During the presidential gala dinner held on Thursday evening at the Almásy Castle in Gyula, President Katalin Novák emphasized the various novelties that her visit to Békés County brought.
President Novák mentioned that it was in Békés that, for the first time as part of a county visit, she hosted a foreign head of state outside Budapest. The Moldovan Prime Minister, Dorin Recean, was received at Gyula Castle during his visit to Hungary. She shared with the attendees that initially, the Moldovan Prime Minister was surprised by the proposal, and looking at the map, he thought Gyula was too far from Budapest. However, he accepted the invitation, and in the end, he greatly enjoyed the city and the opportunity for the head of state to perform duties from various parts of the country, even if only for a few days. President Novák stated that
one of her goals at her inauguration was to bring the periphery into focus.
This takes on a special meaning in a place that was once the centre of historical Hungary and has now become, in geographical terms, the periphery of the country. But, she remarked: ‘In these days, we managed to draw attention to Békés County.’
Reflecting on her nearly two-year presidency, she acknowledged that she did not anticipate that a war would cast a shadow over a significant part of her term. She realized the importance of diplomacy in her work, emphasizing the need to maintain and strengthen relationships with neighbouring countries and allies worldwide. Novák stressed the significance of being able to communicate with anyone who can offer mutual respect to the Hungarian people. Understanding and communicating Hungarian interests behind decisions became crucial. She highlighted the importance of the alliances Hungary is part of and being a good ally within these frameworks where Hungarian interests can be represented. She reaffirmed her commitment to realizing the unity of the nation, as outlined in the Fundamental Law, by strengthening Hungarian communities in their Hungarian identity and national solidarity. She shared that during her visit to Békés, she focused on five areas: families, talents, protecting the created world, the situation of women, and supporting the disadvantaged.
She emphasized the importance of family and children in every encounter.
In Gyula, Ferenc Erkel’s birthplace, she met young talents participating in an impromptu ‘mini virtuoso competition.’
At the Csabagyöngye Cultural Centre, she engaged with contemporary artists.
President Novák called attention to the need to appreciate the beauty of the created world, referring to the Hungarian plain with its farms as something familiar and homey, recalling her origins in Szeged. She acknowledged the role of women leaders in Békés County, whether at the helm of a settlement or an institution, in strengthening communities. She recalled her participation in making doughnuts for charity with women leaders in Békéscsaba.
Novák also expressed her commitment to focusing on disadvantaged individuals, mentioning her visit to the Okány study hall. She was pleased to witness the assistance provided by Békés County residents, such as the Lutheran Ótemplom (Old Church) Charity Service in Szarvas, to those in need.
She noted the active sports life in the county and, on Thursday, signed a presidential resolution declaring 2024 as the Year of Movement. She encouraged Hungarians to engage in physical activity and sports.
During her visit in the south-eastern Hungary, in addition to sports, she also participated in cultural programmes, attending a performance at the Gyula Castle Theatre shortly after her arrival.
At the gala dinner President Novák presented, for the first time, the Presidential Order of Merit she established. The first recipient was Mihály Czirok, director of the Erkel Ferenc Primary Art School in Gyula. He received the honour for his work in Gyula’s musical education and preserving Hungarian musical culture.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/Sándor Palace/MTI