Foundation for a Civic Hungary (Polgári Magyarországért Alapítvány, PMA)
'In June 2003, with the agreement of the parliamentary parties, the Parliament of the Republic of Hungary enabled the parties to create foundations subsidised from budgetary resources. At the time, György Matolcsy, our founding president and a former Economy Minister, felt that the most important aim of the PMA was to support the so-called 'civic communities' and increase their strength. This goal has remained unchanged since.
We believe that the aim of public life and politics – despite all appearances and bad experiences – must be to promote the individual and communal welfare and moral responsibility of all members of the national community, the development of their capabilities and the living of a life that corresponds to their identities. Public life and politics can create a framework for all these things and help them along but, in the end, this 'wealth' can only come about as the result of the efforts made by free men and free communities themselves.
Our foundation is conscious of the responsibility that comes with a pioneering role. As the very first institution of this kind in the new civic democracy created in Hungary in 1990, we do our best to be as close to proactive, constructive and responsible citizens and their communities as possible while managing the taxpayers’ money with responsibility and keeping to our stated objectives.
Five years have passed since our founding, and we can now see the limits of our possibilities more clearly. The renewal of multi-party democracy, barely twenty years old in Hungary, is a task that still awaits us. However, we believe that, either despite bad governance or in harmony with good governmental initiatives, we can, in our position, keep the effort to ameliorate public life on both the local and national levels alive in Hungary's citizens - or, if necessary, awaken this effort and support it.'
Zoltán Balog, president
THE ADVISORY BOARD OF THE PMA
Pictured (from left to right): Zoltán Balog, member of Parliament, president of the committee for human rights and minority, civil and religious affairs, president of the PMA advisory board; Ildikó Borbély Bíró, member of Parliament, member of the PMA advisory board; Dr. Györgyi Lengyel, director of the PMA; Dr. László Kövér, member of Parliament, president of the National Committee of Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union, member of the PMA advisory board.
The aims of the Foundation for a Civic Hungary include:
- the development of a political culture in the spirit of national commitment and Christian Democracy
- organising scientific research for Hungarians both within Hungary and in the neighbouring countries
- educational and instructional activities (organising public life training as a registered institution offering adult training and education opportunities)
- the scientific examination of professional politics, as well as working out new methods and policies for the improvement of the quality and efficiency of political activities
- supporting the (civic) self-organisation of citizens
- fostering talent
CONFIDENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY
'Political culture is usually understood to mean how elected politicians conduct themselves. However, the behaviour of politicians is nothing more than a question of education, style and general human culture. In my opinion, the quintessence of political culture is whether we can govern well and wisely, and whether the parliamentary opposition works in accordance with the refined system of parliamentary democracy.
Political culture is that of a country – of democracy as a whole. Thus, the question is whether citizens feel that they are also responsible for all the decisions made, since (unless they aim for a higher level of participation in public life) they take responsibility for all decisions made by the country, the parliament, the government, the nation with their single vote. When this feeling and conviction takes shape and we act this way as a political nation, then we can talk about political culture.'
Viktor Orbán, president of Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union
ACTIVITIES OF THE FOUNDATION FOR A CIVIC HUNGARY
Conferences are organised on the subjects of demography, national strategy, economic strategy, the situation of families, commonwealth and solidarity, human and minority rights, the functions of civic organisations, the European Union and quality of life. Research on these subjects is also supported by the foundation.
The foundation publishes monographs on the history of political parties, local government studies, sociological studies and economic analyses.
For civic organisations and professional workshops:
- educational events, programmes and projects that strengthen political culture
- research on social science, economic policy, sociology, etc.
- educational and training programmes
- supporting the publication of books, other publications, local newsletters and newspapers
- political-historical research covering the years before and after the fall of Communism in Hungary
- placing memorial tablets of local importance
Meeting of the Civic Salons in Kötcse
Participants include scientists, artists, economic leaders, religious figures and politicians of national commitment.
Subject: the current situation in public life and the condition of the nation.
Venue and date: Kötcse, Dobozy Manor – each September since 2004.
