Featured Alumni

Noémi Pálfalvi

Program: Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship

Year: 2019

Host Institution: Religious Freedom Institute (RFI)

Current Position:  Senior international relations coordinator at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium

Quote: “I am honored to be affiliated with the Hungary Foundation not only as an alumna but as the program coordinator of the Budapest Fellowship Program. When coordinating the elements of the programs I always think back on my time as a fellow and try to involve the best practices in my current work.”

Read her interview: hungaryfoundation.org

Noémi is currently working as a senior international relations coordinator at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium. Meanwhile finishing up my master’s in East Asian Studies at Pázmány Péter Catholic University and the Corvinus University of Budapest. Her work is very diverse, she is involved in a lot of different types of projects, like organizing international conferences, but her favorite activities are focusing on the preparation and management of international fellowships. Before joining MCC she was working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

The Religious Freedom Institute is committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right, a source of individual and social flourishing, the cornerstone of a successful society, and a driver of national and international security.

Michael O’Shea

Program: Budapest Fellowship Program

Year: 2021

Host Institution:  Danube Institute

Research Focus: An economic comparison of the family-based demographic policies of Hungary and Poland to the mass-migration policies of Western Europe

Quote: So much English-language content related to Hungary is distorted or flatly untrue.  This manifests itself in statements ranging from people with minimal knowledge of the region to those at the very highest levels of the U.S. government.  I hope my work here can contribute in a small way to improving this deficiency.

Read his introduction here: hungaryfoundation.org

Raised in North Carolina, Michael is half-Polish by descent.  He minored in Slavic & East European Cultures while pursuing a business degree at the University of North Carolina.  He studied the Polish language during that time and continues to read and write it fluently.

Michael earned his MBA from Indiana University in 2016 and pursued a marketing career afterward.  He continued to fulfill his love of Central and Eastern Europe in an extracurricular sense and served as president and vice-president of the Polish-American Club of Columbus, as well as a member of the Polish Cultural Council of Western Pennsylvania.  He became a Polish citizen in 2020.


The Danube Institute exists to provide an independent center of intellectual debate for conservatives and classical liberals and their democratic opponents in Central Europe. The Institute promotes its aims through two main programs: the publication of studies on issues of public controversy and through seminars, debates, and public lectures. Activities, however, go beyond a purely economic or political agenda to address the cultural and moral topics which increasingly shape attitudes to public policy issues

Tate Sanders

Program: Budapest Fellowship Program

Year: 2021

Host Institution:  American Studies Research Institute

Research Focus: Transatlantic Relations and Energy Policy: Central/Eastern Europe between the U.S. and Russia

Quote: I am looking forward to a give-and-take with Hungarians I meet, benefitting both sides, and tightening the bonds both countries have.

Read his introduction here: hungaryfoundation.org

From the small city of Salem, Oregon, in heart of the American Pacific Northwest, Tate was always a bit of an outsider based on the political and cultural landscape. After getting his undergraduate degree in History (2014) and his post-baccalaureate degree in Business (International Focus, 2015), Tate decided it was time to move somewhere that had a little wider scope than just Seattle and Portland.

After being accepted to the Institute of World Politics (Washington, D.C.) in 2016, Tate studied for over three years, eventually earning his degree in National Security and Statecraft Affairs, mainly focusing on the U.K., Europe, and Russia. He also worked as a data entry analyst contractor for two years at Navanti Group, a State Department and Defense Department contracting firm in the greater D.C. area.


The mission of the institute is to conduct multidisciplinary research related to the internal and external relations, social and economical aspects, geopolitical processes, constitutionality and public administration of the United States of America and the Northern-American continent and into American-Hungarian relations.

Michael Van Ginkel

Program: Budapest Fellowship Program

Year: 2021

Host Institution: Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Research Focus: Black Sea Security and its Impact on Eastern and Central Europe

Quote: “The Black Sea’s important geostrategic location at the confluence of the Middle East, Europe, and Russia means events that transpire in the basin have wide-ranging ripple effects throughout Eastern and Central Europe and beyond.”

Read his introduction here: hungaryfoundation.org

To build on his academic and professional experiences, Michael earned an MLitt in conflict studies from the University of Glasgow, where he graduated with distinction. He afterward developed a specialization on maritime security while working for the Stable Seas program at a United States-based think tank called One Earth Future Foundation. The program worked with both qualitative and quantitative research methods to produce threat assessments and generate policy advice for civilian and military institutions.

The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) is a separate legal entity under the Center for Democracy Public Foundation (DEMKK in Hungarian) operating as the leading Hungarian foreign policy think-tank. IFAT is carrying out active research in fields covering the priorities of the Hungarian foreign policy.  IFAT is present in the Hungarian professional network with public research reports and analyses (often involving associate fellows and outside experts), but also with confidential reports, studies and other professional materials. IFAT is the successor of the previous Hungarian Institute of International Affairs (HIIA) and the Teleki László Foundation, which have been the focal institutions covering foreign policy research in Hungary earlier.

