Hungary Foundation, together with Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) kicked off the Budapest Fellowship Program at the iconic Gerbeaud House, in Budapest this month. The four selected fellows, Kelli Buzzard, Michael O’Shea, Michael Van Ginkel, and Tate Sanders are starting their ten-month-long journey to immerse themselves in Central and Eastern European and specifically, Hungarian history and culture.
The four chosen American professionals were eager to dive into the program. “Our purpose with creating the Budapest Fellowship Program together with MCC was to provide the best possible tools for young and mid-career professionals to understand what makes Hungary great.” – said HF Executive Director Anna Smith Lacey in her opening remarks.
“This program is important because it brings scholars to Hungary here on the ground. They can learn, have resources, to be interacting with other scholars, with people who are the best in their field. It is also important to help Americans understand Hungary and learn about Hungarian history and culture.” – Kelli Buzzard
The Orientation Day reviewed the program’s goals, performance benchmarks and unique features. At the opening day’s press conference Zoltán Szalai, Director General of MCC and Anna Smith Lacey introduced the program to the general public sharing the two organizations’ long-term goals behind the initiative.
“Hungary needs to tell its national story, and for us in the United States it is a good thing. I hope other countries do programs like this as well.” – Tate Sanders
During the next ten months, the fellows will be conducting their own individual research at four Hungarian host institutions: the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, at the Danube Institute, at Ludovika – University of Public Service, and at the Institute For Foreign Affairs and Trade, while taking intense Hungarian language classes, attending Hungarian film screenings, book discussions, working lunches, and site visits, and participating in seminars on Hungarian history, foreign policy, and political thought.
“Central Europe, we think, is the future of Europe and Hungary in many respects is the epicenter of it all. Of debates that are worth having. Of values that are worth fighting for. In the next ten months, we hope the Fellows will understand why.” – Anna Smith Lacey, Executive Director – Hungary Foundation
The Budapest Fellows will also visit significant sites and cities around the country and get connected with the Hungarian-speaking communities in the Carpathian Basin. Later on, the participants will be integrated into the entire educational and think tank portfolio of Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) and will be teaching workshops, classes and will have the opportunity to participate in MCC’s wide variety of public events.
Kelli, Tate, and the two Michaels had a chance to spend a day and a half in Hungarian Parliament where they learned about the history of the Hungarian parliamentary system, visited the Parliament’s public research library, as well as the exhibit on the life and legacy of István Tisza, and viewed memorials of significant importance around Kossuth Square.
The fellows also visited the World War I. Exhibit at Várkert Bazár where they focused on Hungary during the belle époque and the country’s transition into World War I.
“I expect to meet plenty of people from different diversities and various groups. I really want to understand where they are coming from, and this is a great opportunity to do so both for Hungary and the greater Central Europe as well.” – Michael Van Ginkel
Ludovika – Public Service University, an outstanding partner of the Budapest Fellowship Program gave a home to the Foundation Program’s fourth day, where the fellows participated in seminars on Trianon’s Effects and its Legacy Today, and family policy in Hungary by the field’s most reputable minds.
The week ended with a meet and greet, and a closing dinner, where family members of the fellows all had a chance to get to know the Program’s mission and the Budapest Fellowship Program and MCC staff and to enjoy excellent Hungarian cuisine.
“I want to become truly immersed in this country, more than I ever could by visiting for a week or two, or reading books. I’ve admired it from afar, and I am truly looking forward to learning the people, the language, the culture, the way of thinking. Being here for this amount of time will allow me to do that.” – Michael O’Shea
As these four exceptional individuals embark on their journey in Hungary, we’ll keep you updated on their progress, publications, and events they will host.
To check out the press coverage of the program, visit Origo or in English by Hungary Today to name a few. Karc FM and Katolikus Rádió featured a live interview about the program with Anna Smith Lacey.
Thank you to our partners who helped kick off this year’s program: Zoltán Szalai, Péter Lánczi, Dóra Szűcs, and Fanni Surjányi at Mathias Corvinus Collegium. To Klára Breuer for hosting the Program at Ludovika – University of Public Service.
We are grateful for all the help we have received from István Bellavics, Gábor Szigeti, Berta Bakó, Eszter Szanyi-Légrády, Réka Andrási, and Alex Mihályfi-Tóth at the Office of the Hungarian National Assembly and the Museum of the Hungarian National Assembly.
We are glad to be working with a set of outstanding mentors for the fellows: Sándor Gallai, Áron Máthé, Balázs Mártonffy, Márton Ugrósdy, and István Kiss.
A special thanks to each and every lecturer who taught the opening week’s rigorous curriculum: Tamás Pálosfalvi, Márton Zászkaliczky, Mátay Mónika, András Gerő, Márton Sulyok, Bernadett László, Gergely Romsics, Balázs Molnár, and Tibor Glant.
And thank you to Attila Demkó for spotlighting Budapest’s classical architectural heritage with a wonderful historical tour of the inner city.