President of the Republic Katalin Novák also spoke about the role of diplomacy, the importance of language skills in one-to-one meetings and the Stipendium Peregrinum program at the National University of Public Service in Budapest on Monday.
Speaking at the university event entitled The Role of the President of the Republic in Hungarian Diplomacy, Katalin Novák said that her first trip as President of the Republic was to Warsaw, that was not an official trip, but she wanted to visit the city first in order to improve the now sensitive Hungarian-Polish relations. She said that the Russian-Ukrainian war directly affected Poland and Hungary because of their proximity, and that the two countries shared some of the same interests and experiences, but that the nuanced differences were enough to overshadow Hungarian-Polish relations.
She explained that there is a message in where a President-elect of the Republic travels for the first time. Novák said that there are levels of foreign visits, the highest being state visits, followed by official and working visits. She recalled that in Portugal she had been on the highest state visit.
Katalin Novák stressed that she is active in diplomatic work, representing Hungary both at home and abroad. In Iraq and Kosovo, for example, as Commander-in-Chief of the Hungarian Defense Forces, she visited Hungarian soldiers serving there.
On the importance of language skills, the President explained how important it was to be able to talk to Pope Francis in Spanish in private, or to be able to talk to the Austrian President in German in private. She said that it was an opportunity to develop a personal relationship. Without the need for an interpreter, the relationship is more direct, and
every gesture, every accent, every word, every nuance, is very important in international relations,
In diplomacy, the President said, you must show openness and be able to listen to the other side, to understand its position. We must be careful about what we say and what we do not say, what we do or do not do,” she added. In addition to the obligatory protocol elements, the President of the Republic has the freedom to deal with them with the necessary flexibility.
Katalin Novák also spoke about the Stipendium Peregrinum program, which provides scholarships for young people who want to study abroad. She added that she herself had studied at universities abroad and on her return she had found Hungary even more appealing than before.
In response to a question, she said that Hungary has a female president for the first time, and the positive message is that there is no office that cannot be held by a woman. However, it is a particularly big responsibility to fulfill this office, because if she makes a mistake, many people will conclude that women as such are not fit for such a task.
She plans to invite all female heads of state to Hungary next year. She added that Slovenia also elected a female president for the first time, and Slovakia and Greece have female heads of state. She also spoke about the reconciliation between starting a family and a career, saying that women should be supported to bridge the gap between the two.
Featured Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi