VIKTOR ORBÁN (Alcsútdoboz, 1963), Prime Minister of Hungary in 1998–2002 and since May 2010; graduated in Law at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, in 1987. In 1983, as a student he was a founding member of Bibó College, a circle for the study of democratic politics. A year later, with his fellow students, he created Századvég, a journal of social sciences, and became one of its editors. In 1989–1990, he studied the history of British liberal political philosophy in Pembroke College, Oxford. In 1988 he was one of the founders of Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats), one of the decisive parties of the Democratic opposition to the Communist system and one of the engines of the peaceful revolution of 1988–1990. In summer 1989 he had a major role at the national Round Table Talks on Hungary’s peaceful transition to democracy, and he gave a famous speech at the reburial of the martyrs of 1956 on Heroes Square in Budapest, on 16 June 1989. In the mid-nineties, several liberal figureheads left Fidesz as the party became a national centre right force with Orbán at the helm, and has remained so to this day. Orbán, a committed democrat, is a charismatic orator and a powerful political strategist.
MIKLÓS BAKK (Székelyhíd/Săcuieni, 1952) is a Transylvanian-Hungarian political scientist, journalist and university professor. He graduated from the Technical University of Temesvár/Timișoara, Romania in 1976. He received his PhD in Philosophy from the Babeș-Bolyai University in 2006. He worked at various magazines (A Hét [The Week], Krónika [Chronicle]) as an editor between 1991 and 2001. He has been an associate professor at the Political Science Department of the Babeș-Bolyai University since 2008 and of the Sapientia Transylvanian-Hungarian University since 2016. His main research areas are political theory, regionalism, and minorities. Professor Bakk is the author of several books and essays in Hungarian and Romanian on the topics of political ideologies, geopolitics and political discourse; notably Politikai közösség és identitás [Political Community and Identity] (Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca, 2008).
MIKLÓS BÁNFFY (30 December 1873 – June 6 1950) was a Hungarian nobleman, politician, and novelist. His books include The Transylvanian Trilogy (They Were Counted, They Were Found Wanting and They Were Divided). Beginning his political career at the time when Hungary was a constituent of Austria–Hungary, Bánffy was elected a Member of Parliament in 1901 and became Director of the Hungarian State Theatres (1913–1918). Both a traditionalist and a member of the avant-garde, he wrote five plays, two books of short stories, and a distinguished novel. Overcoming fierce opposition, his intervention made it possible for Béla Bartók’s works to have their first performance in Budapest. Bánffy became Foreign Minister of Hungary in István Bethlen’s government of 1921. His trilogy, A Transylvanian Tale, also called The Writing on the Wall, was published between 1934 and 1940. Bánffy portrayed pre-war Hungary as a nation in decline, failed by a shortsighted aristocracy. The communist regime in Hungary permitted the reissue of A Transylvanian Tale in 1982, and it was translated into English for the first time in 1999.
ISTVÁN DÁRDAY (Budapest, 1940), film director, producer and screen writer. His most significant films and documentaries are Jutalomutazás [Holiday in Britain], Filmregény [Movie novel], Harcmodor [Tactics], Átváltozás[Metamorphosis], Nyugatról keletre – avagy a média diszkrét bája [From West to East – Or the Discreet Charm of the Media], Az emigráns [The Émigré], Fogadalomtétel [Solemn Promise], Dokumentátor [The Documentator]. István Dárday is the founding member of the Budapest School and the Társulás Film Studio. He is the recipient of various prizes, such as the Kossuth Prize and the Béla Balázs Prize and numerous film awards, such as the European Film Academy Critics Award – Prix Fipresci and the Oberhausen Award. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts.
GÉZA ANTAL ENTZ (Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca, 1949) Hungarian art historian and politician. He is a specialist of architectural history, and has been coordinating and working on the complete topographic catalogue of historical monuments in Hungary. He is also an expert on the historical culture of Hungarians in Transylvania (Romania) and the Uplands (Slovakia). In 1990–94 he was State Secretary for the Affairs of Hungarians beyond the Borders. In 1998–2002 he became Head of the Office for the Protection of National Heritage, and later a Deputy State Secretary of Culture.
MARCEL FERENCZ, DLA, (Miskolc, 1970). He studied at the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Budapest (TUB), graduated in 1997 and was awarded the Diploma Prize of the Faculty of Architecture, TUB for his diploma project. In 2007 he obtained his MA and DLA degrees at TUB. He has been a member of NAPUR Architect Office since 1993. His projects have been exhibited at several national and international venues. Between 2007 and 2010 he was the senior lecturer for the Department of Architecture at the University of Debrecen. His “Hunnish Bath” design was displayed on a separate board in 2002, at the 8th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. Marcel Ferencz was awarded the Pro Architectura Prize in 2009 for the same building. Since 2012 he has been a member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts. In 2013 he received the prestigious Ybl Miklós Award. At present he is a professor at the Ybl Miklós Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering of Szent István University.
ANDRÁS HAJDÚ (1989), political scientist, specialist in radical right and political leadership. He received his MA in Political Science in 2012 from Corvinus University, Budapest. At present, András Hajdú is a PhD candidate of the Institute for Political Science at Corvinus University, Budapest.
