Ventures
  • Bogdan Kolarov, [66] AUBG Graduate, Class of 1997, Consul General of the Republic of Bulgaria in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • Uładzimir Katkoŭski, founder of the Belarusian Wikipedia, who worked for the Belarusian edition of Radio Free Europe
  • Rumyana Trencheva,[67] AUBG graduate, Class of 2000, Managing Director at SAP South East Europe
  • Svetlozar Georgiev, [68] AUBG Graduate, Class of 2000, Co-founder of Telerik
  • Shpend Ahmeti,[69] AUBG Graduate, Class of 2000, Mayor of Prishtina
  • Vasil Terziev, [70] AUBG Graduate, Class of 2001, Co-founder of Telerik
  • Ivailo Linev, Class of 2001, Vice President, Merrill Lynch, USA
  • Alexander Oliver,[71] AUBG graduate, Class of 2001, Vice President at RBC Capital Markets
  • Evgeny Morozov,[72] AUBG graduate, Class of 2005, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom (January 2011); a contributing editor to Foreign Policy, contributor to The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, and many others; visiting scholar at Stanford University

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2011. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 17, 2012. p. 21. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "AUBG President". Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  3. ^ "AUBG Faculty". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  4. ^ "AUBG Students". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  5. ^ "AUBG Tops Bulgaria's University Ranking System in Five Programs". 
  6. ^ "AUBG History". Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  7. ^ "AUBG Alumni". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  8. ^ "AUBG History". Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  9. ^ "America for Bulgaria Foundation". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  10. ^ "Republic Of Bulgaria - Council Of Ministers National Evaluation And Accreditation Agency". Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  11. ^ a b "NEASC: Roster of Institutions". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 
  12. ^ a b "Database of Institutions Accredited By Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations". 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  13. ^ a b "Database of Institutions Accredited By Recognized U.S. Accrediting Organizations". 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  14. ^ "European Diploma Supplement". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  15. ^ "Alumni Placement and Salary Survey: 2016 edition findings". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  16. ^ "AUBG Tops Bulgaria's University Ranking". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  17. ^ "Министерство на образованието и науката: Рейтингова система на висшите училища в България". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  18. ^ "erasmus+ opportunities-outgoing students". Retrieved 2014-12-15. 
  19. ^ "Majors". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  20. ^ "Minors". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "WHY EMBA AT AUBG?". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  22. ^ "Center for European Programmes". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  23. ^ "English Language Institute". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  24. ^ "AUBG Students Darik News". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  25. ^ "Cost and Aid". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  26. ^ "Tchaprachikoff Scholarships". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  27. ^ Smale, Alison (2009-05-29). "On a Campus in Bulgaria, Every Reason for Optimism". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  28. ^ "Bulgarian University Ranking system". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  29. ^ "Skaptopara Residence Halls". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  30. ^ bg:Дими Паница
  31. ^ Smale, Alison (2009-05-29). "Panitza Library New York Times article". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  32. ^ "Panitza Library". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  33. ^ bg:Минко Балкански
  34. ^ "Balkanski Academic Center dedication". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  35. ^ "Virtual Tour". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  36. ^ "America for Bulgaria Student Center named "Building of the Year"". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  37. ^ "Student Life at AUBG". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  38. ^ "AUBG Student Government". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  39. ^ "Student Organizations & Clubs". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  40. ^ "Computer Science Student Union at AUBG". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  41. ^ "ACM 2009-2010 Chapter Excellence Award". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  42. ^ "BCC Help Local Family Darik News (in Bulgaria)". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  43. ^ "AUBG Choir". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  44. ^ "The Broadway Performance Club presents Burlesque". Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  45. ^ "Carroll Round". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  46. ^ "AUBG Student Microsoft Imagine Cup". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  47. ^ "Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  48. ^ "Student Faculty Research Conference". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  49. ^ "AUBG Daily". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  50. ^ "Radio AURA". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  51. ^ "AUBG Olympics". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  52. ^ "AUBG Griffins". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  53. ^ "Zhelyu Zhelev at AUBG". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  54. ^ "Bulgaria's EU Commissioner Talks Crisis Management at AUBG". Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  55. ^ "Claude Jansen". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  56. ^ "John Dimitry Panitza, Vagabond article". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  57. ^ "Victoria Entwistle". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  58. ^ "Milena Grayde". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  59. ^ "Stefan Ivanov". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  60. ^ "Vicky Politova". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  61. ^ "Vejen Stoilov". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  62. ^ "Elvin Guri". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  63. ^ Георги Илиев - Издателска къща Жанет 45
  64. ^ "Olga Marcenac". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  65. ^ "Daniel Tomov". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  66. ^ "Bogdan Kolarov". Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  67. ^ "Rumyana Trencheva". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  68. ^ "Svetlozar Georgiev". Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  69. ^ "Shpend Ahmeti". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  70. ^ "Vasil Terziev". Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  71. ^ "Alexander Oliver". Retrieved 2017-01-18. 
  72. ^ "Evgeny Morozov". Retrieved 2017-01-26. 

External links[edit]