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Novák Katalin beszéde a Kossuth- és Széchenyi-díjak átadásánál

"We must never lose sight of the interests of our country!" – Speech by Katalin Novák at the Kossuth- and Széchenyi-Awards Ceremony

"I am Hungarian. My motherland is the most beautiful country across the five continents.
A small world in itself.”
Mr Prime Minister, Mr Speaker, Honourable Winners of the Kossuth and Széchenyi Awards and Recipients of the Order of Merit, Dear Guests!

The two hundred years since the birth of Sándor Petőfi have not in the smallest degree changed the love we Hungarians feel for our country. Regardless of borders, „across the five continents”, the hearts of our compatriots are filled with the same fire, pride and desire to protect our country as fuelled the young intellectuals of March 1848, the Pest Guys of 1956 and the Great Generation of Regime Changers. Even the decades of oppressive dictatorships could only stifle this devotion to an independent and free Hungary. Attempts were made to portray it in a false light, but all attempts to eradicate it from our hearts failed.

As we were listening to the old stories of our grandparents, asked our parents for books to read, talked about poems with our teachers, sang around the campfire with our friends, little by little, almost imperceptibly, this love for our country solidified in our hearts as well. Now, when it is our turn to pick a bedtime story for our children, to take them to the theatre and give them books to read, we are instinctively handing down this precious heritage to them.

This allegiance to a free and independent Hungary, the Hungarian nation, has united us, Hungarians generation after generation, for over a thousand years.

External observers are often perplexed by this unquenchable passion, yet it inspires respect. Needless to say, some see it as old-school Romanticism or misguided ideology. However, provided we advocate Hungarian interests wisely and firmly, „always for ourselves, never against others”, we can be certain of our partners’ respect, in the same way as we, too, feel respect for those standing up consistently and bravely for the interests of their nation. 

History taught us, and we know from the example of our national heroes as well, that we must never lose sight of the interests of our country. Only we can see life and the world through the peculiarly Hungarian eyes. It would be in vain to expect even our allies to fight for Hungarian interests. Not to mention those with whom we did not forge an alliance! However, we can – and indeed we do – expect from everyone that they do not selfishly harm the interests of others. And why should we not lend our support to our partners in matters not in conflict with our national interests?! Also, whenever we can speak and act together, let us take the opportunity! This is the foundation for good cooperation and strong alliance among nations. In war and in peace. 

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

According to Kunó Klebelsberg, “A people only acquires the right to the land on which it lives if it binds that land to itself, to its national genius, through imperishable works. Beyond the blood spilled on the soil of the motherland, a nation enters into an inseparable engagement with the land that is its home through its works and creations.”
Even amidst severe hardships, our ancestors saw the desire to act and unleash the Hungarian genius as the main means of national defence. Today, we have the same programme. 

Dear Award Winners, Dear Recipients of the Order of Merit!

Your work, your achievements are a tribute to the Hungarian mind, spirit and soul. Behind your scientific achievements, artistic creations and public service lies a devoted love for your country. We take pride in you, and are grateful for the professional prestige and the esteem you won - not only for yourselves and your families, but for us, for the whole Hungarian nation as well. 

And we also owe a debt of gratitude to those who support and stand by you. We thank your parents who set you on your path, we thank your devoted partners and your patient children. We are grateful to them as well because without their help, you could hardly have achieved your impressive results. Thank you!
The family is the first school in our children’s lives. If we take care of our most precious treasure, our children, if we support families in building and maintaining a loving home, we have already launched a first „workshop”, ready to set new geniuses on the path to conquering the world.

Dear Winners of the Kossuth and Széchenyi Awards, Dear Recipients of the Order of Merit!

I would also like to make a request. Please use your prestige and potential for our Hungarian future. This will allow great Hungarian achievements – the means to hand down and renew the heritage of Széchenyi, Petőfi, Jókai, Hungarian scientists and creators of culture - to be made again and again.  While you are enriching our intellectual and material wealth, please remember the need to nourish the spiritual development of the next generation, of our children, and serve them as well with what you create.

We are living in times when the preservation and renewal of the triad of personal, family and national identity, pointing out and upholding timeless values, may be not only a lifeline in the midst of the storms raging around us, but also a guarantee of prosperity. In the world today, blatant confidence attempts to mask cluelessness and fear of the future. Handholds are missing.

We, Hungarians should build on what have sustained us for a thousand years: Christian faith and the love for our nation. These values can chart a course for Hungarians in times of transformation, trouble or triumph. Our past is not a museum, nor is our present a moment without antecedents or consequences. Our pride in our deep roots and educated compatriots is not a self-serving parade, but the foundation and guarantee of the Hungarian future.

May this faith and conviction unite us on 15 March 2023 as well!