Wrapping Up a Fruitful Year Abroad – PhD Fellowship Recap by Balázs Tárnok

by | Feb 23, 2022 | Liberty Bridge Program, News

Balazs Tárnok

From January to December, 2021 Balázs Tárnok was the Hungary Foundation’s first Visiting Research Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

This 12-month fully-funded research fellowship – part of our Liberty Bridge Program – was established to support in-residence academic research at top US universities in the fields of liberal arts and social sciences, in areas where Hungarian academic research is underrepresented.

This fellowship supports academic research of strategic importance to the US-Hungary relationship with educational institutions that are likely to become long-term partners for future academic collaborations. The subject matter of Balázs Tárnok’s research was human rights and ethnic advocacy in the United States.

Balázs Tárnok studied the current and past human rights advocacy activity of Hungarian civil society organizations in the U.S., as well as the activity of other organizations representing the interests of different ethnic groups. The aim of the research was to explore the American system of human rights protection and find best practices that may be applicable in the European Union too. Balázs’s academic mentor at the University of Notre Dame was Prof. Paolo Carozza, while his professional mentor from was Amb. Kurt Volker.

“This fellowship was outstanding. The research period was very useful and the outputs were also great. I think I have made a great progress in the field of research which will be very useful in the future. Generally, it was a life-changing experience.” – Balázs Tárnok

During his twelve month fellowship, Balázs

  • published 11 op-eds and analyses in English. His writings have been published, among others, by Foreign Policy, Newsweek, The Washington Times, and RealClear Defense.
  • held presentations on my research topic at Indiana University, the Quinnipiac University, and the Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut.
  • participated in 62 meetings, online and offline, with advocates, human rights and foreign policy experts, representatives of ethnic groups, academics, Congress, and government officials.
  • participated in several online conferences, and visited other conferences in person. He attended the American Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA, the Young Hungarian Leaders Program in Washington, DC, the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, FL, the Federalist Society’s Annual Lawyers Convention in Washington, DC, and the Inalienable Rights and the Traditions of Constitutionalism Conference at the University of Notre Dame, IN.
  • audited four courses at the University of Notre Dame; two on international human rights law (‘Human Rights Jurisprudence’ and ‘International Human Rights Law’), and two on political science (‘American Politics’ and ‘U.S. Foreign Policy’).

Balázs said “being part of the Notre Dame community was very inspiring” and he made great progress with his research, and he had important meetings and presentations where he could raise awareness on the ongoing violations of the human and minority rights of ethnic Hungarians living beyond the borders of Hungary. He met several representatives of different ethnic advocacy groups in the U.S. and learned many best practices of protecting human rights that could be used in the European public sphere, too.

He is positive that the past year, given the knowledge he gained on human rights advocacy, is going to be a cornerstone of his career in the future. It was crucial for him to see this very different and truly admirable American attitude of advocacy.

“During my time at Notre Dame I learned how U.S. experts see us and our issues in the bigger picture and I learned a lot about myself, and specifically about my future goals.” – Balázs Tárnok

He had the chance to see very different parts of the US: Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, Connecticut, and, of course, the capital, Washington, DC.

He spent this past year in the U.S. with his wife, Csilla, and their three-year-old son, Koppány. All of them found this year abroad very enjoyable. They lived in an on-campus apartment, and thus, they could enjoy one of the beautiful Notre Dame campus every day. They loved traveling around in the region, enjoying the beauties and the truly American atmosphere of the Midwest, and experiencing the American way of life in South Bend.

“The highlight of my fellowship experience was gaining better understanding of the American and international discourse on the subject matter of the research, ability to communicate about the subject matter of the research more efficiently and great opportunity for networking.” – Balázs Tárnok



Publications of Balázs Tárnok during his Fellowship:

In English: 

“Why Is Ethnic Discrimination Still Legal in Slovakia?“ Foreign Policy, March 12, 2022

Reconciling the Hungarian-Ukrainian Schism, co-author: Michael van Ginkel, Real Clear Defense, December 18, 2021

Ignoring Minority Rights is Part of Brussels’ Agenda to Homogenize Europe”, Newsweek, September 10, 2021

Human rights of ethnic minorities in Ukraine – the ‘Kaboul moment’ is on the way?”, EUStrat Policy Observer, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Ludovika-University of Public Service, Budapest, August 31, 2021.

 Why is Hungary ‘blocking’ Ukraine’s NATO accession?The Washington Times, June 27, 2021 (print edition)

Ukraine Is Fighting the Wrong War”, Newsweek, June 15, 2021

“Minority Rights – Ukraine’s Gateway to the West, Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, Apr. 30, 2021

 “European Commission: Ukraine must respect the rights of national minorities, EUStrat Policy Observer, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Ludovika-University of Public Service, Budapest, March 22, 2021.

 Widening the gap between the EU and its citizens. On the European Commission’s decision rejecting the Minority SafePack Initiative, Constitutional Discourse, March 10, 2021.

 EP committee demanding action of the European Commission on the Beneš Decrees, EUStrat Policy Observer, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Ludovika-University of Public Service, Budapest, January 27, 2021.

 The European Commission turned its back on national and linguistic minorities, EUStrat Policy Observer, Europe Strategy Research Institute, Ludovika-University of Public Service, Budapest, January 20, 2021.

In Hungarian: 

A koronavírus hatása az európai polgári kezdeményezéskre – a határidő-hosszabbítás jogi és politikai kérdései. Társszerző: Nagy Dénes András. In: Koltay András – Török Bernát (szerk.): Járvány sújtotta társadalom – A koronavírus a társadalomtudományok szemüvegén keresztül. Ludovika Egyetemi Kiadó. 2021.

Újabb európai pofon a határon túli magyaroknak. Ludovika Blogtér, 2021. július 14.

Magyar-szlovák feszültségek és a V4 egységének megőrzése, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. október 18.

A Kisebbségvédelmi Keretegyezmény szakértőinek szlovákiai országlátogatása, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. szeptember 14.

 Véget ért a nemzeti régiókról szóló európai polgári kezdeményezés aláírásgyűjtése – mi következik most? EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. május 10.

Vajúdtak a hegyek és egeret szültek – az uniós lobbi átláthatóvá tételének újabb felvonása, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. május 3.

Az „End the Cage Age” európai polgári kezdeményezés nyilvános meghallgatása az Európai Parlamentben, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. április 16.

Transzatlanti kapcsolatok 2020 után – EUstrat kurzus beszámoló, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. március 1.

Folytatódik? A nemzeti régiókról szóló európai polgári kezdeményezés jövője, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. február 16.

Az Európai Bizottság lesöpörte az asztalról a Minority SafePack kisebbségvédelmi kezdeményezést, EUstrat Szakpolitikai Figyelő, 2021. január 15.



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