The Antall József Knowledge Centre (AJKC) in Hungary, during its ten years of existence, has introduced a variety of events targeting Hungarian students enrolled in higher education, as well as domestic and international professional audiences. The Knowledge Centre is named after József Antall (1932–1993), a Hungarian teacher, educator, librarian, historian, and statesman, who served as the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Hungary after the fall of communism (from 23 May 1990 to his death on 12 December 1993).
The Knowledge Centre’s main objectives, in line with the Antall philosophy, are talent management and providing students and young professionals with wide-ranging practical knowledge through various events. The Knowledge Centre is a Budapest-based think tank researching topics of national, regional, and international relevance such as the Visegrad Cooperation, the future global role of the US, China, and the Middle East, security policy, sustainable development, as well as technological and social innovation.
Our institution is structured into three international departments—dealing with the EU and the V4, the USA, and Asia and Africa—three thematic departments—focusing on security policy, sustainable development, and talent management—two regional offices in Pécs and Győr, as well as the Brussels Office, all of which are working toward strengthening institutional relations both at the national and international level, developing scholarship and internship programmes, and boosting professional cooperation via international conferences, workshops, and event series.
The publishing activities of AJKC involve releasing professional publications, scientific works on political and social sciences (with special regard to security policy and international relations), as well as university textbooks. In our autobiographical series, prominent personalities of the Cold War period, including Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, and Helmut Kohl recount crucial years and decisions still affecting their lives. Reacting to events of political, social, and economic significance in the 21st century, the professional publications series of the Knowledge Centre is made up of works incorporating the latest results of international relations and geopolitics, the history of politics, economics, and psychology.
The Brussels Office of Antall József Knowledge Centre represent the political, economic, and cultural philosophy of József Antall, Hungary’s first democratically-elected Prime Minister after the fall of Communism. The Office is dedicated to following in the footsteps of Prime Minister Antall, whose vision of Hungary and its place in Europe made him a remarkable statesman. He was not only the initiator of the Visegrad Cooperation but he started the EU accession talks as soon as Hungary regained its full sovereignty. With his visit to the NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 18 July 1990, he paved the way for Hungary’s full membership in NATO, while, on 16 December 1991, he signed the Association Agreement of the European Communities.
The aim of the Brussels Office is to preserve this pro-European and pro-Transatlantic legacy, as well as his belief in participatory democracy and freedom, while also emphasising the importance of learning the lessons of history and promoting future progress.
The establishment of the Brussels Office enables the Knowledge Centre to transcend regional boundaries and represent the legacy and values of Prime Minister Antall on a European level. Therefore, our objectives include analysing the political-economic-social agenda of the EU, connecting Hungarian opinion leaders with their international counterparts, organising events, and engaging established experts and young people in an intercultural dialogue.
A long-term goal of the Antall József Knowledge Centre is to promote the legacy of its namesake and the institution’s values not only in Budapest, but in other Hungarian university towns as well. The first regional office was opened in Pécs in July 2013. Given the fact that the University of Pécs is the oldest and one of the largest institutions of higher education in the country, it is a location most suitable for the events and talent management activities of the Knowledge Centre. Our institution endeavours to make the scientific and community life of the university more diverse through the organisation of joint projects, as well as to give a chance to as many university students in Pécs as possible to gain work experience via the internship opportunities on offer.
The Pécs Office finds it of crucial importance to organise book launches for the most notable volumes released by the Knowledge Centre in Pécs as well. Therefore, the Pécs Office hosts at least one book launch per semester. Each semester, the Office returns with a new thematic event series, accompanied by a workshop—this way, no week passes without an AJKC event.
In the past six years, 144 speakers have delivered lectures at the approximately 81 events organised by the Pécs Office of the Knowledge Centre for an audience of around 5000 people. In 2014, Pécs hosted the following programme series: USA – Familiar but Unknown, Ten Years of Hungary in the European Union, Career Academy, and Diplomats’ Club, while in 2015 thematic events such as Foreign and Security Policy First-hand, BRIC(S) – From Laggers to Leaders, Getting to Know Dictatorships, and Ideologies in the Past 25 Years were offered to the audience. The 2016 programmes series of the Pécs Office included The Role of Hungary in International Organisations, Special Vocations, Hungarians in the World, and The 25 Years of the Visegrad Cooperation.
As a result of the cooperation agreement between Széchenyi István University and the Antall József Knowledge Centre, the Győr Office was opened in September 2016. The aims of the Office include enriching the scientific and community life of the university through the organisation of joint events and addressing locals interested in political and social sciences, as well as the representatives of the private sector via its programmes and projects. Internship programmes are also available in Győr, thereby providing students with the opportunity to acquaint themselves with and take part in the work of the Knowledge Centre. The Office is located in the INNO-Share building of the University (1 Egyetem Square).