H. E. Ms Katalin Bogyay, FRSA, FWAAS
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent representative
of Hungary to the United Nations, New York (2015- )
Katalin Bogyay served as the Hungarian Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO between 2009 and 2014 and in the capacity of the President of the General Conference of UNESCO (2011-2013) after the unanimous proposal of the 58 Executive Board members, and her unanimous election by the General Conference to that post by the 36th Session. A tireless and committed cultural bridge-builder and advocate for real dialogue throughout her multifaceted professional life, she has occupied the posts of Hungary’s State Secretary for International Affairs for Education and Culture (2006-2009) and the Founding Director of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Covent Garden, London, UK (1999-2006). She has also led a distinguished career as an international television broadcaster, film and music producer and writer. She is a guest lecturer and speaker at universities and international conferences on Interfaith- and intercultural dialogue, Cultural diplomacy and the Art of diplomacy. She is a strong advocate for the empowerment of women, protection of vulnerable people in conflict zones and a supporter of global cultural diversity.
She graduated and holds an MA from Economics of Corvinus University, Budapest, a postgraduate degree in Journalism from the Gyorgy Balint Academy of Journalism, Budapest, and a Master of Arts in International Communications from University of Westminster, London. She read counselling at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation, London. She was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by Glasgow University for her work in building diplomatic links between Hungary and Scotland, as well as promoting cultural diversity and cultural diplomacy throughout the world. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences from University of Pannonia, Hungary for her international work in multilateral and cultural diplomacy.
Ambassador Bogyay received an Honorary Professor distinction from the Utah Valley University in April 2016.
She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (US). She is an International Advisor to the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD- Berlin, Germany) and the President of Cultural Diplomacy and The Arts program of ICD .Also an advisor to the Institute for Global and European Studies, IGES (Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary). She is an International Advisory Board member of iASK-Institute of Advanced Studies (Kőszeg, Hungary), an International Steering Committee member of the World Science Forum (Brazil- Hungary- Jordan) Ms. Bogyay is an Honorary member of the London-based Imago-International Psychoanalytical Society, a founding member of the Liszt Academy Network, based in London, and a board member of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (Budapest State Opera Orchestra). She is a member of Foreign Policy Association ( FPA- New York) and honorary member of Foreign Press Association( FPA- New York).
Ms. Bogyay is a recipient of several high honors, including the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary for her services to Hungarian and international culture and innovative work in cultural diplomacy (2014), the Tree of Peace of UNESCO for her leadership in political, intercultural and interfaith dialogue (2014), the Nehru Gold Medal of UNESCO for her presidency in UNESCO (2013), the Hungarian Chain Bridge Award for her services to Hungarian foreign affairs (2013), the Grand Cross of the Order of Sahametrei by King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia for intercultural cooperation (2013), Officer of the Order of Leopold by King Albert II of Belgium (2008), Aphelandra, a humanitarian prize (2009) and the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for her contribution to international culture (2005). Ms. Bogyay was awarded a Diploma of Honour by the member states of UNESCO for her services in the development of international understanding.
She received the Global Citizenship Award from the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation for embodying the characteristics of honor, intelligence, benevolence, and integrity (2016). Also was given a special recognition by NGOCSW-NY for her contribution as a woman leader in the UN (2016).
Ambassador Bogyay received the “Spirit of the UN – 2017” Award of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concern in 2017.
Ms. Bogyay began her career as a theatre and music critic and television broadcaster. She was a producer and anchor of the Evening News, founder of the first Tv programs dealing with interreligious dialogue , hosted several concerts, galas and interviewed major political and cultural personalities from around the world for the Evening News and on her popular show ‘Katalin Bogyay and Her Guests.’ In 1990, Ms. Bogyay became the first Hungarian television personality to be awarded a “Know How Fund Scholarship” to study media in democracy at the BBC. In 1991 with a scholarship awarded by the Austrian Foreign Office she worked at ORF (Austrian National Television). In 1993 she was awarded a Chevening scholarship by the U.K. to study for a MA in International Communication and wrote Ms. Bogyay’ s MA Thesis was entitled: “How small and Eastern-European cultures can make an impact in Britain through the media and well tailored communication.”
After the political changes in Hungary throughout the 1990s, Ms. Bogyay was based in London and worked as an independent broadcaster and producer for European Business News TV (U.K.), BBC Radio-5 Live, MTV (the Hungarian Public Service major terrestrial channel), Global Vision Network (U.K.), Danube TV (the Hungarian Public Service global channel), the Elsa Mayer Lismann Opera Centre (U.K.) and the Club of Budapest International (U.K.).
She went on to pursue her political career in 1999, working for the Hungarian Ministry for Culture, and in the same year, opened the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, which has become uniquely successful in building cultural and educational links between the United Kingdom and Hungary and the multifaceted social, political and cultural life of the U.K. and Hungary. Ms. Bogyay created a fashionable cultural hub in London’s Covent Garden for international dialogue for bridging people with different cultures, religions, political views, languages.
For Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004, Ms. Bogyay masterminded, curated and produced “Magyar Magic,” a seventeen-month-long festival celebrating Hungarian talent throughout the U.K., in which over two-thousand Hungarian and British artists participated in more than five hundred events in thirteen cities.
As State Secretary of Hungary for Education and Culture (2006-2009) she built a new framework for international collaborations in the post-soviet period. She focused on dialogue exercises with China, Japan, India, Russia, USA, U.K. and Canada and developed new collaboration with Middle-Eastern countries and on multilateral diplomacy.
After becoming Ambassador- Permanent Representative of Hungary to UNESCO in 2009 Ms. Bogyay started her campaign for the Presidency of the General Conference in 2010 and was unanimously elected by Electoral Group II., the Executive Board and the General Conference as President of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2011. Ms. Bogyay had previously represented Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe as one of the Deputy Chairpersons of the Cultural Committee at UNESCO’s General Conference in 2007 and Vice-President of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2009, President of Electoral Group II. in 2010 and President of the EU Group in 2011.
Ms. Bogyay has authored several books and publications, including: a biography on Hungarian actress Margit Dajka (1989, Officina Nova, Budapest) as well as another biographical work on János Pilinszky, a Hungarian poet (1990, Officina Nova, Budapest), Találkozásaim a nagyvilágban (‘My encounters around the globe’), a collection of interviews with internationally acclaimed artists, writers and scientists (1996, H.G.& Co., Budapest) and The Voice of Freedom - A szabadság hangja (2006, HCC, London), a compilation of interviews on the subject of the 1956 revolution. In 2007, Ms. Bogyay was selected by the London School of Economics and the Financial Times Business as one of the Top 50 Thinkers for their publication: EU - The Next Fifty Years. In an interview book: A Magyar kultúra szolgálatában (‘Serving Hungarian Culture’, interviewed by Hedvig Dvorszky) (2010, Kairosz, Budapest) she gave an insight into her professional life. The Art of Cultural Diplomacy: Panorama of the Presidency (2013, Espace Cinko - UNESCO, Paris) encompasses her work as the President of UNESCO`s General Conference (2011-13) and Elnökségem története (My Presidency) (2014, Holnap, Budapest) includes essays, interviews, speeches about her Presidency of UNESCO’s General Conference. The book was also published in China by the Yilin Press in 2017. Ms. Bogyay and iASK Institute of Advance Studies Kőszeg published a book A CRY FOR FREEDOM: Reflections on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at the UN and Beyond.
Her husband is a Hungarian lawyer. Their son practices law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in the City of London, U.K.