Remarks at the Semester Closing Event of the Aquincum Institute of Technology

Hello everybody, good afternoon.  I am so delighted to be here at the end-of-semester ceremony – I certainly feel and share all of your excitement today, you should feel so proud of what you have accomplished.  First of all, I extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Bojár for his invitation to visit Graphisoft Park and to the campus of Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT).  His vision, courage, talent and hard work as AIT’s leader have built your school community into what it is today.  It is also a great honor for me to be among the distinguished guests here to honor your achievements – Deputy Mayor Bagdy, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Mr. Lovász, and the inventor of the famous cube, Mr. Rubik.

As the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, it is a great privilege to work to foster Hungarian-American educational ties.  I’m very happy to see so many American students who have traveled so far to come here to Hungary, my new home.  In fact, AIT is the leading Hungarian school for attracting American students.  I’m impressed by what I’ve seen at AIT and, in particular, I applaud your strong English language computer science and engineering programs, which draws American students majoring in computer science, software engineering and related disciplines who come to this very unique setting to learn the skills necessary for a successful 21st century career, studying alongside their Hungarian counterparts.

While in an academic environment, it must be incredibly inspiring to all of you to be surrounded by tech leaders like Microsoft and Graphisoft, a true Hungarian success story:  founded 33 years ago, Graphisoft has grown to be one of the largest Hungarian software firms in the U.S. market.

One of the major reasons why students, whether Hungarian or American, embark on study abroad programs is because of their desire and willingness to immerse themselves in a foreign culture.  Here at the AIT campus, not only do U.S. students receive the chance to get to know Hungary’s language and culture through their Hungarian peers, but the campus itself is an inspiring blend of modern and timeless architecture and landscape.  For instance, this auditorium, resembling an amphitheater in the old Roman city of Aquincum:  one feels the centuries of Hungarian history just right here!

I believe your program at AIT echoes what we are working toward at the Department of State – highlighting the importance of international, people-to-people exchanges which will certainly, and I truly believe, create a more secure, democratic and prosperous world.  These exchanges that you’ve all had here enhance mutual understanding, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.  The key here is to bridge the gaps between academia and business, and this is exactly what AIT does so well: it brings international students together to study, to brainstorm, to network in order to establish future cooperation between American and Hungarian high tech firms.

Today I’m here to congratulate all of you on completing this study abroad program.  You made a great choice: with IT expertise and a unique international experience, you are off to a great start in your professional lives. Upon your return to the United States, please be sure to spread the word about this unique program and encourage your peers back home to apply to study abroad, too, maybe even to Hungary. I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors, both professionally and personally. Köszönöm szépen and I thank you all so much. Congratulations!