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Kis Norbert

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NUPS is becoming a professional and social community

Interview with Norbert Kis, professor of the University and Vice-Rector for Continuing Education and International Affairs

Mr Norbert Kis was leading the establishment of the National University of Public Service as a Ministerial Commissioner in 2011 and now he is a professor and Vice-Rector for Continuing Education and International Affairs. This year he was awarded the Knight's Cross from the Order of Merit of Hungary. With Mr Norbert Kis we talked about past and future, about political sciences and international relations.

(Summary of the original interview concluded by Ádám Szöőr.)

Five years ago, an interview was published in the Közszolgálat (Public Service) magazine, in which you have expressed future plans about NUPS as a Ministerial Commissioner. Those who are reading that article now might see you as a prophet, since almost all of those plans have been realized. Was it possible to see so clearly into the future back then?

Norbert Kis: At that time the preparation of the University had been going on for almost a year. Thus we could draw up plans that were realistic. Governmental proposals, laws and mid-term development plans were created. The University has performed better than we anticipated 5 years ago and we all should be very proud of this achievement.

NUPS has come along a long development path during this short time and has made progress in all areas.  How can you explain this dynamism and efficiency?

Norbert Kis: The Governing Board of the University approved NUPS’ Institutional Development Plan in last October that summarizes the developments and results of the past five years. In my opinion, becoming a professional and social community is the most important. It is the community of lecturers and researches that can create a real university in the long term, not the leadership.  I think that institutional interests, working groups, individual ambitions and goals are coming into balance. As part of the current developments, that are partly results of the recently launched KÖFOP operative programme, smaller working groups, research centres and individual creativity are playing a greater role.

As a Vice-Rector you are responsible for two important areas. Regarding international issues, the establishment of the Faculty of International and European Studies can be considered as a significant achievement, which is closely related to the message that the training and education of diplomats will be conducted here in the University. Nevertheless it seems that this determination is less emphasised nowadays in the everyday life of the Faculty and the University.

Norbert Kis: In those public service positions that are closely connected to Hungary’s international and European network there is a need for specific expertise, international experience and language knowledge. All these needs required a greater emphasis on the training of diplomats within curriculum development. In a broader sense there is a connection between this process and the strengthening of the University’s international capacities. During the past few years European and international studies became available within an independent Faculty, while the Academy of Diplomacy programme and the Ludovika Ambassador’s Forum were also launched. We have also started the International Public Service Relations Master Programme in English that deals with certain attributes of diplomacy, as its name suggests. I could also mention any other programme of the Faculty or the English language joint degree program in law enforcement, in which we are also participating. Nobody can expropriate tertiary diplomatic education, however NUPS has become a key player in this field as well.

International relations of the University are constantly expanding, our participation in mobility programmes is also more and more significant, although it is a question whether NUPS is seen as a known and acknowledged University within the international community after five years. 

Norbert Kis: We have to see that the predecessors of NUPS did not have strong international embeddedness. It is a time consuming task for a new university to build its presence at an international level, thus being known among international students, lecturers and the scientific community. It is relatively easy to create promotional materials, while building professional and social trust with international partners is a much more difficult and slower process. Internationalization, like many other things, is a communal process, therefore the contribution of each member of the university is important, from lecturers teaching abroad to international students studying at our University. The brand, prestige and international trust towards the University are built up from these numerous individual efforts. If we consider that we have international students from 30 different countries, or if we take a look at our participation in international scholarship programmes, the European and international Erasmus+ programmes, or even the Stipendium Hungaricum programme then we can say that we are the most successful Hungarian University in the student proportional utilization of mobility grants. There are different layers of internationalization, therefore welcoming an increasing number of international students who can spread the University’s reputation is very important. The same applies to our international guest lecturers. It is of our great pleasure that we are more and more frequently invited to partner universities and conferences to participate in joint projects. We still have a lot to improve, however I think that each colleague can be proud of what we have achieved so far.