The Catholic University of America President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick met the Ambassador of Hungary to the United States Szabolcs Takács on Wednesday to discuss possibilities for international educational collaboration. The meeting occurred just days before Pope Francis traveled to Hungary for a three-day visit.
“The whole country is excited,” said Ambassador Takács of the Pope’s apostolic journey to Hungary during a roundtable discussion with University administration and faculty. The ambassador’s visit was part of a larger tour of the U.S. that he said has included several higher educational institutions, such as the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University.
Dr. Kilpatrick’s efforts to build such international connections precede his appointment as president. President Kilpatrick holds a doctorate in chemical engineering and was granted an honorary doctorate in 2013 from PPKE, which is the Hungarian counterpart to The Catholic University of America.
Dr. Kilpatrick said he and his colleagues at Catholic University see “many opportunities to engage with the universities in Hungary with student exchanges, joint research, cultural exchange … and collaboration on many issues.”
“As we are one Church and one community worldwide, I think it makes great sense to forge closer and closer ties with those countries and universities with whom we align our values so closely,” he said.
During the meeting, Hungary’s education secretary Balázs Hankó noted that the Pope’s last scheduled public engagement is an address at PPKE on the topic of science and faith.
Aaron Dominguez, University provost, spoke to the delegation about his commitment to Catholic University’s mission to advance the dialogue between faith and reason. He said the institution’s “unique strength and gift to give to the world” includes building collaborative international educational partnerships.
Vice Provost for Global Connections for Global Strategies Duilia de Mello told the ambassador that the University has formal relationships with dozens of universities around the world that have fostered an international community of scholars.
Provost Dominguez said after the day's events that he is thankful for the delegation's visit because "it is important that they and the world know the closeness of our two peoples, our countries, and those who share the faith. This is evidenced also by the closeness of the Holy Father and his visit to Hungary.”
“I look forward to this continued brotherhood and cooperation academically at The Catholic University of America," said Provost Dominguez.
University alumnus and former lecturer Max Teleki came to the meeting directly from Capitol Hill, where he was advocating for legislative action to condemn Russian mercenary activities in Ukraine. He is a board member of the Hungarian American Coalition, which has donated funds for medical care of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.
“This meeting was meaningful not only because I have a personal and professional connection to CUA, but also because of the work I do in Central and Eastern Europe,” said Teleki. “I appreciated being included and hearing about how CUA hopes to build a formal working relationship with universities in Hungary.”