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Katalin Bogyay, FRSA, FWAAS is the current Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations in New York (1 January 2015-) and the former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Delegate of Hungary to UNESCO (2009–2014) and the President of the 36th session of UNESCO General Conference (2011–13).
Katalin Bogyay was born in Székesfehérvár, Hungary. She studied and matriculated in Economics at the Karl Marx University of Economics (Marx Károly Közgazdaságtudományi Egyetem) in Budapest. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in Arts Journalism and a Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Westminster (London), and read Counselling in Westminster Pastoral Foundation (London) and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt) from Glasgow University.
Following the fall of communism, in 1990 she became the first Hungarian television personality to be awarded a Know How Fund Scholarship to study media in democracy at the BBC. In 1994, with another scholarship from the British government, she received a Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Westminster and in 1995 she studied Counseling at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation. She began her career as a theatre and music critic, later becoming a presenter, producer and senior editor of Music and the Arts at the Hungarian National Television (Magyar Televízió or MTV).
After hosting galas and interviewing celebrities from all over the world, she hosted her own show, Katalin Bogyay and her Guests(2003-2004, MTV/Hungary). Bogyay went on to become an international broadcaster and documentary film-maker, working throughout the 1990s as an independent producer based in London notably for European Business News, BBC Radio, Global Vision Network, MTV, Danube TV. In 1999 she led the UNESCO Communication Campaign for the World Conference on Science.
She wrote and published the following books: Dajka (1989- Officina Nova, Budapest), In Memoriam Pilinszky (1990; Officina Nova, Budapest), "Találkozásaim a nagyvilágban"(My Meetings in the World, 1996- H.G.and Co. Budapest), which covers some of the global figures she has interviewed, and "The Voice of Freedom "(2006; HCC, London), which features interviews concerning the 1956 revolution, " A Magyar kultúra szolgálatában" (In the Service of Hungarian Culture", 2010-Kairos,with Hedvig Dvorszky, Budapest), " The Art of Cultural Diplomacy: Panorama of a Presidency" (2013; Espace Cinko Editions, Paris in collaboration with UNESCO), "Elnökségem története- A kulturális diplomácia művészete az UNESCO-ban" (2014;Holnap Kiadó, Budapest)
In 1999 she became a diplomat and began working for the Hungarian Ministry for Culture. As Director General she opened the Hungarian Cultural Centre in 1999 in the heart of London's Covent Garden. The Centre was uniquely and recognisably successful in putting Hungary on the cultural map of the United Kingdom. To mark Hungary's entrance into the EU in 2004, Bogyay created Magyar Magic, a seventeen-month-long festival celebrating Hungarian talent throughout Britain under the dual patronage of Queen Elizabeth II and H.E. Dr Ferenc Mádl,the President of the Republic of Hungary.
In 2007 Bogyay was selected by the London School of Economics as one of the Top 50 thinkers in the publication EU The Next Fifty Years. In her invited editorial she wrote about the new European cultural space. In 2007 she represented Eastern, Central and Southern Europe as one of the deputy chairpersons of the Cultural Committee at the UNESCO's General Conference. Between July 2006 and April 2009, she served as the State Secretary for International Affairs at the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture. Since September 2009 she has been based in Paris as Hungary's Ambassador to UNESCO. In 2009 she served as one of the vice presidents of the 35th General Conference of the UNESCO. Her educational interests include the Liszt Academy Network, which she co-founded with Lady Solti and launched at Kensington Palace in the presence of HRH Prince Charles in 2001.
On 5 October 2011 UNESCO's Executive Board unanimously proposed Ms Bogyay as President of UNESCO's 36th General Conference. On 25 October 2011, the General Conference of unanimously elected Bogyay as President of UNESCO's 36th General Conference. She succeeded Davidson L. Hepburn (Commonwealth of The Bahamas) who presided the 35th session. On 5 November 2013 the General Conference elected Hao Ping, the Vice-Minister of Education of China as President of UNESCO's 37th General Conference. Bogyay's diary as the President of the 36th General Conference continues to be accessible here.
In 2012 Bogyay started her collaboration with the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy- Berlin, ICD, where she became President, ICD Program on Cultural Diplomacy & The Arts in 2014.
She has been appointed Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Hungary to the U.N. - New York. Ambassador Bogyay started as head of the Hungarian Mission to the U.N, in New York on the 1 st of January 2015.
Her husband is a graduate of Eötvös Loránd University and currently a non-practising lawyer and her son is a graduate of the University of Durham and The College of Law and is currently an associate solicitor in the Corporate department of the London office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.
Awards and recognition
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- In 2005, she was awarded the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for her contribution to international culture
- In 2008, she was awarded Officer of the Order of Leopold by King Albert II of Belgium
- In 2009, she was awarded the Aphelandra Prize for her work in cultural diplomacy
- On 28 June 2012 the University of Glasgow awarded Bogyay the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters(D.Litt.) for her work in building cultural links between Hungary and Scotland, as well as promoting cultural diversity and cultural diplomacy throughout the world
- In 2013, she was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Sahametrei by King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia for intercultural cooperation
- In 2013, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the International Fair Play Committee Bogyay was awarded the Special Trophy of Fair Play to her contribution in sports diplomacy
- In 2013, she was awarded the Lánchid-dij (Chain Bridge Prize) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary for her services in building international relations between Hungary and the world
- In 2013, she was awarded the Nehru Gold Medal of UNESCO
- In 2014, she was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary for her achievements in culture and cultural diplomacy
She is a/an:
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
- Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (FWAAS)
- Honorary Fellow of the Imago-International Multi-Lingual Psychotherapy Centre (London)
- International Advisor to the Institutes for Global and European Studies (IGES-Corvinus University, Budapest, Hungary) and for Social and European Studies (Kőszeg, Hungary)
- Board Member of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (Budapest)
- International Advisory Board Member of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy(ICD - Berlin)
- A Magyar Érdemrend középkeresztje
- (2007) European Union: the next fifty years: 50 top thinkers set out their ideas for Europe Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 0199208069
- Hungary's EU Presidency
- UNESCO's Bogyay meets with H.E. Irving Levance of EDU
- Hungarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
- UNESCO President of the General Conference
- Magyarorszag.hu - Government Portal
- Hungarian Cultural Centre in London