Dr. Michael Penkava passed away on September 6, 2020

Written by Fulbright on 09/14/2020. Posted in News

Dr. Michael Penkava passed away on September 6, 2020

As a Professor of Mathematics of the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, he came to Hungary on a Fulbright grant in January 2008 to collaborate with mathematicians of Eötvös Loránd University.

Ever since that time, he returned to Hungary twice a year – each time with a fun story, and with lots of energy to continue his research with his Hungarian colleagues. The last time he visited our office, he was pale and tired, but ready to fight his illness. We are sorry he did not succeed. He is part of Fulbright Hungary history. We remember him fondly.

Fulbright Hungary launches John von Neumann Distinguished Award in STEM

Written by Fulbright on 06/19/2020. Posted in News

Thanks to significantly increased funding from the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, Fulbright Hungary proudly announces a new distinguished grant in STEM for US scholars starting in the Academic Year 2021-22 competition (deadline: September 15, 2020).

See: awards.cies.org/content/john-von-neumann-distinguished-award-stem

Named after Hungarian-American scientist John von Neumann, who was born in Budapest, emigrated to the US in the early 1930s to Princeton, where he made major contributions in mathematics, physics (quantum mechanics, hydrodynamics, and quantum statistical mechanics), economics (game theory), computing (Von Neumann architecture, linear programming, self-replicating machines, stochastic computing), and statistics.

Priority areas for the von Neumann grant include, but are not limited to: autonomous (self-driving) vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G networks, molecular biology, physics and material science.

Some Hungarian institutions that specialize in these fields:

  • ELI-ALPS Institute in Szeged: Extreme Light Infrastructure research center funded by the European Union for attosecond projects. ELI is connected to the particle and x-ray center in Prague and the photonuclear center in Bucharest, Romania. Hungarian university researchers and their departments have access to ELI.
  • ZalaZONE Test Track in Zalaegerszeg, whose mission is to: “Establish a full-range validation facility for the vehicles and communication technologies of the future enabling multi-level testing opportunities from prototype tests till serial products development.” ZalaZONE is affiliated with three Hungarian universities.
  • Biological Research Centre, Szeged, affiliated with the University of Szeged, is a European Union Centre of Excellence, focuses on: biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, plant biology.

While US scholars are free to associate with any university in Hungary, the following departments have direct relationships with the priority institutes listed above and have strong ties to the Fulbright Commission in Hungary:

Scholars, of course, may seek affiliation with any accredited research facility and university not on the above list.

For more information, please contact Annamaria Sas, US Program Officer or Károly Jókay, Executive Director.

Fulbright Hungary May 2020 Update

Written by Fulbright on 05/18/2020. Posted in News

What has been happening at Fulbright Hungary since the Covid outbreak arrived in early March?

March and April:

The Fulbright office has switched to a work-at-home model on March 13th, as the Technical University campus, including our building, closed that week and we do not know when the campus will reopen. We have access to the office if needed.

The State Department in March issued a level 4 travel warning covering all of the EU, and we had to ask our US grantees to leave Hungary at their earliest convenience. All but two US grantees have left Hungary by early April.

All but 5 Hungarian grantees in the US have returned already.

Despite rumors about the global Fulbright program, all of our grantees have been paid until the end of their original grant agreements.

Academic Year 2020-21:

There are several “known unknowns” and “known knowns” (credit to Secretary Rumsfeld) that directly affect our grantees already selected for Academic Year 2020-21.

The global Fulbright program will be fully reinstated on January 1, 2021.

All of our Hungarian and US grantees, with a few exceptions, will start their grants in January, most of them for the original duration of the grants. US students will be able to choose between 6, 7, and 8 month grants (taking them through August, 2021).

We will have 13 Hungarian students and 12 researchers, as well as 12 US researchers and 11 students during the 2020-21 academic year.

We do not know when:

a) the level 4 Travel Warning will be lifted for the EU,

b) when the US will allow EU citizens to travel to the US,

c) when the Schengen Zone will allow US citizens entry,

d) when airlines will fly again and

e) when US and Hungarian universities will reopen for real (on-line does not really count, as Fulbright does not support off-site, online-only enrollment).

