The annual CEPA Forum has become the go-to event for anyone working on US-CEE relations. This year’s conference, held at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, focused on the “Unfinished Business of 1989” and challenged all participants to ask: who will win the future—China, Russia, or our Atlantic World? The Forum also featured a heavy focus on expanding the discussions to include the next generation of Young Atlanticists.
For the first time, since the launch of the HIF-CEPA Andrássy National Security Fellowship, the CEPA Forum welcomed back all three previous Hungarian fellows, Zoltán Turai, Krisztián Jójárt and Miklós Lázár, who were joined by the first HIF-sponsored Denton Fellow, Antónia Kováts, and current Andrássy Fellow Zsombor Zeöld. With HIF support, Quinnipiac University’s Széchenyi Chair, Christopher Ball also brought down a group of students interested in deepening their knowledge of US-CEE relations.
All fellows were introduced to the Forum’s VIP guests at the Andrássy National Security Fellowship Reception which served to showcase how CEPA strives to build the next generation of Atlanticists through its programming. Ilona Teleki, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of CEPA and director of the CEPA-HIF Andrássy Fellowship Program, stressed CEPA’s commitment to build up the younger generations of North Americans and Europeans to preserve, defend, and expand the transatlantic space.
Anna Smith Lacey, Executive Director of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation (HIF), highlighted the need to invest in the next generation of transatlantic leaders to secure our shared future. In her remarks, Smith Lacey emphasized the importance of consciously cultivating and nourishing a sense of civilizational purpose in young leaders who will take over the helm of policymaking in the future:
“Over the last several years CEPA has shown that it puts its resources and treasures where its heart is and that is investing in the people that make up this alliance. We are proud of this partnership and we hope to cultivate many more young Hungarian warriors who one day will take the helms of steering our future and finish all the business that is still to be done.” – Anna Smith Lacey
On Day 2, following the CEPA Forum, which was attended by over 400 guests, with HIF’s support CEPA kicked off its Rising Atlanticist Leaders Network Dialogue, to focus on a vital group of the transatlantic relationship, the young professionals who make up the alliance. The series of discussions held at CEPA’s Headquarters, focused on key takeaways and policy implications suggested on Day 1 of the CEPA Forum panels. Participants were divided into four groups for small group discussions, and the topics reflected the panels from the CEPA Forum.
This focused dialogue was a unique opportunity for former and present CEPA fellows and interns – Americans and Central Europeans alike – to analyze and sum up the content of the previous day, discuss the uncovered topics and also to get in touch with each other, creating a network for the new generation of atlanticists.
Approximately 30 young participants, CEPA’s Rising Atlanticist Leaders Network, took part in the event, including, all former and present HIF Andrássy Fellows Zsombor Zeöld, Krisztián Jójárt, Zoltán Turai and Miklos Lázár, as well as Denton Fellow Antónia Kováts, and HIF YHLP Alumni Zsófia Rácz and Márton Zsuráfszky.
The discussions were moderated by CEPA leadership and staff: Réka Szemerkényi, Executive Vice President, Ilona Teleki, CFO and COO, Brian Whitmore, Director of the Russia Program and Senior Fellow, Milda Mataciunaite-Boyce, Program Manager and Director of Operations, Corina Rebegea, U.S.-Romania Initiative Program Director and Fellow in Residence.