Interview with Fanni Virág, our first Atlanticist Fellowship Alumna at the Atlantic Council
In 2018, HIF joined forces with the Atlantic Council to bolster US-Central European ties and build stronger people-to-people connections between Americans and Central Europeans by supporting the Atlanticist Fellowship program, a full-time, 6 months in-house residency fellowship within the Council, focused on energy security. We caught up with Fanni Virág, the first Atlanticist Fellow, in our Alumni Interview series.
Ms. Virág is from Budapest, Hungary, but has also lived in Croatia and Slovenia for extended periods of time. Prior to getting her degree at Szent István Egyetem in the field of Business Administration, Management and Operations, she earned her B.A. in Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian Languages and Literatures and M.A. in Slovenian Language and Literature from Eötvös Loránd University.
Speaking 5 different languages (Croatian, English, Slovene, German, and Hungarian) led her to work for the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Hungary as Head of Secretariat/PA to the Ambassador and Economic and Cultural Affairs Officer.
Where are you on your study/career path now?
Lately, I decided to expand my knowledge and broaden my perspectives. Thus I took a new direction and went to study organizational development at a Budapest based learning center.
Which achievement are you most proud of since we met?
I became a member of Globsec Young Leaders, a circle of young professionals, where we had an opportunity to discuss the challenges in international affairs and contribute in strategic policy proposals through working groups in the framework of a major international forum. I felt honored to be selected also among Globsec Tatra Summit Young Professionals, having the chance to deliver policy recommendations of the most pressing issues and to evaluate the upcoming priorities for the new European Commission and its newly elected President, Ursula von der Leyen. I’m most proud of that I embarked on a new journey very boldly.
Tatra Summit Young Professionals (TSYP) project aims to engage young experts in policy-shaping debates concerning the challenges the EU faces on the domestic and global stage. The participants have a unique opportunity to improve their professional and networking skills while building connections with senior policymakers and thought leaders. At the GLOBSEC Tatra Summit we can contribute to open discussions between key stakeholders on how to shape the political, economic and financial future of Europe.
How did your experience with HIF in the US help you reach your goals?
During my Atlanticist Fellowship, I picked up such a diverse experience and knowledge in this intense environment – that I couldn’t even comprehend during my stay – , while gaining skills that brought me much closer to myself. My program in the US played a major role in setting new goals along my knowledge and new mindset, for which I cannot be grateful enough for HIF.
What challenges did you have to overcome to move closer to your goals?
The hardest thing is letting go of things that no longer serve me. Prime examples are old mindsets and patterns, that could hold me back from progressing towards my goals.
What impact did your US experience have on your overall journey?
It was a great push forward and also a closure of an old chapter. It opened up completely new paths for me both mentally and professionally. Generally, the United States and its moral foundations had a great impact on me.
What are your plans for the future?
I took a new and exciting direction in my career by learning organizational development, where further challenges lie ahead.
What words of advice do you have for future recruits?
I would advise everyone to always be curious, conscious and stay focused. The Hungary Initiatives Foundation offers great, life-changing programs, I encourage everyone to apply.
What books are currently on your reading list?
It’s a never-ending list, but the very next one is The Anatomy of Peace from The Arbinger Institute.