H.E. Maria Fe T. Pangilinan has served as ambassador in Budapest since 2015. Her Excellency has studied in Sweden and Belgium in the field of international law and worked at the Office of the United Nations and International Organisations (UNIO) at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and she was an occasional lecturer at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) before. Her foreign relations career was started at the consulate in Bonn and then in Bern in the position of deputy and later chief secretary. She served as Chief Consul at the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Prague, Barcelona, and Bucharest, Athens and even London. Her current responsibility extends to Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.
As a lead up to the presentation, the audience was treated with a colourful presentation on the natural beauty, flora and fauna, as well as cuisine and traditions of the Philippines. The country consists of 7641 islands, and its inhabitants speak 120 languages next to numerous dialects. Her Excellency mentioned that despite of the young populations, they have to face many issues currently.
The country has a very rich history. It was first a Spanish colony, and later came under the influence of the United States. It was occupied by Imperial Japan during the Second World War and it finally gained its independence from Spainon 12 June 1898. Following the war, the whole country, including its capital city Manila, had to be rebuilt. After it gained independence it had to face many internal and external challenges including communist and Muslim insurgencies, bankruptcy, indebtedness, financial crises, voting fraud and corruption. Under the governance of Fidel V. Ramos, the economy flourished, but it was destroyed by the monetary crisis in 1997. Currently, Rodrigo Duterte serves as the President of the Philippines since 2016.
Her Excellency highlighted that her country is one of the founders of the United Nations and also of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Its foreign policy rests on the three principles of maintaining national security, furthering economic prosperity and ensuring the right of Filipinos living abroad. As more than 10 million Filipinos live abroad, this is a really important task too.
To achieve these aims, they try to be on good terms with more and more nations. Her two roundtable partners were Dr. János Jelen, rector of the Dharma Gate Buddhist College, and Ferenc Jári, Director of the South and Southeast Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary. The event was moderated as usual by NUPS’s foreign policy expert, Dr. János Bóka, Vice-Dean for Science and International Affairs at the Faculty of International and European Studies.
Dr. Bóka highlighted that the purpose of the event is to encourage an open and honest discussion between embassies in Hungary.
“The Philippines is a curious meeting point of east and west, full of charming people and picturesque scenery that cannot be compared to anything else, and Hungary also has many ties of the Philippines”, remarked the Vice-Dean.
According to Ferenc Jári, the cooperation with the Philippines fits right into the colourful foreign policy of Hungary nowadays. The close relations between the Philippines and the united States was also mentioned and according to Her Excellency, “the Unites States is one of the most reliable ally of her nation.” To the question regarding how this relationship changed in the recent past, the Ambassador replied that although they have a bilateral defence treaty with the Unites States, they know that they are not the only nation under the protection of America. Everybody wants to react to out changing world, and living together peacefully in this world has increasingly more importance. According to János Jelen, the colourful religious background of the region rests on mutual respect and understanding, which encourages this. According to Ferenc Jári, time is also needed for good developments to show.
The event held on 15 June, 2017. generated much public interest and distinguished experts of various security fields shared their knowledge with a packed Zrínyi Hall at the Ludovika Campus. The discussion was moderated by Prof. Dr. Zoltán Szenes form the International Security Studies Department at Faculty of International and European Studies of NUPS, while the guests and the audience was greeted by Dr. Judit Nagy, Vice-Rector for International Affairs on behalf of NUPS.
The Vice-Rector welcomed all the distinguished guests, the ambassadors, experts and all members of the audience. She highlighted that it is an honour for the National University of Public Service to cooperate with so many embassies on such a serious and complex topic.
The Vice-Rector’s opening remarks were followed by the first part of the panel discussion, where military and security experts shared their view on the challenges of hybrid warfare, especially in the context of Ukraine and Russian hybrid warfare tactics. Before the experts’ session however, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy to Hungary David J. Kostelancik gave a speech on the vitally important situation of Ukraine. Mr. Kostelancik clearly stated how important Ukraine is not only to the United Stated, but also to NATO and all European countries. He explained that this new warfare – hybrid warfare – is conducted by Russia with the aim of damaging Ukraine and its ties to the West. Ukraine is intimidated, violent separatists use arms, energy is used as a weapon against this sovereign state and “a smokescreen of disinformation” is raised by its Eastern neighbour. All these activities blend traditional warfare with new elements in order to achieve Russia’s strategic aims. The Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy urged Russia to honour the Minsk Agreement because the United States stands firm in the support of Ukraine.
