Officers & Staff

Marion Smith, founding president

Marion, a native of South Carolina, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wofford College with a BA in Government & History. He has studied in England, France, The Netherlands, and Hungary where he received an MA in International Relations from Central European University. Marion’s research focuses on the role of ideas in American foreign policy, U.S. diplomatic and military history, and on the future of transatlantic security cooperation. His articles have appeared in various publications, including the Washington TimesNational Review Online, and Wall Street Journal Europe.

In addition to his work at Common Sense Society, Marion is also Executive Director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. He is a trustee of the National Civic Art Society and was previously a visiting fellow at the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation.

Anna Smith Lacey, vice president

Anna received her M.A. in International Relations and Political Science at Corvinus University, Budapest in 2009. She is currently finishing her  M.A. in American Studies at ELTE, where her focus was U.S. politics and foreign policy. She served in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry as Canada and U.S. desk officer and served for four years at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington DC as a congressional liaison and political attaché. Her portfolio included US domestic, foreign and security policy, managing Hungary’s relations on Capitol Hill and coordinating outreach to the Hungarian American diaspora in the US. She is an alumna of The Fund for American Studies’ Prague and D.C. institutes. She has been translator and editor of several English-language publications on U.S. and Hungarian democracy and constitutionalism. Anna is a co-founder of Common Sense Society Budapest.

Emese Böröcz, director

Emese graduated from a German high school in Budapest and earned her BA in International Studies at Corvinus University. Emese was one of the first participants of the Atlantis Transatlantic Double Degree Program, through which she studied international relations, conflict resolution, and public policy in the United States, Germany, and The Netherlands. She graduated with two Master’s degrees from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and the Hertie School of Governance. During her studies, Emese spent time abroad in Switzerland, and interned at the US desk of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin. Emese has been an active member and volunteer of Common Sense Society since 2010. Prior to joining CSS full-time, she has worked at the School of Public Policy at Central European University.

Dorián Elek, program associate

Dorián earned his BA degree in political science at the Eötvös Loránd University in 2014. Dorián interned at the United States House of Representatives, was a non-resident intern of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute, and most recently, he was an External Relations intern at The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Dorián is pursuing his MA degree in political science at ELTE and after interning with Common Sense Society Budapest, he started as Program Associate at CSS on January 1, 2016.

Travis LaCouter, managing editor of

Travis graduated as valedictorian from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he majored in political science and Catholic studies. He has interned at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the Common Sense Society in Budapest. Travis has worked as an editorial assistant at Parable, the official magazine of the Diocese of Manchester (New Hampshire); a political contractor for the Alliance for New Hampshire Jobs; an undergraduate research fellow through the Mellon Program for Research in Humanities; and a Regional Program Officer at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Travis currently works as Assistant to the Executive Director at Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Tiffany Kovacs, intern

Tiffany is from Chicago and graduated from the Latin School of Chicago. She moved to Budapest in September of 2014, and is pursuing a doctor of medicine at Semmelweis University. Prior to this, she studied abroad in Paris and Palestine. She joined the Common Sense Society as an intern in January of 2015.

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