The Balassi Institute
The Balassi Institute is responsible for presenting Hungarian culture all over the world and at home in Hungary. The institute operates on a centralized budget and acts as the background organization for international Hungarian cultural contacts, much in the same way as the German Goethe Institut or the British Council. In this way, it plays a prominent role in both transforming and meeting the goals of cultural diplomacy for the Republic of Hungary and comprises a professional center that is unique in terms of its content and scope of activity.
Among the primary aims of Hungarian cultural policy are modernization and the development of competitive ability, including the areas of culture and cultural infrastructure. Cultural diplomacy has gained value throughout the world during the 21st century and has gradually appeared as a "third pillar" in the system of international relations. The goal of the Balassi Institute is to strengthen the prestige of Hungary by relying on the traditionally firm pillars of Hungarian cultural diplomacy. In keeping with the principle of "subsidiarity" prevalent in the countries of the European Union, the fields of culture and education essentially remain "national", which simultaneously guarantees cultural diversity within the EU as well as the preservation of national cultural values.
Working within this system, Hungarian institutes currently functioning abroad (19 institutes and two archives) and our network of guest educators and lecturers (at 42 sites) represent outstanding tools of strategic Hungarian cultural foreign policy. We manage a network of institutes operating in 17 countries along with educators in 19 nations, which allows us to more efficiently harmonize the earlier two structures as well as to fulfill complex tasks in the field of cultural diplomacy. This requires an overview and modernization of our operations and our strategies, enabling our organization to engage in cultural promotion that represents the values of universal Hungarian culture in the most effective way possible.
The Balassi Institute plays a central role in Hungarian language learning and training as well as in the development of training methodology. We offer a wide range of educational programs, from traditional language courses to university level courses for foreign nationals specializing in Hungarian studies. We pay special attention to language training for those of Hungarian descent living abroad, including ethnic Hungarians visiting us from various regions of the Carpathian Basin, the Csángo territory, Voivodina and the Lower-Carpathia as well as immigrants residing in Western countries. The institute also offers grants and guidance to Hungarian educators and lecturers working abroad as well as study scholarships in addition to publishing periodicals and individual works in Hungarian and foreign languages. We are in the process of developing and operating an on-line methodological and training center for those interested in Hungarian culture and language.