10 years of Stipendium Hungaricum: the Board of Trustees of Tempus Public Foundation meet at SZE

The Stipendium Hungaricum programme, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, serves both the international economic and foreign policy objectives of Hungary and helps the competitiveness and development of Hungarian higher education institutions. In the context of the internationalization of Hungarian higher education, the Tempus Public Foundation, a key player in the process, held a special meeting of its Board of Trustees at Széchenyi István University, which, thanks to the scholarship programme run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has students from 70 countries around the world.

Prof Dr Ferenc Friedler, Rector and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Széchenyi István University, welcomed the participants on behalf of the host.

Participants of the Tempus Public Foundation's external meeting of the Board of Trustees

(Photo: Csaba József Májer) 

Széchenyi István University has been participating in the Stipendium Hungaricum programme since 2013, when it provided study opportunities for three young people from one country. Currently, the institution has nearly 400 Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship students from 52 partner countries. The growing number of international students on scholarships at their own expense is 90 per cent from Stipendium Hungaricum partner countries. 

In parallel, the number of English-taught programmes has also grown dynamically, from five six years ago to 37 today. The figures also show that the scholarship scheme is making a significant contribution to the increase in the number of self-financed students coming to our country, making it an important tool for the internationalization of higher education as a whole.  

Dr Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education, spoke about the internationalization of Hungarian higher education. He said that the EU's position on Hungarian universities, while Hungary is seeking to reach an agreement, employs double standards, is discriminatory, an obstacle to internationalization and a competitive disadvantage.

"The Tempus Public Foundation will have an even bigger task in the future. We need to take even stronger action to ensure that Hungarian students and doctoral candidates have the appropriate internationalization background," he said. The State Secretary asked for the cooperation of the public foundation in three areas. One is Erasmus+, a programme from which no student, teacher or researcher should be excluded due to a lack of resources.

The second topic was the system of other international and intergovernmental scholarships. "Here, we need to start thinking about how the different programmes can reinforce each other even more, and how we can focus the educational areas in a way that serves the future of the Hungarian economy and society. We need to enable students coming to us to plan their future in Hungary in the longer term after graduation," said Dr Hankó. As a third point, he mentioned the diaspora programme, which offers further opportunities for strengthening Hungarian-Hungarian relations, the internationalisation strategy and the further expansion of higher education cooperation.

Balázs Hankó, State Secretary for Innovation and Higher Education (Photo: Csaba József Májer) 

Miklós Lengyel, Deputy State Secretary for Education, Scholarships and Science Diplomacy, also presented the first decade of Stipendium Hungaricum in detail.

"Ten years ago, we set the bar high, but perhaps we did not expect it to become such a large-scale and high-quality programme in such a short time. In 2013, we had only three partners and seventy students; today, we have more than ninety-five partners and nearly twelve thousand students. Twenty-nine national institutions are participants, fourteen thousand scholarship students have graduated and around eight thousand have joined the alumni programme. Since 2013, the number programmes taught in a foreign language has increased from 263 to almost a thousand," he said, giving a sense of the magnitude of the development.

The Deputy State Secretary said that Stipendium Hungaricum has become an international brand, a kind of Hungaricum.

"It is a value which - in addition to strengthening Hungary's ability to assert its interests in foreign policy and foreign trade and the competitiveness of Hungarian higher education - also contributes significantly to shaping a positive image of Hungary. And the war proved that it also has humanitarian significance, as we welcomed hundreds of Ukrainian and third-country students," he underlined. Looking to the future, he said the focus in the coming period should be on further strengthening quality.

Deputy State Secretary for Education, Scholarships and Science Diplomacy Miklós Lengyel (photo by Csaba József Májer)

Dr Károly Czibere, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Tempus Public Foundation, underlined that the success of Stipendium Hungaricum is largely due to the exemplary cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He said that the programme is of paramount importance for improving the country's image and deepening bilateral relations with the participating countries. "We will strive to support the integration of new practices and innovations into the programme to make it even more relevant to the expectations of students, universities and the Ministry," he added.

At the event, Éva Lang-Péli, Deputy General Manager of Rába Járműipari Holding Nyrt., Győr, reported on the experiences of international students in the context of their internships. Dr Eszter Lukács, Vice President for International Affairs and Strategic Relations at Széchenyi István University, Dr Tamás Bene, Director of International and Public Relations at the University of Szeged, Dr Marcel Pop, Director of International Relations at Semmelweis University in Budapest and Ms Katalin Tayler-Tóth, Head of the International Student Services Office at Eszterházy Károly Catholic University in Eger, discussed the experiences of the programme in a round table.

At the end of the event, two Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship students from Széchenyi István University reported on their experiences in Hungary. Marcos Seraponzo, a Master of Marketing student from Angola, said that the institution holds a special place in his heart because it has given him not only training and knowledge, but also unforgettable experiences and opportunities. He highlighted the excellent professors, the modern infrastructure and the supportive community. Md Abdullah Al Mamun, from Bangladesh, who graduated with a Master's degree in Supply Chain Management in January, said that the University of Győr has become his second family. He emphasised the helpfulness of the lecturers and the staff, which has helped him to make a lot of progress and has led to his publication appearing in a prestigious academic journal.


Marcos Seraponzo from Angola and Md Abdullah Al Mamun from Bangladesh have found a second home at Széchenyi István University (Photos: Csaba József Májer)

Participants of the Board of Trustees meeting of the Tempus Public Foundation with Széchenyi István University Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship holders. (Photo: Csaba Májer József Májer)

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