RETURN US Alumni in Hungary Conference (event archive)
Alumni organizations of young Hungarian professionals who have returned home after their experiences in the United States have recently signed a cooperation agreement to reboot the tradition of an annual „RETURN – U.S. Alumni in Hungary” conference, which was first organized in 2010. The aim of the conference was to promote cooperation and communication between the alumni organizations in Hungary, to support the reintegration of returnees, and to assist Hungarians who wish to study or do research in the US in the future.
CSS, along with Civic Enterprises were organizational partners in this endeavor with CSS director Emese Böröcz emceeing the event. Imre Hild, founder of the Ivy Plus Alumni Association moderated panel discussions on the experiences, opportunities and challenges of recently returned alumni and on success stories and alumni cooperation opportunities.
Dr. László Lovász, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences served as the patron of the conference. In his introductory statement, he pointed out that students should return home after their years spent abroad to utilize their knowledge and experience in Hungary, and emphasized that the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is making an effort to set up a research environment that is worthwile coming back to.
Pázmány Péter Catholic University’s impressive Pope John Paul II Hall served as an uplifting venue for the get together of more than one hundred alumni who returned from the US to Hungary.
Fr. Szabolcs Szuromi, rector of the University in his opening remarks said that “if we find the truth and are brave enough to say it, it’s as important for our home country as it is for the enitre world.”
Writer, novelist, and screenwriter Miklós Vámos in his keynote address lamented on the profound positive impact his years on America had on his personal development. “My years in the U.S. were a thorough turning point of mine” he said.
H.E. Colleen Bell, US Ambassador to Hungary who recently arrived to Budapest stressed that the Embassy places a special emphasis on US alumni engagement and supports programs among returned scholars and students. “RETURN is an organization of enromous potential” the Ambassador said, expressing her delight at getting to know Hungary through its best and brightest.
Géza Jeszenszky, former foreign minister of Hungary and ambassador to Norway and the United States and former Fulbright scholar called for a proper and deeper understanding of the United States and its culture in a letter addressed to the audience. Despite the current misunderstandings and ignorance about the American way of life, “the United States, in my opinion, continues to be a force for good” he said.
The alumni organizations presented at the conference included IvyPlus Alumni, the Hungarian Fulbright Association, the Hungarian American Enterprise Scholarship Fund Alumni, the Calasanctius Training Program Alumni, the Hungarian American Coalition – Congressional Internship Program Alumni, the Hungarian Medical Association of America Hungary Chapter, the Kellner Alumni Association and the International Visitor Leadership Program Alumni.
Common Sense Society aims to serve as an integrative platform for all interested returnees who share CSS’s vision of promoting civic engagement, entrepreneurship and a responsible notion of liberty.