news letter Our mobile application

Weekly newsletter

Former Government Adviser Appointed Head Of Balassi Institute

Ferenc Sullivan 2014.12.12.

As of 1 December, former chief adviser at the Prime Minister’s Office Judit Hammerstein has been appointed as director general of the Balassi Institute, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations disclosed to the state news agency MTI on Thursday. The institute is the chief organ of Hungarian cultural diplomacy.

Following the dismissal of former director general Pál Hatos, the ministry said that Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations Péter Szijjártó, as the leader of the body to which the Balassi Institute is subordinated, will select and appoint his successor with the agreement of the Minister of Human Resources under a restricted prodecure. Mr. Hatos’s appointment was recalled on 14 November after he was offered a different leading position within the Institute which he turned down and asked for his dismissal, the ministry said.

Born in the southeastern town of Nagykanizsa in 1969, Judit Hammerstein worked as Deputy State Secretary for Culture between February 2011 and July 2014, before becoming chief advisor at the Prime Minister’s Office. Having served as the press chief of the Prime Minister during the first Orbán government (1998-2002) and subsequently Fidesz’s parliamentary group (2002-2006), she became foreign affairs director at Fidesz’s party foundation “Foundation for a Civic Hungary”. In 2009, she was a candidate for the party in European Parliament elections but failed to gain a mandate.

Present in 28 countries around the world, the Balassi Institute is a non-profit cultural organisation founded by the Hungarian government. The institute spreads and promotes Hungarian culture abroad, as well as attaining Hungary’s objectives in the area of cultural diplomacy. As an organisational hub, it coordinates and directs all activities provided by Hungarian institutes abroad.