Witnessing Hungary’s Journey to Democracy

Q&A with Réka Szemerkényi, Ambassador of Hungary

For me, it set a really a high standard: That you don’t just sit around and expect others to fight for your values, but that you go and do it yourself.

And I wanted to work for my country. That has defined my career choice ever since — the desire to serve and the desire to help my community and country get back on track and get back into the values that we have always believed in.

Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi (left) with Viktor Orban (center), former prime minister of Hungary. Ambassador Szemerkényi served as State Secretary for Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Orban from 1998 to 2002.

I believe it is my mission to close the gap of understanding, to fight double standards, to get back on track, to understand each other better and to work together on issues of strategic interest.

Ambassador Szemerkényi presented her credentials to President Obama at the White House on February 23, 2015.

I very much believe that women, like anybody else, have to have the choice for themselves. If they want to focus on work, fine. If they want to focus on family, fine. If they want to focus on both work and family, that should be fine too. And that we have to be able to understand that it is a free choice and that all of these choices are of equal value.

One important thing is, I don’t know if it’s politically correct or not, but I keep thinking that your first career choice is your husband. Because your partner has to be with you.

Ambassador Szemerkényi and her youngest daughter at the ambassador’s residence in Washington DC.

But I do believe that for a woman to get to the same social prestige or acknowledgement, for some reason you still have to work harder.

First, you have to believe in your dreams. Develop very high dreams and very high goals, because that’s where it starts — when you set what you want to reach. We shouldn’t satisfy ourselves with mediocre things. The highest dream you have is the one that should lead you. And that’s very important.

We’re not here for the easy successes. We’re here for meeting the difficulties and solving them.

Delegation of the European Union to the United States

Writing from European Union staff on issues of interest to the EU in the United States, with occasional guest posts

Michele Bendall

Written by

Editor + Content @EUintheUS | California born, Portland raised | @BYU Alumna

Delegation of the European Union  to the United States

Writing from European Union staff on issues of interest to the EU in the United States, with occasional guest posts