Outstanding Hungarians at Yale

Bernát Török has been a visiting researcher at Yale Law School. He is a recipient of HIF’s Graduate Scholarship, which allowed him to extend his research period, deepen relationships with the American legal scholar community and expand areas of future cooperation between the Hungarian American legal expert community. 

Dr. Török and Yale colleagues

In addition to his work as a senior advisor at the Constitutional Court of Hungary, Dr. Török has been pursuing PhD studies with a research focus on freedom of speech and media freedom. Completing the Visiting Researcher program at Yale Law School with HIF’s support has been a special opportunity for Dr. Török providing inspiration and insights to complete the research of his PhD dissertation.

The American jurisdiction has a unique and significant tradition on free speech that I find profoundly inspiring. Although we do not share the same doctrine regarding this freedom, I strongly believe that European scholars can benefit a lot from understanding the American jurisprudence.

Yale Law School has been the most appropriate affiliation for Dr. Török’s research, as it has a particularly strong faculty in the field of constitutional law and freedom of speech. The insightful new inspiration he got at Yale prompted him to include further questions in his dissertation, which he will use well past his term, upon returning to Hungary.

A vibrant hub of research and scholarly exchange

The Visiting Researcher Program at Yale Law School grants participants the opportunity to formally take and audit courses. “This past semester I could afford to attend classes to widen my knowledge and understanding on American legal thinking more broadly from contemporary theories of comparative constitutional law to legal philosophy.”

The invaluable benefit of Dr. Török’s time at Yale was that he could build fruitful working relationship with professors at Yale Law School, including some of the most distinguished scholars of the First Amendment. Yale Law School’s vibrant academic life in terms of lectures, workshops and conferences provided additional inspiration during the semester.

Dr. Török took part in important conferences including one one the subject of “New challenges to Democratic Constitutions” where in addition to the American, German, French, Austrian, Brazilian, South-Korean perspectives, he presented the Hungarian experiences, which were of huge interest for the participants and attendants.

A once-in-a-lifetime American Experience for the whole family

Dr Török and family

Dr. Török’s decision to come to Yale University has been a family project from the very beginning. While he has been at the Law School, his wife – a medical doctor and a PhD student at Semmelweis University, Budapest – has worked as a visiting scholar at Yale Cancer Center.

Being in the US has been an enriching experience for their two young daughters, as well, who thanks to HIF’s support of Dr. Török’s studies in spring semester could accomplish their school year and pre-school program, respectively.

It has been a fascinating journey giving us a once-in-a-lifetime experience about the country: to someone like me so committed to social issues and politics in both my personal life and my profession, living in the United States was a priceless experience. Considering that how many ways I benefited from my time at Yale Law School and how fruitful the Spring Term 2017 was to me, I want to thank The Hungary Initiatives Foundation for its generous support.