Following the invitation of Prof. Dr. András Patyi, a delegation of the United States House of Representatives visited the National University of Public Service on 10 March. The event has given a great opportunity for the University, having academic relation with several American universities, to strengthen its transatlantic relations.
“All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about the people without the people. This is democracy” - quoted Lajos Kossuth the Rector of NUPS in his welcome speech. Prof. Dr. András Patyi recalled that the thoughts of the Hungarian statesman presented in Ohio greatly influenced the famous Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln, the future President of the United States. “Two men from two different backgrounds with the same thoughts about freedom and democracy” - said András Patyi. He added that with the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence of 1848/49 these thoughts are more current than ever before.
Although history has led the two countries on different paths, said Mr. Patyi, Hungary has always known who are its true allies, thus the country has always taken its obligations seriously. As an example, he highlighted Hungary's role in NATO operations. “Since 2015, we had 150 units serving in Iraq; currently 900 Hungarian soldiers are participating in worldwide peacekeeping operations. We are also contributing to the stabilization of the Western Balkans and expectedly in 2019 we will be involved again in the air defense of the Balkans.” - noted the Rector then he emphasized the role of the National University of Public Service in this plan.
“NUPS trains the officers of the Hungarian Defence Forces, law enforcement officers. Additionally, the university provides qualified professionals for the Hungarian and international public administration and water management sectors” - he said. András Patyi added that primarily, NUPS’ mission is to strengthen the Hungarian state through training and research. “Our aim is not only to contribute to a strong state but to develop a value-oriented public service and cooperation is a key element in achieving this goal” - highlighted the Rector. With regards to the transatlantic relations of the institution, Mr. Patyi said that NUPS places great emphasis on developing its international relations, in which partnership with American universities were always important. In 2016 NUPS signed a partnership agreement with the Marymount University, then in 2017 with the University of North Georgia. The institution joined the Fulbright Scholar Program and founded the Center for U.S. Studies and Research to further improve the higher education relations. “After seven year of service, we can say that we advance on the good path and NUPS continues to be an active participant in international higher education and research” he said and thanked the members of the delegation, highlighting the continuous support of Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, Dr. Tamás Fellegi and István Fedor.
According to Dennis A. Ross, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida, the National University of Public Service is the “university to train the leaders of the nation”. István Fedor, the American-Hungarian leader of the delegation said that the past, heritage and present of NUPS are all proof of this. “Knowledge is power but the acts of the leaders are more decisive regarding the heritage of the next generations. Those who study in this university will fulfill leadership roles in any sector of public administration, and will become the role models who develop the country.”
He added that Hungary and the United States both fought their own battle for freedom and despite all differences “we both emerged as winners”. Education played a significant part in this because “education is what connects us” - said Mr. Fedor. We live in an era where the faceless online media takes over the role of personal face-to-face relations. He highlighted that “it is important that our students keep their free and independent thinking and that they are able to look for real answers”. Free thinking is one of the most universal values and both countries are based on this: "our ability to stand for ourselves, for our faith." The strength of both countries is based on this concept and also on the mutual trust and knowledge. They both understand that they need each other in this global world. "Our visit to the National University of Public Service demonstrates that despite our differences, we have the opportunity to share our thoughts, values and relationships," said Dennis Ross who also added that “our goal is to make the world better, not just for democracy, for freedom, but also for our faith.”
During its Hungarian stay, the delegation was also welcomed by Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, Zoltán Balog, Minister of Human Capacities, Sándor Pintér, Minister of Interior and Zsolt Németh, head of the Hungary-USA Interparliamentary Friendship Group.