On Monday President János Áder rewarded a number of important academic, artistic, cultural, and political figures with the Corvin Chain, Hungary’s second-highest honor. This distinction, Áder said, is not only a recognition of outstanding performance, but also a ‘call to carry on’ the sharing of knowledge, wisdom, and experience, as well as to inspire younger generations.
Together with House Speaker László Kövér, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and other dignitaries, the President bestowed the award on the following: actor Péter Huszti, orientalist Miklós Maróth, former Foreign Minister János Martonyi, classical philologist Zsigmond Ritoók, professor Péter Sótonyi, biochemist Sir George Radda, and sculptor Miklós Melocco. Martonyi is a member of the Friends of Hungary Foundation’s Board of Trustees, while Radda is one of the Foundation’s founding members.
Recipients of the award also become members of the Hungarian Corvin Chain Society, whose new President is Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi, former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of Hungary Foundation. The number of recipients of the Chain is strictly limited, meaning that new awards can only be distributed when former recipients have passed away.
The Chain is an award celebrating the achievement and hard work of those who have dedicated their lives to the revival of Hungarian science, culture, art and education. In his speech at the award ceremony, President Áder argued that
the basis of our self-esteem is certainty gained through diligence, credibility and steady work.
He went on to discuss the life and works of Kuno Klebelsberg, Hungary’s Minister of Culture in the 1920s, whom Áder praised for his school-founding activities, and who was himself one of the first recipients of the Corvin Chain in 1930.
Originally, Corvin awards were founded by Hungary’s controversial inter-war Regent, Miklós Horthy, in 1930. The award was revived by the first Fidesz government in 2002, then suspended following the change of government by leftist-liberal MSZP-SZDSZ, and reintroduced again by the second Fidesz administration in 2012.
Other Corvin Chain recipients with ties to the Friends of Hungary Foundation include opera singer Éva Marton, who is a founding member of the Foundation, and physicist Zsolt Bor, who is also a member.
image: Illyés Tibor/ MTI