Hungarian Ambassador explains the importance of diplomacy

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Katalin Bogyay, a Hungarian ambassador for the United Nations, spoke to Utah Valley University students and staff about multilateral and cultural diplomacy at the Center for Global and Intercultural Engagement and was awarded an Honorary Professorship.

During her speech Katalin spoke about her passion for diplomacy, ways we can all practice building relationships with people who come from different cultures, and encouraged the audience to become activists.

Katalin’s interest for diplomacy started at a young age. Katalin described her early childhood memories of Hungary during the Cold War. She recalled vivid memories of her parents telling her what not to say in public while Russia was in control of her beloved country. This communism era sparked her insert in diplomacy.

“[Diplomacy] is about having relationships with people all over the world… It is about building trust and understand other people’s culture.”

Katalin described the ideal acts of diplomacy. It’s all about learning from one another, finding solutions to problems and building relationships. In western culture we often only think of ourselves, Katalin said, but instead we must realize that other people have other cultures and think differently. “We must learn from each other” she said.

As an ambassador, she also explained what diplomacy means for the United Nations. One year ago, the United Nations got 190 countries to agree on a document that stated what the UN wanted the world to be like in 50 years. Katalin explained that the only way to get 190 world leaders to agree on one document, was through cultural diplomacy.

Not only did Katalin give advice on how to build relationships with people from different cultures, she also spoke about how every individual needs to be an activist in their own life.

“You all can be a dreamer, and an optimist. But you have to be an activist.”
Katalin recalled some of her most recent accomplishments. She described the time when she helped set up a culture institute in London and how she wanted to create a space for culture. Just last year, Katalin started a campaign against slavery called, “The Fight against Modern Slavery”. She is currently working with church leaders, ambassadors and world leaders to help end modern slavery.

As a Hungarian Ambassador, author, film writer and producer, pianist, former journalist, and a communication graduate from the University of Westminster, Katalin is not only a dreamer, but an activist.