Embassy of the United States of America
March 28, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ambassador Pressman Travels to Szeged
Continuing his commitment to engage with Hungarians across the country, Ambassador David Pressman traveled to Szeged on March 28. Mayor László Botka welcomed the Ambassador to City Hall, where the two discussed the important economic and cultural connections between the United States and the people of Szeged. They discussed their shared commitment to continuing to strengthen the relationship between the Hungarian people and the United States.
The Ambassador enthusiastically met students, teachers, and administrators at Deák Ferenc Bilingual High School. He answered the students’ insightful questions about the U.S.-Hungary bilateral relationship, his role as the President’s representative in Hungary, the Russia-Ukraine war, and Hungary’s on-going economic challenges. The Ambassador told student reporters from iDeák, the school’s online newspaper: “My favorite part of traveling outside the capital is always visiting Hungarian students and young people. Their honesty about the challenges we face and optimism about the way forward make me hopeful for the future of this unique country.”
The Ambassador also visited Motiváció Műhely, a local organization supporting the social integration of disadvantaged young people. The Ambassador told the center’s leadership: “It is heartening that the people of Szeged are committed to supporting their community through an impressive initiative like Motiváció Műhely. The United States supports your goal to ensure all Hungarians have access to the same opportunities regardless of their identity or economic situation.”
The Ambassador then visited the University of Szeged, where he was welcomed by the rector and chancellor. In a discussion with students, the Ambassador discussed the shift of public universities to “public-private foundations,” the impact of Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and the student’s views about the European Union’s decision to withhold funds due to concerns about academic freedom and rule of law in Hungary. Throughout the visit, Embassy officials shared information about the U.S. government’s partnership with the university and mayor’s office in hosting the American Corner in Szeged, which offers free resources and programs for the public about American culture and educational opportunities. The university’s English and American Studies Department also hosts a visiting American teacher through the Department of State’s English Language Fellow Program, a worldwide initiative designed to support English-language learning.
During his visit to the Szeged Synagogue – the second largest synagogue in Hungary and the fourth largest in the world – the Ambassador discussed the history of the Jewish community in Szeged with community leaders.
He also visited the Szeged Contemporary Dance Company, where he met the company’s Hungarian and international dancers and discussed the importance of the arts to Hungarian cultural identity with the company’s artistic leadership. Finally, Ambassador Pressman met with a representative of Szeged’s leading LGBTQI+ rights organization to discuss human rights challenges confronting the LGBTQI+ community.
At the conclusion of his visit, the Ambassador said: “Today was my first visit to Szeged, but it will not be my last. This is a beautiful city with a rich culture. In moments like these, when there is so much at stake for Hungary and for the U.S.-Hungary relationship, it is important to hear from and engage with Hungarians across this extraordinary country.”
Ambassador Pressman invited Budapest-based journalists to accompany him on his visit, in addition to engaging with Szeged-based media outlets. For additional information and media inquiries, please contact the U.S. Embassy press office at PressBDP@state.gov. Ambassador Pressman may be followed on Twitter: @USAmbHungary.