The US Chargé d’Affaires was followed by Her Excellency Liubov Nepop, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Hungary. Her Excellency’s speech echoed Mr. Kostelancik earlier remarks and clearly stated the situation in her country. According to her, despite more than ten thousand people lost their lives since the beginning of the war that it is not only contested by military means. Russia uses disinformation, propaganda, cyber-attacks, and energy attacks in order to punish Ukraine for its Trans-Atlantic ties as well as cooperation with Europe. She deemed this action as part of the ancient “Divide and rule “principle and urged Ukraine, Europe, the United States and all its allies to stand united against such a threat.
First of the experts to share his opinion was Colonel Gábor Boldizsár, from the Faculty of Military Sciences and Officer Training. Colonel Boldizsár started his presentation first by defining the term “hybrid warfare”. Then he drew on his extensive field experience in military missions to both Afghanistan and Kosovo. Colonel Boldizsár also set up a theoretical framework in his speech by identifying 4 phases of hybrid warfare. In this concluding thoughts he mentioned that Hungary stands as an ally of Ukraine and Hungarian military scientists help in the development of Ukrainian military higher education.
The second presentation of the session a joint effort by military aviation experts Colonel Dr. Zoltán Krajnc and 1st Lieutenant János Csengeri, both represents the Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training. In their two-part presentation they underlined the role of airpower in hybrid warfare situations. Dr. Krajnc mentioned why airpower is one of the ideal tools of hybrid warfare, since it has “minimal intrusiveness, rapid response, rapid mobility, rapid engagement and improved strategic, operational, and tactical situational awareness“. In the second part of the talk Mr. Csengeri identified 3 aggression categories "nonviolent subversion, covert violent actions, conventional warfare supported by political subversion” and also showed an example of a hybrid conduct of war in Kosovo in 1999, when conventional weapons, terrorism against the population, and irregular forces were used too.
The final expert of the first section was Dr. András Rácz senior lecturer at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University. Dr. Rácz is a renowned expert of the topic as he was the first person in Hungarian to write about hybrid war. Dr. Rácz underlined how much Russia uses and develops its hybrid strategies. That is it part of the official Russian military doctrine to conduct such operations and that is has evolved a lot since 2008 when the Russians first used modern hybrid strategy against Georgia. He also made it clear that the strategy works undeniably well for Russia as it is illustrated by the situation in Ukraine and also in Syrian since the Assad regime is still has not be toppled. “There is no reason to believe that Russia will stop using this method in the foreseeable future” – said András Rácz. In fact, he pointed to other developments of Russian strategy that have been used lately, such as naval and long distance strikes in Syria – the first time their warplanes engaged in action outside of their country of since the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980’s – and also interfering with election in both the United States and France. Dr. Rácz concluded that Russia is an adversary that is constantly improving its strategy and we must quickly learn how to counter it, which is he believes can be done by more cooperation.
The speeches were followed by a question and answer session where, among others His Excellency Petri Tuomi-Nikula, Ambassador of Finland to Hungary, and Her Excellency Isabelle Poupart, Canadian Ambassador to Ambassador to Hungary, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina raised issues for discussion.
The second part of the panel discussion continued following a short coffee break and saw speeches from Péter Kaderják, the Director of the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research at the Corvinus University of Budapest, Dr. Botond Feledy, Director of Saint Ignatius College and Dr. Csaba Krasznay, director of the Cyber-Security Academia at NUPS. Mr. Feledy talked about civilian and military cooperation in cyber-security, and how fake news can be combated. Mr. Kaderják detailed how energy is used as a weapon against Ukraine and how the gas supply systems in Central and Eastern Europe. Last but not least, Mr. Krasznay presented a case study in detail about a Russian cyber-attack on a Ukrainian power plant, where a malware was used as a weapon. In his final remarks he stressed that cyber-security education is the easiest way to counter such threats and that is why NUPS also places great emphasis on cyber-security education as part of the Cyber-Security Academia.
This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of restoring Spanish-Hungarian diplomatic relations and this served as another reason for the March event of the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika. In his presentation, José Ángel Lopez Jorrin mainly focused on why the country’s performance is evaluated by stereotypes based on historical experiences rather than on real facts. His Excellency added that after the financial crisis of 2008 Spain recognized how important was the configuration of the country’s image, which broadly defines a country’s international reputation. Following the continuously growing crisis, the Spanish government in 2012 chose a new way for organization, which accentuated the global presence of Spanish values. To strengthen the country’s image, the project called Marca España (Spanish Brand) had been launched. The ambassador also participated in the elaboration of this project prior to his accreditation to Hungary in 2014.