Academic Year 2021-22:

Despite complete uncertainty, we are recruiting for the 2021-22 Academic year, and expect Hungarian applications to arrive at the end of May and in October. US students have an October 13th deadline and scholars face a September 15th deadline. We will interview Hungarian applicants as usual in late June and early July, as well as late November. These could be on-line for the first time ever, we shall see.

In Loving Memory of Dr. Beatrix Kotlan

Written by Fulbright on 05/08/2020. Posted in News

In Loving Memory of Dr. Beatrix Kotlan

A few words of parting by Rita Hoffmann ’19, one of her fellow Fulbrighters:

“April 29th was the end of a long, difficult and merciless marathon. Bea did not arrive at a finish line of her choosing. But she is there now, exhausted, in eternal silence. Bea was an enthusiastic Fulbrighter, a community organizer, a struggling heroine, stubborn but all the more humble. God be with you dear Bea, may you rest in peace, you restless, eternally cheerful soul who strived for justice and a better world.”

Dr. Beatrix Kotlan was awarded a Fulbright research grant twice along with numerous other prestigious international fellowships. She did her Fulbright research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute, in Santa Monica, CA (2006-2007) and the University of Texas Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center (2014-2015).

Dr. Beatrix Kotlan was a leading researcher in biology and immunology at the National Institute of Oncology in Budapest, Hungary. She dedicated her entire life to research, first of all cancer research. She truly believed in the potential of immunotherapy. As a Fulbright researcher, she worked on developing this form of therapy.

As a member of the Hungarian League Against Cancer, she regularly organized and supported free time activities, fundraising runs and walks in the true spirit of fighting against cancer.

Hungary to quadruple its support to Fulbright by 2022

Written by Fulbright on 02/10/2020. Posted in News

Hungary to quadruple its support to Fulbright by 2022

Fulbright Hungary is proud to announce that the Government of Hungary has decided to quadruple its contribution to the Fulbright Commission by 2022. Starting in 2020, support has doubled to $344,000. After another increment in 2021, by 2022 support is expected to reach $690,000 per year (HUF 200 million, subject to exchange rate fluctuations). With this largest ever increase and absolute amount, Hungary and the United States will be near parity.

In Hungarian forint term, Hungarian government support in 2019 was HUF 50 million and raised to HUF 100 million in 2020, HUF 150 million in 2021 and finally HUF 200 million in 2022.

The bilateral, so-called “Pre-Commission” program started in 1978 in Hungary, with over 1,100 Hungarian and 900 US alumni to date. With the signing of the first bilateral agreement in 1990, the Commission has been in operation since February, 1992.

This increase, along with continued US support (approx. $850,000 annually) at current levels, would mean the following:

*Higher levels of tuition support for Hungarian students, as well as larger stipends for US grantees in Hungary and Hungarian grantees in the US, increasing ouor competitiveness.

*Shorter lists of alternate grantees, that is, a larger portion of high-quality applicants may receive support in contrast to our usual waiting lists.

*Thanks to cost-sharing agreements with US and Hungarian universities, we will increase the number of grantees from the historical average of about 40 to 50 in AY 2020, and by 2022, we expect to have 60 grantees per year.

*We will continue to encourage applications representing all fields and all geographic areas in both countries. First-generation students, traditionally underrepresented persons from universities new to Fulbright and urban universities are particularly welcome. In Hungary we recruit intensively outside of Budapest and seek to place US grantees in all parts of the country.

*We are competing with 160 countries in the global Fulbright program, and have experienced twice to three times as many applicants as we have slots.

*Down the road, we will continue to support academic and geographic diversity, but expect to place a larger emphasis on the STEM fields starting in the Academic Year 2021-22 recruiting cycle.

