Hungarian ambassador to discuss international politics

April 07, 2008

Hungarian Ambassador to the United States Dr. Ferenc Somogyi will give the annual Resnick Lecture “International politics as seen from a Central European perspective,” at 7 p.m. April 28 in McDaniel College’s McDaniel Lounge.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410-857-2294.

A foreign-service diplomat and member of the College's governing board since 1994, Somogyi’s career spans over three decades, travel to more than 50 countries, and ambassador postings in Rangoon, Burma, between 1969 and 1971 and to Lagos, Nigeria, between 1971 and 1973. A member of the Hungarian Socialist Party, he was the deputy ambassador to the United Nations during the 1980s, served as foreign minister from 2004-6, and was in 2007 appointed Hungarian Ambassador to the United States.

Somogyi has witnessed and participated in world events of profound historic significance. He was a member of the small group of Hungarian political leaders who chose to allow East German tourists to cross the Hungarian border into Western Europe. Thus began a chain of extraordinary events that ultimately led to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Somogyi also helped in the reshaping of Eastern and Central Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union and played a key role in negotiating the withdrawal of Russian troops from Hungary. In 1997, he led the Hungarian delegation in the talks for Hungary’s NATO accession.

In the private sector, Somogyi was the director of Euro-Atlantic integration at Matáv, the Hungarian telecommunications firm, from 1998-2001. From 2001-4 he was the CEO of Stonebridge Communications AD in Skopje, Macedonia, and from 2006-7 was the director for international affairs for Magyar Telekom in Budapest.

He holds a doctorate in World Economics from the University of Economics in Budapest, and undergraduate degrees from the University of Economics and the College for Political Sciences in Budapest.

The Resnick Lecture is part of a series established in 1999 by Alvin and Elaine Mintzes to honor their friends, Alleck A. and Harriet S. Resnick.