Hungarian diaspora communities have shown an unquenchable desire to preserve their Hungarian identity, Árpád János Potápi, state secretary for Hungarian communities abroad, said at a meeting of Hungarian Weekend Schools in Budapest. Potápi said Hungary’s history was such that the nation was scattered all over the world. This process began in the 1850s and then continued to occur in waves. But this also means that “wherever a person may be when travelling the world, they are able to meet Hungarian people and count on their help”. He noted that since 2010, Hungarian politics has turned towards Hungarians of the diaspora with support. He said the number of diaspora Hungarians equals the number of Hungarians living in Hungary’s neighbouring countries. Despite elements of these nations having shown hostility to Hungarians, they have always preserved their identity and proudly borne it as ambassadors of Hungary, he added.
Péter Szilágyi, the ministerial commissioner for Hungarian communities abroad, outlined the programmes launched for diaspora Hungarians, noting that last year tenders for funding were opened. One was for the establishment of the Weekend Schools scheme, and this year 500 million forints (EUR 1.6m) is available for weekend schools and diaspora organisations, he said. The Kőrösi Csoma Sándor scholarship programme for young diaspora Hungarians will be under way in 2019 for the seventh time with six-month terms, he noted. He also mentioned the Mikes Kelemen programme as a part of which 300,000 books have been sent to Hungary in recent years while several exhibitions of repatriated items valuable to the nation have been mounted. Together with the Rákóczi Association, a camping programme is being run with the participation last year of 1,000 diaspora Hungarians, Szilágyi noted.