HIS Excellency said that Spanish people like to enjoy life, but they are also hardworking. Based on the countries’ GDP, Spain is the fourth largest economy in the Euro Zone, the fifth biggest economy in the European Union and the 13th in the world. In addition, Spain is the world’s 11th largest investor with 650 billion US dollars, which means 3% of the total investments of the world. The Spaniards are particularly active in Latin America where, after the United States, they are considered the second largest investors: they carry out high quality infrastructure improvements, such as building high-speed railway networks.
According to Mr. Lopez Jorrin, the Spanish nation is caring and represents family values. These values are also shown by the fact that the Spain has the highest proportion of organ donation. “Currently there are 3000 Spanish soldiers serving in various international missions, representing their nation” – added José Ángel Lopez Jorrin.
During the roundtable discussion, the participants talked about the rise in unemployment between 2009-2013 and its consequences, the possible effects of Brexit and the migration crisis that Europe is facing. The participants of the roundtable discussion were Dr. János Bóka, Dr. Mónika Szente-Varga, Vice-Deans of the Faculty of International and European Studies, and Dr. Edit Inotai, senior fellow at the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy. After the discussion, the participants could watch a travelling exhibition that commemorated ex-Spanish ambassador, Ángel Sanz Briz and his colleagues, honouring their lifesaving work during WWII.
On 20 April 2016, Duan Jielong, Ambassador to Hungary representing the People’s Republic of China paid a visit to the National University of Public Service. As a guest of the university’s Ludovika Ambassador’s Forum His Excellency delivered a lecture on China’s peaceful development and the debates surrounding the South China Sea issue. In his speech he said that with China’s economic growth the role of the country has also revalued in the region and among the international superpowers. Five main principles guide the country’s foreign policy today: equality, mutual respect, non-violence, peaceful coexistence and non-interference.
The People’s Republic of China is the first country in the world who guaranteed never using nuclear weapons first – emphasized the ambassador. As the country is committed to solving problems through means of diplomacy, its life is currently governed by more than 300 multilateral treaties. In view of the UN peacekeeping missions it can be said that China provides the second biggest financial and human resources. In addition to its Asian presence, the country plays an important role in Africa: it provides medical aid to millions in need, battling malaria and ebola. China also takes part in anti-terrorist actions and plays a constructive role in fighting climate change.
China has always ruled the South China Sea as it were the Chinese who have mapped the region and started to use it for trading – pointed out Duan Jielong. Historical documents prove that before the Second World War only Chinese have inhabited the sea whereas with the end of the war it was the country once more who recovered the formerly occupied islands. Unfortunately, peace stayed as long as the early 1970s. Having revealed the richness of the South China Sea in oil and other natural resources, following the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, neighbouring countries have occupied a portion of the islands illegally. Nevertheless, China’s foreign policy did not change with time: the country continued and is still continuing to seek peaceful negotiation to settle the disputes on the basis of the international law, keeping the territorial sovereignty and the right to free navigation. The ambassador in the end emphasized that it should be in our utmost interest to keep the Chinese priorities in mind as the commercial activities in the region are of high international importance as well.
Text: Dorottya Petery
Photos: Denes Szilagyi
On the evening of 21 October 2015 the Zrínyi Hall of the Ludovika main building turned into an Ambassador’s salon once more. The second guest of this year's program series was the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to Hungary who took the baton from his Czech colleague. H.E. Rade Drobac told the public in his opening speech that the current Serbian government is focusing on three main topics: the preservation of political stability, the maintenance of regional and international peace as well as the sustenance of economic development. He emphasized that a governing body can only be considered effective until it follows the internationally recognized laws, respects the territorial sovereignty and is committed to stay away from the internal affairs of other countries. As he said: “honour your neighbour and your neighbour is going to respect you.”
In view of the Hungarian-Serbian relations it was said that the two countries have never been on better terms as the states are mutually supporting the minority groups that live in their territories and Hungary is supporting the EU accession of its Southern neighbour. The ambassador also pointed out that the two nations are tied together by their geopolitical situation as well. Issues of energy, transport and migration are parts of the daily agenda and the solution to the main problems lies in cooperation. There are no isolated, independent responses as they only give way to misunderstanding.
The opening speech was followed by a roundtable discussion on which dr. Norbert Tóth, acting Vice-Dean for Education at the Faculty of International and European Studies, the host of the evening welcomed dr. János Hóvári, former Deputy Secretary of State for Global Affairs and Andrea Orosz representing the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Regarding the EU aspirations of the Republic of Serbia the question was raised whether the recognition of Kosovo as an independent state might not be a prerequisite for accession. In his answer the ambassador stressed the fact that his country will never regard Kosovo as a neighbour but a part of its own.
Text: Dorottya Pétery
Photos: Dénes Szilágyi