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ACYPL sent a delegation of seven individuals to Croatia and Hungary where they were hosted by our partners, the Academy of Political Development in Croatia and CEC Government Relations in Hungary. The delegation represented the geographical and professional diversity of America’s rising political leaders and included three Democrats and four Republicans.
The program began in Washington, D.C., with discussions at the Department of State and the Croatian and Hungarian embassies. These meetings enabled the delegation to learn about U.S. foreign policy in Central Europe and acquaint themselves with Croatia’s and Hungary’s bilateral relations with the U.S.
After arriving in Croatia, the delegates had a myriad of opportunities to engage with high level political figures within the country. This included a meeting with three advisors to Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, discussing women in power, national security, and international relations. The delegates also met with Mr. Michael Faulend, the Vice Governor of the Croatian National Bank, where the delegates were educated on the microeconomy in Croatia and the process of adopting the Euro and with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for a thoughtful conversation on Croatia’s role as a recently-admitted member of the European Union. A highlight of the delegates’ time in Croatia was a walking tour administered by Invisible Zagreb, an organization dedicated to publicizing the issue of homelessness in the Croatian capital. This activity was very enriching for our visiting delegation and was very effective in building a base of mutual understanding for our participants and the country they were visiting.
In Hungary, the delegation met with the Honorable Peter Ungar, a member of Hungary’s National Assembly, an ACYPL alumnus who traveled to the U.S. in 2018. That same day, the delegates met Tamas Vargha, Secretary of State for Civil Intelligence, and discussed issues relating to cybersecurity and Hungary’s governing Fidesz-Hungarian Civil Alliance coalition. Over the next two days, the delegation traveled to the city of Debrecen in eastern Hungary, where they met with the city’s mayor Laszlo Papp. During their time in Hungary, one of the most meaningful experiences for the delegates was a visit to the House of Terror museum, where they learned about the struggles Hungarians faced during the country’s various 20th century dictatorships. ACYPL’s exchange to Croatia and Hungary presented our participating delegates with the opportunity to immersed themselves in a rewarding political and cultural experience that furthered their understanding of Croatian and Hungarian society.