The Institute publishes the only foreign policy journal of Hungary, Külügyi Szemle (Foreign Policy Review). The “KKI Tanulmányok” and the ”KKI Elemzések” as well as their English correspondent versions: KKI Studies and KKI Policy Brief are to be found among our online publications.

The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade aims to actively shape the domestic professional network of foreign policy and foreign trade discourse, while reaching out to the wider public as well. The Institute organises (mostly) public roundtable discussions, private briefings, workshops, smaller and larger conferences in Hungarian and English, and it serves as the exclusive venue for the public lectures and forums of high-ranking foreign delegations visiting the representatives of the Hungarian Government.

Csilla Ábrán

Program: Quinnipiac University’s HABL Scholarship Recipient

Year: 2016

Host Institution: Quinnipiac University

Current Position:  Project Manager in Citibank’s Global Product Control Organization

Quote: “Thanks to my studies I become a project lead of several digital applications deployed across multiple regions. This exposure has helped me gain confidence in my current work and be open to any challenges and opportunities that might come my way.”

Read her interview: hungaryfoundation.org

Csilla’s passion for economics and finance started with her Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Banking at Babes-Bolyai University in Kolozsvár. Following her undergrad degree, she started working at a mid-size tire distribution company managing its credit portfolio by monitoring and setting credit limits, examining payment plans, and conducting litigations. During this time, she has also established the first credit scoring system of the company mitigating exposure to counterparty risk.

After working and studying for a while in Hungary and Romania she allpied for the Hungarian-American Business Leaders Scholarship offered by Quinnipiac University and the Hungary Foundation. She was able to earn her MBA at Quinnipiac’s Chartered Financial Analyst track.
While studying in Connecticut, she started working at Otis Elevator’s World Headquarters in the Service Transformation department.

Currently, she is a Project Manager in Citibank’s Global Product Control Organization working on process automation and digitalization.

Quinnipiac University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution in Hamden and North Haven, Connecticut, offering more than 140 programs to an estimated 6,800 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate, medical and law students. Quinnipiac prepares graduates as enlightened global citizens equipped for the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century careers.

Kelli Buzzard

Program: Budapest Fellowship Program

Year: 2021

Host Institution: MCC – Mathias Corvinus Collegium

Research Focus: Preserving Hungarian Identity and Culture

Quote: I am eminently thankful to the Hungary Foundation and to MCC for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I find it truly a joy to immerse myself in the culture, sights, history, religion, and language of one of the world’s most fascinating and admirable countries. Looking to the future, I hope to make Hungary my permanent home, with plans to earn my Ph.D. and then teach college students in Budapest and beyond.

Read her introduction here: hungaryfoundation.org

After her initial visit to Hungary so many years ago, Kelli Buzzard returned home to the United States to study for her Bachelor of Arts in communications and history. In 2005 she earned an MA in Christian Thought and recently she finished her MA in Classics.

She then invested a decade in building Christian leaders in ministry and the marketplace, after which time she returned to Europe. This time she spent a year living and working in the war-torn Balkans and sporadically visiting Budapest, the location of her NGO’s headquarters. Then, returning home, Kelli worked for a Seattle-based non-profit fundraising firm and an international visiting professor ministry while also studying for her Masters in Christian Thought (history, philosophy, theology).

Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) has been nurturing young talents for 25 years.

MCC supports young people who are committed to their country, willing to contribute to their local communities, and who feel responsible for their compatriots and their environment. We help them, independently from their social or cultural background, unlock their potential and thrive for their own benefit and, in the long run, for the benefit of all Hungarians.

Their goal is to prepare the next patriotic generation that is talented, open-minded, internationally experienced, and with good command of foreign languages. With this skill set, they will be able to represent the Hungarian interests with confidence, even in the midst of global competition, and take part in the domestic or international debates as well as in the decisions determining the future of the Hungarian nation. At the same time, they can contribute to enhancing public dialogue and culture, and thus becoming a worthy representative of the cultural, economic and social elite of Hungary.

Balázs Turcsán

Program: HF-Hillsdale Scholarship

Year: 2021

Host Institution: Hillsdale College

Quote: “Hillsdale is a perfect place to immerse oneself in the American experience. The rural setting and the relatively small student population create a communal environment that focuses on learning and improving. You cannot avoid having to engage in discussions about history and philosophy in the student cafeteria.”

Read his introduction: hungaryfoundation.org

Before coming to the United States, he finished the second year of his Bachelor’s degree at ELTE where he majored in Eastern Studies with a Focus on the Arabic Language. He wants to combine his linguistic skills with the knowledge in political philosophy that he will acquire at Hillsdale to continue his higher education in international relations.

