Meet Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellow Virág Turcsán

by | Jun 17, 2021 | News

Virág Turcsán


Virág is spending the summer in Washington DC, taking part in The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) program, supported by the Hungary Foundation. During her first couple of days, she enjoyed exploring the city and experience the excitement of people as D.C. is slowly reopening after the pandemic. She is excited to take classes at George Mason University and she especially enjoys her US Foreign Policy course where she analyzes the work of American leaders.

Virág Turcsán

“Reading a speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave at his Memorial made the text come alive and be much more inspiring and powerful. I look forward to reliving history at the memorial places of other leaders and it helps me connect to the texts on a more personal level.” – Virág Turcsán

Virág is part of the International Affairs track at TFAS where she is focusing on international policy cooperation. As part of the program, she will be able to attend small group meetings with policymakers from key areas such as the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department as well as intelligence analysts from various agencies. As a recent graduate of the Erasmus Mundus International Master’s program in Security, Intelligence, and Strategic Studies, jointly awarded by the University of Glasgow, Dublin City University, and Charles University, she is about to explore the practical applications of intelligence work and how that can influence policymaking in real life.

“During the first few days, we 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.” – Virág Turcsán

She’s excited about her packed summer schedule with numerous opportunities to engage with people working in the peace and security sector.

As part of her program, she is researching counter-terrorism and the role of intelligence as well as the evolution of human rights during COVID-19 at the International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS) at the Potomac Institute. Virág has been working remotely with ICTS for the past two months and has had the chance to get to know the ins and outs of the organization before landing in Washington D.C.

“I’m grateful to be able to hit the ground running and help the work of ICTS throughout the summer. Getting to know the organization before arriving in the US was so helpful in developing my own project and making sure it fits into the overarching research direction of ICTS as well.” – Virág Turcsán

She looks forward to the many events and publications that ICTS has lined up for the summer and hopes to help the organization any way she can.

“I hope to connect my time at ICTS to my upcoming Ph.D. research project and gain practical knowledge that I can successfully implement in my future academic work.” – Virág Turcsán

After the program, Virág will begin her doctoral research at Dublin City University focusing on the balance of counterterrorism sanctions and human rights. She hopes to incorporate her experience at ICTS and TFAS into her future academic projects and expand her network of counter-terrorism and security professionals.

Besides her courses and events with TFAS and ICTS, Virag is also excited to take part in the programs that the Hungary Foundation is organizing for the Széll Kálmán fellows, as well as getting to know the Hungarian community in Washington DC.

About the Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship

The 2021 Summer Széll Kálmán Public Policy Fellowship is a full scholarship for students from Hungary to participate in The Fund for American Studies summer programs in Washington DC.

The 15-week program includes an internship placement in Washington DC, academic credit from George Mason University, housing in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC a variety of guest lectures and briefings, as well as opportunities for professional development and networking. HF’s scholarship covers full tuition and a living stipend for the duration of the program.


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