Prof. MIKLÓS KÁSLER (Budapest, 1950), doctor, oncologist, surgeon, professor and minister. Professor Kásler is the author of numerous books and essays (altogether 455) in the field of medicine, history, social science and religious history. He received his degree in medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Szeged, in 1974. He took board examinations in surgery, oral surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, as well as oncology. He became a clinical doctor of the University of Szeged Faculty of Medicine’s Surgical Clinic in 1974 and chief medical doctor in 1981. He became Minister of Human Capacities in 2018. Professor Kásler participated in various international field studies and scholarship programmes at the Universities of Helsinki, Greifswald, Erlangen-Nürnberg, and Vienna. He received his C.Sc. in 1986. From 1998 to 2002 he was the Head of the Faculty of Medicine at the Imre Haynal Medical University. Between 2002 and 2004 and from 2014 he has been a Professor and Head of the Faculty of Medicine at the Semmelweis University and University of Pécs Medical School. Professor Kásler is an honorary doctor of two universities. He is a board member of various national and international scientific and medical organisations including the European Academy of Sciences and the Arts and College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Besides numerous professional and state honours, he received Hungary’s Middle Cross with the Star in 2015 and the Széchenyi Award in 2018. Professor Kásler is an honorary citizen of Budapest.
GYULA KODOLÁNYI (Budapest, 1942), Editor-in-Chief of Hungarian Review is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, scholarly and literary essays and poetry translations. He taught English and American Literature at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in 1970–1989. He received research and teaching fellowships from the British Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, CIES and The German Marshall Fund of the US. He taught at the University of California in Santa Barbara (1984–1985) and at Emory University in Atlanta (2004–2009), and read his poetry in English widely in the US. In 1987, he was a founding member of the Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF). In 1990–1994, he served as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. In 2000–2005 he was an Advisor to President Ferenc Mádl. In 2012, he received Hungary’s Middle Cross with the Star and in 2005 the President’s Medal of Honour for his public and literary achievements. With Magyar Szemle, he received a Prima Prize in 2003. In 2015, he was Prima Primissima Prize winner in literature.
DANIEL J. MAHONEY holds the Augustine Chair in Distinguished Scholarship in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, where he has taught since 1986. His most recent books are The Conservative Foundations of the Liberal Order: Defending Democracy Against Its Modern Enemies and Immoderate Friends (2011) and The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker (2014). His most recent book is entitled The Humanitarian Subversion of Christianity: Why the Christian Religion is Not the Religion of Humanity published by Encounter Books in 2018.
Prof. JÁNOS MARTONYI (Kolozsvár/Cluj 1944) university professor (University of Szeged; ELTE University, Budapest; College of Europe, Bruges and Natolin; Central European University, Budapest), politician, attorney, international arbitrator, author of numerous books, essays and articles primarily in the field of international trade law, competition policy and law, European integration and law, cooperation in Central Europe, global regulations and international relations. Commissioner for privatisation in 1989–1990; State Secretary in the Ministry of International Economic Relations in 1990–1991, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1991–1994, managing partner at the law firm Martonyi and Kajtár, Baker & McKenzie, Budapest in 1994– 1998 and 2002–2009, Head of the Institute for Private International Law and International Trade Law at the University of Szeged in 1999–2009, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Hungary in 1998– 2002 and 2010–2014. Awards: the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, the Hungarian American Coalition 2016 Award, the Széchenyi Prize, the Hungarian Corvin Chain, the Antall József Award, the Legion of Honour of France, the National Order of Merit of France and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, as well as British, Austrian, Polish and Bulgarian state decorations.
NICHOLAS T. PARSONS is a freelance author, translator and editor based in Vienna. A graduate of New College, Oxford he spent two years in Italy teaching at the British Institute of Florence and as Reader in English at the University of Pisa before returning to the UK to work in publishing for ten years in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 he settled in Central Europe with his Hungarian wife, the art historian Ilona Sármány, and has since published some 17 books on cultural topics, writing also as Louis James. These include the Blue Guide Austria and the Blue Guide Vienna as well as the first English guide to Hungary to be published following the “system change” of 1989. His essay-length Xenophobe’s Guide to the Austrians (Louis James) has been in print for 20 years. His recent books are Worth the Detour: A Cultural History of the Guidebook from Pausanias to the Rough Guide, and Vienna: A Cultural and Literary History (Signal Books/Oxford University Press). His latest work is A New Devil’s Dictionary: Lexicon for Contrarians, a reformulation for our times of Ambrose Bierce’s satirical take on disingenuous language.
DAVID A. J. REYNOLDS is a freelance writer and editor from England, specializing in history and current affairs. He has lived and taught in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Philadelphia, and presently resides in Illinois.
Prof. NORMAN STONE (Glasgow, 1941 – Budapest, 2019) was a British historian, former student then lecturer at the University of Cambridge, professor of History at the University of Oxford, and was a professor of International Relations at the University of Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey. He was also an advisor and speech writer to the British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and is the author of many books on 20th-century history, including The Eastern Front 1914–17 (1975), Hitler (1980), Europe Transformed, 1878–1919 (1983), The Other Russia (1990), and The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A Personal History of the Cold War (2010). His last book, Hungary: A Short History, was published at the beginning of 2019.
JOHN O’SULLIVAN (Liverpool, 1942) is editor-at-large of National Review in New York where he served as Editor-in-Chief for ten years. He was a Special Advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street and later assisted her in the writing of her two volumes of memoirs. He has held a wide variety of senior editorial positions in the media on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the founder and co-chairman of the Atlantic Initiative, an international bipartisan organisation dedicated to reinvigorating and expanding the Atlantic community of democracies, launched at the Congress of Prague in May 1996 by President Vaclav Havel and Lady Thatcher. His book, The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister (on Pope John Paul II, President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher), was published in Hungarian, too, in 2010. Until 2011, he was the Executive Editor of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague. Currently he is the President of the Danube Institute, Budapest.