Hillsdale College is a small, Christian, classical liberal arts college in southern Michigan that operates independently of government funding. Our students represent each of the fifty states and more than a dozen foreign countries, and drawn to the challenge of a Hillsdale education, they grow in heart and mind by studying timeless truths in a supportive community dedicated to the highest things.

Ármin Ladányi

Program: Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship

Year: 2021 Summer

Host Institution: TFAS

Current Position: Board Member and Lead, Public and Corporate Relations, Youth Business Group

Research Focus: US constitutional amendments, US legislative and government affairs

Quote: “I am thrilled to see what comes of the upcoming weeks. There will be case studies, op-eds, and countless mind-provoking discussions. I’ll have the opportunity to accumulate theoretic knowledge in the classroom, and then will be able to apply it in the real world, whether it be using it in legislative institutions or at lunch with a lobbyist.”

Read his introduction: hungaryfoundation.org

Ármin Ladányi works currently as a Board Member and leader for the Public and Corporate Relations Team at the Youth Business Group, an association of university student organizations.YBG was founded in 2017, the regional organization already connects 1,000+ young people in several disciplines. Ármin graduated from the Corvinus University of Budapest with a degree in International Studies and then continued his studies at Corvinus to become a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Management. He gained international experience during his one-year studies in France at the Sciences Po University.

In addition to studies and professional advancement, community and active citizenship also play an important role in Ármin’s life: in 2016, he and his colleagues founded the House of European Affairs and Diplomacy(HEAD), a student organization for European Union diplomacy that now has more than 100+ members at three universities. As a result, he has been a key player in several of the European Parliament’s “This Time I am Voting” and “Together.eu” campaigns and became the main organizer and national ambassador of the Schuman 70 initiative which took place in 15 countries.

The mission of TFAS, its board, staff and our thousands of supporters is to change the world by developing leaders for a free society.

TFAS offers transformational programs that teach the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership to students and young professionals in America and around the world.

TFAS programs inspire these future leaders to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world by upholding the values essential to the preservation and success of a free society.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, based in Washington, D.C. 

Virág Turcsán

Program: Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship

Year: 2021 Summer

Host Institution: TFAS

Current Position: Graduate of the Erasmus Mundus International Master’s program in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies

Research Focus: Counter-terrorism and the role of intelligence as well as the evolution of human rights during COVID-19

Quote: “During the first few days, we already had the chance to interact with a number of inspiring speakers and learn about their career journeys. TFAS focuses on creating opportunities for meaningful exchanges with policymakers where we get to interact with them in a small group setting and gain valuable insight into their backgrounds.”

Read her introduction: hungaryfoundation.org

Virág graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2017 with a double major in Political Science and International Studies as well as a minor in Psychology. After graduation, she worked at the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations in New York focusing on security and counter-terrorism-related issues.

In December 2020, she graduated with distinction from an Erasmus Mundus Joint International Master’s degree in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies awarded by the University of Glasgow, Dublin City University, and Charles University in Prague.

She was awarded the Mo Dabo Prize for best dissertation for her research focusing on norms convergence between the EU and UN-related to counterterrorism sanctions listings.

She has been named an EFA Scholar at the European Forum Alpbach in 2019 and 2020. In 2021 she was selected as a Youth Consultant at the UN’s Consultation on Preventing Violent Extremism through Sport.

The mission of TFAS, its board, staff and our thousands of supporters is to change the world by developing leaders for a free society.

TFAS offers transformational programs that teach the principles of limited government, free-market economics and honorable leadership to students and young professionals in America and around the world.

TFAS programs inspire these future leaders to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world by upholding the values essential to the preservation and success of a free society.

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, based in Washington, D.C. 

Henry Meyer

Program: HF Summer Internship

Year: 2021

Host Institution: Hungary Foundation

Current Position: Junior at Villanova University

Quote: “Through fundraising events, lectures, and the pride in their culture, I saw firsthand how my grandparents worked to ensure the Armenian diaspora remained engaged and connected. As a result, the culture and pride of being Armenian lives on through me, even though I was not physically born there.”

Read his interview: hungaryfoundation.org

Henry Meyer is a rising junior and a Political Science and Sociology double major at Villanova University. Given his strong academic achievements, Henry has made the Dean’s List each semester. His coursework includes a broad range of topics including comparative politics, international relations, and American foreign policy.

Henry developed a passion for European and Hungarian politics after attending an educational summit in Budapest and Berlin. His grandparents were active members of the American-Armenian diaspora which has allowed him to understand the importance of the diaspora community in the United States. 

The Hungary Foundation is a solely charitable 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The Foundation pursues its mission and goals by supporting Hungarian-American organizations and by supporting programs that strengthen interaction and cooperation between Hungarian and American citizens and institutions. In particular, the Foundation is focused on supporting cultural, educational and scholarly activities. The Foundation does not participate in political activities, political or election campaigns.

Pin It on Pinterest