The Visegrád Cooperation was further strengthened by the Századvég Summer School

The Századvég Summer School, co-financed by the International Visegrad Fund, was organized in cooperation with the Századvég Foundation’s V4 partners between 8 and 14 July 2018.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Századvég Foundation – the oldest and largest think tank in Hungary which was established in 1993 as an intellectual platform for active members of a new generation. In addition to its research, consultancy and publishing activities, the Foundation has an expanding education portfolio as demonstrated by the Századvég Summer School.

The one-week long summer school dealt with important current topics such as the opportunities and challenges of the European Union and the V4, the migration issue including Hungarian and Central European solutions, support for persecuted Christians, and the economic role of Central Europe within the European Union. Twenty students – mainly from the fields of social and political studies – from the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary have been selected to participate in the program.

On the opening day of the Századvég Summer School, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stressed the importance of a “strong Visegrád voice”. The minister declared that debates within the EU are important, and that the V4 will continue to represent the voice of common sense.

In his welcoming speech, Chairman of the Századvég Foundation Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa emphasized that “the countries of the Visegrád Group can be proud of the fact that they have a past which serves as a solid foundation for cooperation”. As he explained, the strength of the V4 community lies in an approach that focuses on what binds the countries together instead of what separates them.

During the program, the Századvég Summer School’s participants had the opportunity to meet renowned Hungarian lecturers such as: Zoltán Kovács, Government Spokesperson; Márton Schőberl, Deputy State Secretary for Cultural Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Krisztina Varjú, Ministerial Commissioner for the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group 2017-18; László György, State Secretary of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology; and Dániel Palotai, Executive Director and Chief Economist of the Central Bank of Hungary.

The Századvég Foundation’s Central European partners – namely the CEVRO Institute from the Czech Republic, the Warsaw Institute from Poland, the Občanský Institute from the Czech Republic, the Anton Tunega Foundation from Slovakia and the Jagiellonian Club from Poland – participated in the selection of students and attended the summer school as lecturers. Marek Degro, Director of the Anton Tunega Foundation, Marcin Kędzierski, Research Director of the Jagiellonian Club and Martin Vlachinsky, Economic Analyst of the ISS in Slovakia, all joined a panel discussion each during the summer school.

Throughout the program, students were given the opportunity to share their thoughts on the Visegrád Cooperation. Prior to the summer school, students were asked to prepare presentations together about the main topics of the week.

In addition to the professional programs, the participants also visited historical sites of great importance from a Hungarian and V4 perspective such as the Visegrád Citadel, the Buda Castle and the Heroes' Square in Budapest. Furthermore, they participated in a guided tour in the House of Terror Museum where they were hosted and engaged in a discussion by Mária Schmidt, Director General of the Museum.

The true achievement of the Századvég Summer School is bringing together and educating future leaders from Central and Eastern Europe who will be able to work together in order to strengthen Central Europe – and thus Europe as a whole.