“Cultural diplomacy can help create peace in a troubled and peaceless period”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó in a message to the annual meeting of the directors of international Hungarian Institutes in Budapest on Thursday.

“The task of economic diplomacy is to facilitate foreign capital investment here at home, and to boost Hungarian economic exports”, Mr. Szijjártó said, also emphasising that “Through cultural diplomacy, however, we can build bridges that would be impossible by other means”.

In his message to the participants of the meeting, the Minister highlighted that the series of foreign commemorations to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence had proven to be a truly successful project that had displayed the Hungarians’ desire for freedom and history-changing heroism worldwide.

“The Eastern Opening and Southern Opening foreign policies also build on cultural diplomacy, because it is through showcasing our culture and expanding cultural and education relations that we can increase people’s awareness of Hungary”, Mr. Szijjártó said in the message, in which he also praised the popularity of Poland’s Hungarian Culture Season and Bratislava’s “More Than a Neighbour” programmes, as well as the excellent reception of the Stipendium Hungarian scholarship programme and Hungarian-Chinese cultural cooperation.

Mr. Szijjártó pointed out that a separate state secretariat within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been responsible for cultural and scientific diplomacy since 2014, and that there had never been such a high-level representation of the area in the history of the Foreign Ministry.

According to the Minister, culture is one of our best-selling export items and we may also be rightly proud of our network of Hungarian Institutes abroad, in view of the fact that the Ministry currently operates cultural institutes in 24 cities in 22 countries, in addition to which education and cultural diplomats are also posted at eight Hungarian foreign representations.

At the meeting, which was also a celebration of the 100th anniversary of institutionalised Hungarian cultural diplomacy, the Foreign Minister’s message was read in his absence by Minister of State for Cultural and Science Diplomacy István Kerékgyártó.