Press Conference from left to right: Marc Dillard, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Hungary; Károly Jókay, Executive Director, Fulbright Hungary, Zsigmond Perényi, State secretary for EU funds, Ministry for Innovation and Technology
Hungary to quadruple its support to Fulbright by 2022

Fulbright Hungary visit to Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky

Written by Fulbright on 12/09/2019. Posted in News

Fulbright Hungary considers it a priority to visit US campuses, look up alumni, meet campus advisors, as well as to inform potential applicants interested in Hungary and the Central European region.

Fulbright Hungary co-sponsored the annual meeting of the Fulbright Association in Washington in October, 2019. We hosted the kick-off reception at Marymount University on the first day of the conference.

Fulbright Hungary visit to Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky

After the Fulbright Association and Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, ED Károly Jókay visited the University of Virginia, West Virginia University, Marshall University (WV) and the University of Kentucky in late October, 2019.

Fulbright Hungary visit to Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky

The international directors, deans in charge of study abroad and foreign students, as well as key alumni acted as hosts. Jókay met with Fulbright alumni of Hungary and other programs, with faculty and students interested in Fulbright grants in general and in some cases specifically Hungary or Central Europe. Each university offers programs and specializations that are of interest to future Hungarian scholars and students.

Fulbright Hungary visit to Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky

Fulbright Hungary looks forward to receiving applications for the 2021-22 Academic Year from the communities of scholars and students at these institutions. We will certainly encourage our Hungarian applicants to consider these US hosts in their applications.

Chargé d’affaires Marc Dillard visits Fulbright Office

Written by Fulbright on 11/12/2019. Posted in News

Chargé d'affaires Marc Dillard visits Fulbright Office (Nov. 12, 2019)

Fulbright Hungary was honored to host Deputy Chief of Mission Marc Dillard, Cultural Affairs Officer and Fulbright Hungary Board Member Lauren A. Perlaza and Public Affairs Assistant Katalin Bíró today at our offices. Our guests visited the EducationUSA advising office, and spoke with all program officers and staff members about their roles in keeping Fulbright running. Mr. Dillard was then briefed by Executive Director Károly Jókay on key aspects of our program such as grantee numbers, geographic and topical diversity, as well as plans for upcoming academic years.

Chargé d'affaires Marc Dillard visits Fulbright Office (Nov. 12, 2019)

Breaking Down Walls, Building the Future Conference

Written by Fulbright on 10/21/2019. Posted in News

The U.S. Embassy in Hungary and Fulbright Hungary organized a conference at ELTE Faculty of Law Aula Magna titled “Breaking Down Walls, Building the Future” dedicated to commemorating the 30th anniversary of regime change in Hungary on October 17th, 2019

Plenary Session
Opening remarks: U.S. Ambassador David Cornstein

Introducing the Speakers: Tibor Frank, Professor Emeritus, ELTE
Full Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Chair of the Fulbright Board, Fulbright alum

Keynote Speech on Political Change: “The View from Szabadság tér”
Donald Kursch, US Deputy Chief of Mission in Budapest in 1989

Keynote Speech on Economic Change: “Hungary Rejoins the Community of Market Economies”
Péter Ákos Bod, Professor of Economics, Corvinus University, Former Minister of Industry and Trade, Former Governor of the National Bank of Hungary

Thematic Panels
1. Parting the Iron Curtain
“What happened to the Iron Curtain?”

László Vass, Fulbright alum, Secretary to Imre Pozsgay in 1989
Rector Emeritus, Metropolitan University Budapest

Gábor Turi, Fulbright alum, Journalist, Debrecen organizer of the Pan-European Picnic
Former Director, Center for External Relations, University of Debrecen

Comments: Anna Péczeli, Fulbright alumna, Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University

2. From Underground to Protest to Commercialization: Musics and the Arts

“Cult Films and Political Change”
András Réz, Art Director, Werk Academy Art School

“Music as Rebellion”
Tamás Nyirkos, Senior Lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Institute of International Studies and Political Science

Comments: Tibor Glant, Fulbright alum, University of Debrecen, Institute of English and American Studies

