Official opening event of EYD in Hungary – our world, our dignity, our future

Publicated on: March 6, 2015

Press release

 „2015 is a year of outstanding importance, an enormous opportunity, since by means of  EYD activities, we can draw the attention of citizens to international development cooperation, and we can act jointly for the benefit of future generations” – underlined  Ádám Zoltán Kovács,  Deputy State Secretary for international cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary in his speech on  the occasion of the official opening of the European Year for Development 2015.

2015 is the  European  Year for Development.  It is the first ever European Year to focus on external relations- said Tamás Szűcs Head of the Representation of the European Commission.  In his opening address Ádám Zoltán Kovács, Deputy State Secretary for international cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary spoke about the objectives of the year, among which the most important is to increase the visibility of international development cooperation, since this will also strengthen solidarity, global responsibility and IDC-awareness.

In Hungary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade decided to place civil society organisations at the center of EYD activities, therefore the announcement of the winners of the EYD call for proposals was a major event of the opening ceremony.  In his speech, Tamás Szűcs emphasized that 140.000 euros, the total amount of EU-funds made available for EYD was devoted to the grant facility. The 6 awarded CSOs are:  Africa Culture Foundation,  For Africa Foundation,  HAND Association,  Hungarian Maltese Charity Service,  National Society of Conservationists – Friends of the Earth Hungary,  Saint Ignatius Jesuit College.

The awarded CSOs gave a short introduction of their projects planned  for the Year.  A wide range of colorful, innovative events will take place,  mostly activities that step beyond traditional  campaign elements (such as conferences, exhibitions) and  attempt to reach out to citizens at public spaces, through sport activities, unusual venues with special events, geared to attract attention and provide real experiences. 

The programmes  of the year will provide opportunities to meet the EYD  Ambassadors of Hungary.   Sena Dagadu, the lead singer of Irie Maffia was present at the opening ceremony and spoke about her motivations to undertake this role:  „ As a Ghanaian-Hungarian world-citizen I have quite a lot of friends in many parts of the world, and wherever I go, I have the impression that everyone is interested in  the  future of the world. The reason I became an EYD Ambassador is to learn from those, who have been active for a better world for a long time now. I am looking forward to working together with them from hereon, in creating a world we have all been dreaming of.  Other Ambassadors of the year include  Hesna Al Ghaoui,   TV reporter and foreign policy journalist, and Károly Härtlein, professor at the Physics Department of  Budapest Technical University, creator of the  popular „Brutal Physics” educational TV series.    

The objectives of the Year include increasing awareness and critical thinking, especially among  young people.  The role of the media is central in this respect.  This issue was discussed in an animated panel-discussion, with the participation of well known journalists, who have themselves already been on field visits and have published several  articles on IDC  issues: Csilla Mihalicz (Nők Lapja, womens’ weekly), Máté Halmos (Index on-line portal) and Bálint Fabók (Origo, on-line portal). All three agreed, that although  the information available is far not enough, there is indeed a real interest, curiosity and openness among readers with regard to development issues, as there is also an interest for direct involvement. The great challenge for journalists is to be able to present the stories and the human angles of development cooperation in a convincing way and to provide information and inspiration on the many opportunities open for individuals to make a difference in the everyday lives of those living in developing countries.  

Budapest, 2015.02.24.