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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Budapest 2022: The Mathias Corvinus Collegium and the importance of values

By Álvaro Peñas

The Budapest 2022 Summit, organized by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC) on 16-17 February, was a resounding success and further proof that Budapest is becoming a new Rome of conservative thought. The event focused on a highly topical theme, “On the values we teach our children”, at a time when Hungary and Poland are facing the wrath of the European Commission for not accepting gender ideology in their schools. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Commission, defined this ideology as part of “European values”, which is why it is so important to know what values are healthy for a society and should be passed on to our children. To this end, the MCC event hosted more than 30 guest speakers who shared their ideas in panel discussions at conferences attended by more than 750 people to listen to internationally renowned experts from all over the world.

Guests had the opportunity to meet prominent foreign experts such as Katy Faust, founder of the children’s rights organization Them Before Us; the New York Times bestselling author Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute; the world-renowned philosopher, columnist, and MCC Visiting Fellow Peter Boghossian; Frank Füredi, sociologist and professor at the University of Kent; Joshua Katz, linguist, classicist, and professor at Princeton University; John O’Sullivan, political commentator and journalist; Rod Dreher, bestselling author and Editor-in-Chief of The American Conservative; and Josh Hammer, opinion editor at Newsweek and research fellow at the Edmund Burke Foundation.

Hammer wrote an article about his visit to Hungary, The view from Budapest: “Western media typically covers Orban in hysterical fashion, accusing him of autocracy, crypto-fascism or outright thuggery. It is difficult to believe that any of these left-wing keyboard warriors have ever met Orban, much less spent any time with him […] From firsthand experience, I can attest that the prime minister is nothing like the caricature the media portrays him as […] He is also a genuine conservative intellectual. Orban spent time at Oxford, and he dedicates one day every week to reading up and immersing himself in substantive political reading material. To borrow a popular online phrase, he has done the reading”.

In addition to foreign experts, the conference was attended by representatives from politics such as Judit Varga, Minister of Justice, that emphasize that “the MCC, one of the most significant colleges of advanced studies in Central Europe, puts our country in the map of mutual thinking with prestigious international speakers”. Balázs Orbán, political director of the Hungarian Prime Minister, said in his speech that “we should teach our children to be independent in thinking, creative in work, prepared in debates but shall wholeheartedly profess the fundamental values of the Western, Christian civilization and that of Hungary simultaneously”.

Also in attendance were well-known Hungarian speakers such as Gergely Böszörményi-Nagy, founder of the MOME Foundation; Professor András Lánczi, member of the Board of Trustees of MCC; and Gergely Szilvay, senior journalist at Mandiner and author of A gender-elmélet kritikája (A critique of the gender theory), a book that warns of the terrible consequences of gender ideology and the “self-destructive and self-deprecating West of progressivism”.

Several members of the MCC academic staff spoke at the conference including Imre Porkoláb, Director of the Leadership Academy; Melinda Hal, head of the ‘Body and Soul’ Center; Boris Kálnoky, head of the media school; János Setényi, head of the Learning Institute, Lénárd Sándor, head of the Center for International Law; Márton Sulyok, head of the Center for Public Law and Rodrigo Ballester, head of the Center for European Studies. Ballester noted that the event had been a great success and that “many conservative thinkers come to Hungary to be able to express themselves freely”.

The MCC event shed light on the importance of protecting our children and passing on to them traditional values, values that equip them with knowledge and provide a secure framework for their growth, and which can also be a way out of the crisis our societies are facing. In the words of Katy Faust, “children need stability and balance, and it is up to parents to meet these needs”.

With regard to educational institutions, Dr. Calum Nicholson said that today’s formal education focuses primarily on the transmission of technical content and knowledge to the detriment of students, and less emphasis is placed on the transmission of traditional values and more natural ways of interacting which have historically had an impact on the socialization of young people. Another speaker, historian Hélène de Lauzun, stressed the educational function of TV series. In her opinion, young people today read less books and watch less films.  Instead, TV series have emerged as the only way to keep young people engaged and thus these programs have a huge influence on children’s identity formation.

Summaries of the MCC Budapest Summit 2022: On the Values We Teach Our Children are available on the official website of Mathias Corvinus Collegium. The success of the conference heralds a growing relevance of the MCC’s activities, with top-level speakers who in many cases suffer from the lack of freedom of expression in their countries under the dictatorship of political correctness and who find in Hungary a real space for academic freedom, and this is great news for conservatives throughout the Western world.

Source: El Correo de España

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