2013, the year of building

Ms. Dilara Csillik, president of Hungarian AsiaSociety summarized and evaluated the year 2013.

What was the most important goal for you in the past year?
I was born and raised in Asia, now I am a Hungarian citizen and what is more, I have already represented Hungary as a diplomat. This is the reason why it is very important for me to convey a message to as many people as possible, the message that Asia is not very far from Hungary in the way of thinking and in the people’s soul. In Hungary people still consider Asia as the source of cheap mass production. We would like to change this picture and call the attention to their ancient culture, traditions and way of thinking.
Do you think Hungarians are receptive to this?
There are more and more people interested in Asia and we have quite a big fan club too. From classic literature to pop music we can feel the breakthrough everywhere. Bilateral relations with several Asian countries have also developed thanks to the government’s opening policy towards the East. This has created exciting opportunities for ASHU, which we are ready to make use of. We have also built good relations with the Korean Cultural Center in Budapest, have worked fruitfully together with embassies and civil organizations such as the International Women’s Club, and also helped realize events like the course called “We speak seven languages” that teaches Central-Asian Turkish languages. Our important partner seems to be Kazakhstantoo. Bilateral relations between the two countries have been flourishing and it is partly thanks to the Hungarian Asia Society. We have been involved in the work of the Hungarian-Kazakh section of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and visited Kazakhstan where we held successful negotiations, among others, withthe president of the cultural committee of the local parliament.Kurdistan also seems to be promising regarding economic networking. There are already projects with significant Hungarian participation and other possibilities and projects are in the picture too. Another partner could be the Philippines that sent a delegation of the investment-development agency to Hungary for the first time in 2013. The aim is to have active capital moving between the two countries after good commercial data.
A lot of people say that the economy of Asian countries can be a breakthrough for Hungary. What is the Hungarian Asia Society’s role in the development of economic relations?
It is very important in economic relations, especially in the East, to understand local culture, to communicate properly and sometimes to build up friendly relations. Often the same word, gesture means something totally different in Japan or China than it does here, in Hungary. We are not necessarily economic experts but we can definitely teach the Hungarian partners how they should approach the new business deal or the business partner.
If I asked you about one significant event from among many this year, what would that be?
I’ll give you two immediately. One is a personal favorite of mine; the Mediawave festival whose organizers we have been in such good relations with that we traveled together to China too. The other is the “Is the Far East Far?” Asian cultural festival. We were involved in their work as a professional partner and helped pick participants and realize the program. We can confidently say that it was a huge success; the “House of Traditions” was filled with high-quality cultural programs. Both children and adults came to get to know Asian culture through many interesting programs from Asian handicrafts to classical music.
What are your plans for the year 2014?
Like our sister organizations, AHU and Latimo, we would like to be involved in more humanitarian programs: we have already contacted organizations in Nepal and Cambodia. We are also planning to work on developing cultural relations. We have talked about partnering in making films and publishing too. At the same time we are trying to support bilateral economic relations. If everything goes well, soon we will come out with a big project. I can’t tell you more about it as yet but you should definitely follow the news of ASHU!

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