On July 25th, 2018, the nation of Hungary and the state of Indiana signed a higher education agreement. Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, stated to Bocskai Rádio that this will be the basis for a new American university that will offer a study abroad program in Budapest.
This higher education agreement solidifies the rapport that was established last year by a previous economic agreement between the two states. Over the course of one year, commerce between Indiana and Hungary increased by 96%, meaning that both sides are taking the collaboration very seriously.
The minister further explained the importance of educational agreements for Hungary to maintain its competitive capacity by keeping up with universities that represent international standards through creating relationships in higher education.
Péter Szijjártó praised Notre Dame College of Indiana, which has 176-year-long history and ranks at 150th place internationally. Notre Dame College is opening technical branches in Budapest, which are especially important departments for the Hungarian economy and its strategic planning accuracy. Simultaneously, Pázmány Péter Catholic University is opening a department of environmental sustainability in Indiana that is accredited by the Vatican.
The minister answered us by saying that it was no accident that one of Hungary’s Catholic universities would like to emphasize and highlight Christian traditions arm-in-arm with a Catholic university of Indiana, since Christianity is so widely criticized today.
The minister told us in an interview that the legal, as well as political conditions exist that will enable the establishment of new relationships with other universities through similar agreements.
Péter Szijjártó also praised the significance of the Chicago Consulate’s work, since they played an important role in negotiating Indiana’s economic and higher education agreement, as well as in cultivating a good relationship with local Hungarians. This also encouraged the decision to open two more Hungarian consulate offices in Florida and Texas, following the success of the Consulate General in Chicago.
To answer our question, the minister said that they are quite fortunate since the American president sent an excellent ambassador to Budapest, David B. Cornstein. He is interested in developing mutually beneficial relationships and “does not want to lecture” the Hungarians. He simultaneously mentioned that Hungarian-American relations have been reborn after a six-year-long hiatus, high-level political discussions have resumed, and if necessary, a rendezvous could be arranged between the American president and the Hungarian prime minister.
At the end of the interview, Péter Szijjártó thanked the American Hungarian communities for their interest in the developments within the mother country and he asked that they continue to preserve their Hungarian roots and to participate in decisions regarding Hungary’s future.
Translated by Eva Orszag