Academy of Public Life
The Adult Training Accrediting Board of the National Vocational Education and Adult Training Institution passed a resolution in September 2007 accrediting the Foundation for a Civic Hungary as an adult training institution. (For further information, please consult our publication on our training programmes.)
Business breakfasts and informal meetings are organised with the participation of representatives of the public, cultural and economic life of the given six language territories resident in Hungary (Budapest Atlantic Forum, Budapest Francophone Forum, Budapest Japanese Forum, Budapest Italian Forum, German Club Budapest and Russian Club Budapest).
Professional and public life workshops
CIVIC REVIEW FOUNDATION: its aim is the development of economic and political science frames of reference in the spirit of national commitment. This organisation publishes the monthly journal Civic Review. It is legally independent of the PMA.
CIVIL CONCILIATORY FORUM: its function is to strengthen civil society, mediate civic interests and support different levels and stages of civic education and training courses. It is legally independent of the PMA.
ECCLESIASTICAL CONCILIATORY FORUM: this consists of representatives and individuals from ecclesiastical and public life. Its function is to make professional proposals that promote the work of the Church within and beyond Hungary's borders.
NATIONAL ARTISTIC SALON: the members of this workshop are recognised professionals in the fields of literature, architecture, fine art, music and theatre who attend monthly debates with politicians on the shared tasks and possibilities of Hungarian culture.
FOUNDATION FOR A CIVIC CULTURE (registration in progress in April 2009): its aims include the diminishing of socio-cultural disadvantages both in and outside of Hungary, preserving and promoting national customs and cultural values, organising research, educational and instructional activities, and publishing studies and specialised textbooks.
INTERN PROGRAMME: Each year, 10 to 15 university students acquire expertise through a three-month period within the framework of the PMA and take part in community building.
AWARD FOR A CIVIC HUNGARY: this recognises a life of civic service and is given for work that strengthens and creates communities. Recipients: 2005 - Dalma Mádl; 2006 – the creators of the House of Terror Museum: Mária Schmidt, Attila F. Kovács and Ákos Kovács; 2007 – human rights defenders Ilona Ékes and Tamás Gaudi-Nagy; 2008 – researchers Mária Kopp and Árpád Skrabski.
YOUTH FOR A CIVIC HUNGARY AWARD: this is the juvenile version of the above honour, given to persons or groups under 35. Recipients: 2006 - the neurobiology research group at the University of Szeged, led by Gábor Tamás, shared this award with the editorial office of UFI (Utolsó Figyelmeztetés, Last Call); 2007 - the shared award went to the In Europe’s Heart Foundation and to 'Déva motorcyclist' János Bujdosó (who helped organise Hungarian motorcyclists to raise money for the Hungarian orphanage of Déva, Romania); 2008 - Hedvig Malina and the Kruchina brothers shared this award for their civic courage; 2009 – religion teacher Ferenc Várda received the award for his work among gypsies.
ARTS AWARD: awarded to three young artists every year on the recommendation of the National Arts Salon.
The Berlin-based Konrad Adenauer Foundation and its Budapest office (www.kas.de) are the PMA's main collaborators. Other partners include the official foundation of the European People’s Party, the Brussels-based Centre for European Studies (www.thinkingineurope.eu) and the István Barankovics Foundation (www.barankovics.hu). We also have professional ties with the foundations of the other political parties and parliamentary factions.
(ASSOCIATION) FOUNDATION FOR A CIVIC HUNGARY
President of the Foundation's advisory board: Zoltán Balog
Members of the advisory board: László Kövér, Ildikó Borbély Bíró
Director of the Foundation: Györgyi Lengyel
Director of foreign affairs: Judit Hammerstein
Head of the secretariat: Krisztina Bathelt
Training officer: Anikó Juhász
Seat of the Foundation: Lendvay utca 28, in Budapest's 6th District
Postal address: 1406 Budapest, Pf. 58, HUNGARY
Telephone: +36/1-391-4880, Fax: +36/1-391-4889