Musical Interlude: American Jazz by Gábor Turi, Fulbright alum, jazz historian

3. Studying America or Studying in America?

“Hungary Pre-1990: Chicken Factory Reproduces, No Credit Class, Phone Tapped”
Donald Morse, Fulbright alum, First Elected Chair on Fulbright Board, Professor of US literature at University of Debrecen, Emeritus Professor,
Oakland University

“American studies/studying in America”
Réka Cristian, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, Institute of English & American Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of
Szeged

Comments: Mirjam Donáth, Fulbright alumna in Journalism, Columbia University

4. Closing Session, Summary Remarks
Wrap-up comments: Jessica Storey-Nagy, Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Student, Indiana University
Closing Remarks by Károly Jókay, Executiv Director

On the next day, October 18, 2019 participants of the conference visited Sopron. First they visited the Mayor’s Office, where the group was welcome by the newly elected Mayor, Ciprián Farkas.

Donald Kursch also shared his thoughs about the city’s important role in the events of 1989. He met students of the University of Sopron while the group was doing a short sightseeing tour in the historical center of the town. In the afternoon participants visited the Pan-European Picnic Memorial Park. László Nagy, eye-witness of the opening of the border between Austria and Hungary and Secretary of the Pan-European Picnic Foundation and László Vass, Secretary to Imre Pozsgay in 1989 gave a short talk remembering of what happened on August 19, 1989. After that participants did a quiz in small groups about what they learnt during the conference and the field trip. They worked enthusiastically on the task. This was a great way to conclude the program.

Selection of Hungarian student grantees AY 2020-2021

Written by Fulbright on 10/15/2019. Posted in News

Selection of Hungarian student grantees AY 2020-2021

The Fulbright Commission is proud to announce the selection of 13 Hungarian students and the nomination of 3 Humphrey candidates for Academic Year 2020-21. Many thanks to 56 peer reviewers (almost all HU and US alumni) who evaluated 57 student and 8 Humphrey applications of the 63 and 8 received.

We conducted 51 interviews during July, 2019, and this led to the selection of 13 student Fulbrighters and 3 Humphrey nominees for 2020-21. Of those 13, 10 will being doing research as Visiting Student Researchers (VSR) and three will seek admission to degree-granting programs.

Five of our Board members, 6 alumni and 4 friends of Fulbright helped us with the 20 minute long interviews.

We are very proud that the applicants reflected 32 distinct academic fields, and those selected each represent a distinct academic field.

The Hungarian scholar deadline for AY 2020-21 was October 10th, and we received a near record-breaking number of applications from Hungarian lecturers and reseachers.

All of this, of course, is with the help of our US and Hungarian alumni community. Thank you again.

Marymount University President Irma Becerra Hosted by Fulbright Hungary

Written by Fulbright on 10/07/2019. Posted in News

From left to right:  Stefan Fedor, Professor Miklós Lévay, Professor Katalin Nagy, Professor Stephanie Foster, Károly Jókay, President Irma Becerra, Victoria Tsang, Mrs. Erika Fedor (not pictured, Andrea Tóth)

Marymount University President Irma Becerra, Trustee Stefan Fedor and his wife Erika, as well as Professor Stephanie Foster were hosted by Fulbright Hungary Executive Director Károly Jókay on September 27th, 2019.

The delegation from Marymount visited a set of partner universities and institutions during their sojourn. Fulbright Hungary and Marymount University have a cooperation agreement, and the first Fulbright scholar from Hungary arrived at Marymount in August, 2019.

President Becerra met a select group of Fulbright Hungary alumni representing many academic fields. Juvenile justice (Professor Miklós Lévay, ELTE Law School), dentistry (Professor Katalin Nagy, University of Szeged), intellectual property law (Dr. Andrea Tóth, Hungarian Intellectual Property Office) and one active US student English Teaching Assistant, Ms. Victoria Tsang, who is working in our EducationUSA advising office and hails from Baruch College.

We hope Marymount University will send us their best student and scholar applicants, and Fulbright Hungary will certainly recommend Marymount to those Hungarians interested in Fulbright grants.