Introducing Hungarian American Coalition Intern Borbála Péntek

Borbála Péntek arrived to Washington DC early April and will spend 4 months at Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy (MCCD). She is originally from Cluj Napoca (Kolozsvár), Romania.

Péntek is the second of seven interns to be hosted as part of the Hungarian American Coalition’s John N. Lauer Leadership Training Program (formerly Coalition Internship Program) in 2019. The program, supported by The Hungary Initiatives Foundation and the Pannonius Foundation, provides invaluable first-hand experience at various Washington-based institutions. Internship participants learn about democratic institutions in the US, participate in events in the Hungarian American community, work with personal mentors, create a professional network and complete a Coalition research project.

Borbála Péntek

Péntek’s host institution has employed the visual and performing arts to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives in 59 countries since 1978. Meridian formally created the MCCD in 2014 to better address this mission. MCCD’s exhibitions have traveled to over 380 host venues in 44 U.S. states and 57 countries. Programs organized by Meridian’s cultural experts serve as focal points for people-to-people exchanges, panel discussions, lectures, film screenings, concerts, and more. MCCD employs a unique approach to culture that engages audiences through public-private partnerships, educational initiatives and community outreach. We offer many services in this arena — these include: working with embassies and ministries of worldwide cultures to tell their stories to Americans; assisting corporations interested in deepening their footprint in other countries; and collaborating with the U.S. government to provide content that doubly showcases American heritage and highlights our country’s investments in cultural diplomacy.

Péntek Borbála at the IMF

Péntek holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and European Studies from University of Babes-Bolyai (Cluj Napoca, Romania) and two graduate degrees in Conflict Analysis and Management and in European Affairs and Project Management from the same university. Alongside her university studies, Borbála pursued various internships, including a three-month internship at the Office for the European Representation of Hungarian National Communities in Brussels, Belgium. She has extensive experience in organizing cultural events and in project management.

Prior to her internship in DC, Péntek worked as a business research analyst at the KPI Institute, a research institute specialized in business performance. She is also the regional coordinator of the Canadian Rákóczi Foundation’s Students Without Boundaries Program. She has also been responsible for implementing cultural projects in Transylvania through grants received by the Hungarian National Cultural Fund. Péntek is interested in minority issues, human rights advocacy, conflict management, business research and cultural diplomacy. She speaks English and Romanian fluently, and Spanish on a basic level.

“The opportunity to work in Washington, gain international work experience and learn best practices will greatly help me implement community advocacy projects for the Hungarian minority in Transylvania in the future. Through this internship I will be able to broaden my horizons, improve my communication and research skills which I would like to capitalize upon returning home.”

Through assignments to think tanks and non-government organizations, LTP participants learn about the workings of both the U.S. government and the non-profit world. Their experience helps them establish contacts in the U.S. in their chosen field, and motivates them to enter public service in their country of origin.

Borbála Péntek (second from left) with her colleagues at Meridian