The Zebegény Alumni Summit held on September 16th, 2023 at the Dőry Castle on the Danube was co-organized this year as well by Quinnipiac University’s Central European Institute and the Hungary Foundation. This annual event serves as a networking opportunity for those wanting to build a better future for Hungary and the region by helping younger generations through educational and business opportunities in both the US and Hungary. The uplifting occasion brought together alumni of the Quinnipiac HABL program, Hungary Foundation’s graduate scholarship alumni, as well as HF’s fellowship and internship alumni in order to provide a networking opportunity with HF’s board members, Hungarian policymakers, and other guests for their further professional and personal advancement.
Opening the event, Christopher Ball, Széchenyi Chair in Economics and Director of Quinnipiac University’s Central European Institute (CEI) welcomed guests back to Zebegény. He talked about the recent Hungarian American Business Leaders scholars, starting their journey this year, while he also gave an update on how the current scholars are doing midway through their studies, QU’s Art as Ambassador umbrella program, and Quinnipiac’s partnership with HF and MCC. Among other mentions, he highlighted that the new focus and goal is on getting more Americans from Quinnipiac to come to Hungary. A new program has been launched with Corvinus and Morgan Stanley where students can come to study at Corvinus and work at Morgan Stanley for about 6 months.
“Quinnipiac has programs in Washington, D.C., called “QU in DC”, and programs in Los Angeles called “QU in LA” so I named this “QU in BP”. Students can come study and do research internships at one of our many partners from MCC, to the American Chamber or Fulbright, and those wanting more can do the extended version with Morgan Stanley and soon other companies.” – Christopher Ball
HF’s Executive Director Anna Smith Lacey noted that this year, from HF’s perspective is a significant one, since the Foundation marks the 10th anniversary of its existence. She expressed gratitude towards the founder Tamás Fellegi, and HF’s board, who launched the organization and helped it to stay on course over the years. She also talked about how HF is going to structure its alumni programming moving forward. The basis of these new features was the research conducted with the help of Levente Szabados, 2018 Széll Kálmán Alumnus.
“Building more robust academic and professional exchange bridges between the US and Hungary was an idea whose time has definitely come in 2013. Fast forward ten years, and we have over 200 alumni, who represent some of the best and the brightest of Hungary and now the US.” – Anna Smith Lacey
As a favor from HF, everyone received a copy of the book “Nation and Europe” by board member Former Foreign Minister János Martonyi, hot off press published by Helena History Press, and Katalin Kadar Lynn, HF’s academic advisory board member. Former Foreign Minister János Martonyi addressed the audience reflecting on the importance of transatlantic relations and Hungary’s Western orientation.
The winner of HF’s Alumni Leadership Award was George Bogden, 2020-2021 BFP Fellow. The Alumni Leadership Award is based on professional, academic, and community engagement excellence. Alumni were asked to send in their suggestions for an alumnus who’s professional, academic, and community engagement excellence. HF created this award because we believe in leading by example.
George joined the newly established program as a Visiting Senior Fellow in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and spent the 2020/2021 academic year teaching and conducting independent research at the Mathias Corvinus Collegium and at the Danube Institute.
George fully understood the purpose of the Budapest Fellowship Program and dedicated himself to gaining a greater appreciation of Hungary’s history and the views of its people. After finishing the Fellowship, he remained one of the main advocates of Hungary as well as the Budapest Fellowship Program.
George’s commentary has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The American Interest, The Kyiv Independent, the Wilson Center, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and the Marine Corps University Press. His research has been recognized by the Brussels Forum Young Writers Award, the Trench Gascoigne Essay Contest, and most recently by the Steamboat Institute. He’s a frequent contributor to conferences and podcasts on all things Foreign policy and geopolitics.
“Dr. George E. Bogden is an excellent researcher and unbiased observer. But more importantly, he’s someone who is always, always ready to help his peers. Whether it’s connecting them to professional advancement opportunities, advising them about the think tank landscape in DC and NY, tutoring young Hungarians in early US Foreing policy, or making new institutional connections for HF, MCC and his Hungarian think tank mater, the Danube Institute.” – Anna Smith Lacey
We thank you all, who contributed to our newly established Alumni Fund. The donations at this year’s Zebeény Alumni Summit added up to over $400. If you’d like to support the Alumni Fund with a donation, please click here to do so.