A national institute established to support the worldwide community of Hungarian education, the Balassi Institute plays a key role in the professional direction of cultural affairs. Similar to Germany’s Goethe Institut, the United Kingdom’s British Council, or Spain’s Instituto Cervantes, the Balassi Institute’s main objective is to project a quality-oriented image of our nation, thereby increasing Hungary’s prestige in the international sphere, while strengthening and preserving all facets of Hungarian culture both within and outside of Hungary’s borders.
The Institute not only spreads and promotes Hungarian culture abroad, it also introduces the traditions and cultures preserved by Hungarians from outside our borders to those living in Hungary today. The Institute’s uniqueness therefore lies in the content and scope of its activities, as well as in the methodology used to reach its goals.
The Balassi Institute Around the World
The Institute plays a key role in developing and attaining Hungary’s objectives in the area of cultural diplomacy. As an organizational hub, it coordinates and directs all activities provided by Hungarian institutes abroad.
For the last eighty years—whether from New York to New Delhi, Cairo to Helsinki, London to Warsaw, Brussels to Sofia, or in the cities of Stuttgart, Bratislava, Prague, Tallinn, Bucharest or Sfântu Gheorge—Hungary’s cultural and educational policies have been represented by 22 Hungarian cultural institutes located in 20 countries, as well as through the work of cultural diplomats found in 7 additional states. In Vienna, Berlin, Paris, Rome and Moscow these institutes also function as a Collegium Hungaricum, a strategic bastion for Hungary’s presence in international research and science.
Throughout the year, recipients of international research grants find housing and professional support at one or the other Collegium Hungaricum. The goal of Hungarian institutes abroad is to promote and support Hungary’s cultural heritage through the development of cultural diplomatic relations between our nation and partner nations, the encouragement of international cooperation in culture and science, the furthering of Hungarian language education and the introduction of Hungary’s vibrant culture and society to foreign audiences by means of various programs.
Director General - Pál Hatos Ph.D
Pál Hatos was born in 1971. He graduated from the Eötvös Lóránd University of Budapest (ELTE) in History, and also holds an MA in Literature and in Law. He has a Ph.D in History.
He studied as research fellow at the University of Geneva, the Institut Protestant de Montpellier and the Sorbonne, Paris. Hatos began his carrier as secondary school teacher and has been teaching at ELTE University since 1998.
He has been twice visiting professor and the holder of the Hungarian Studies Chair at Indiana University, Bloomington IN. He has published widely on European and Hungarian intellectual history of the 19-20th century. Besides his scientific activity he has worked as legal adviser at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Hungary and as Head of Department of the Ministry of Education.
He was the Director of the Office of Hungarian Scholarship Board for five years (2002-2007) and served as the Chancellor of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest from 2006 to 2010.
Hatos was appointed to head the Balassi Institute, the top Hungarian govermental organisation of cultural diplomacy in 2010.