We Hungarians are a nation of doers - Iraq - Meltho International School
"We Hungarians are a nation of doers ", said President Katalin Novák at the inauguration of the Meltho International School in Erbil, in the centre of Iraq's Kurdistan Region. The school was established with Hungarian support.
She added: This is also shown by the fact that "we are here to support you and your communities".
On the last day of her visit to Iraq, the President of Hungary opened the international school established with the support of the Hungary Helps Initiative at a ceremony with Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Autonomous Region, Masrour Barzani.
"Although Hungary is not a large country - it has only ten million people - and we are not the most influential and richest country, we want to help, and if our help is needed, we Hungarians are there to help," Katalin Novák said in her inauguration speech.
When it comes to international relations, Hungary’s actions are guided by three important principles, the first of which is humility. "We behave respectfully, we do not make it our business to lecture others. We want to understand and get to know our partners," said President Katalin Novák.
The second principle guiding Hungary is respect for democracy and standing up for democratic solutions. The third is condemning all forms of violence and terrorism. "It follows that international terrorism is our common enemy," she said.
President Katalin Novák stressed Hungary's Christian identity, and also underlined that Christians are persecuted all over the world today, "which must be spoken about rather than covered up".
As Christians, we must help each other, she said, referring to the Hungary Helps Initiative. When the programme was launched, Hungary was "driven by the intention to help local communities right where they are: whether it's to start a school or a crèche, to repair a cemetery or a church, we believe that challenges should be met locally, not by forcing people and communities to leave their homeland".
"We want your community to remain strong. This, however, means more than just survival, it means and requires development, and we want to contribute to that" – Katalin Novák emphasized.
The purpose of the visit was not only to meet the Hungarian troops serving in Iraq to fight international terrorism, but also, she said, "to meet local residents and see what the Hungarian people's investment means to the communities here".
"As the first female President of my country, I hope that by opening this school, we will also contribute to the empowerment of women," Katalin Novák said in her speech.
Masrour Barzani expressed his gratitude for Hungary's assistance and Christian brotherhood. He said that the school would give "the next generation of pioneers" the opportunity to "overcome the pressing problems of today and tomorrow".
He thanked President Novák for her visit and for Hungary's "investment in the future of the people of our region". He stressed that the agreement had given many people a chance and changed their lives.
The ceremony was also addressed by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem II and Archbishop Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf.
Katalin Novák also met with Yazidi refugee women and girls on Saturday. As she writes in her Facebook post, „Heart-wrenching stories have been shared with me by Yazidi women who, along with thousands of others, have been abducted and abused by the Islamic State, simply because of their religious beliefs.”
Even in this situation, Hungary helps through the Hungary Helps Initiative.