III World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples

Helsinki (Finland) December 10–13, 2000


Brief information


Speeches of the peoplesí representatives




List of participants

Consultative Committee
of the Finno-Ugric Peoples



director of the department of the Foreign ministry of Hungary,
head of the Hungarian delegation

Dear Finno-Ugric Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The international Finno-Ugric movement has again reached a significant stage at the threshold of the third millennium. Today, on the 11th of December, here in Helsinki, our movement's greatest event has been opened - the Third Finno-Ugric World Congress, hosted by our Finnish relatives, who for three days, will turn Helsinki into the capital of the Finno-Ugric world. Thank you very much, our Finnish friends! Kiitos!

Due to the devoted and self-sacrificing work of the relatives, the international Finno-Ugric movement can already claim to have attained significant results considering its relatively short organized past - it is only seven years since the first congress. These results provide a good and solid foundation for our movement to the twenty-first century and to expand our achievements.

As head of the Hungarian delegation, I will speak about the past period and I would like to acquaint the participants of the congress with the activities we have carried out. I would also like to confirm the principles and concepts, which will serve as a basis for our successful future co-operation.

We Hungarians, being both in size and our diaspora, the largest member nation of the family, are convinced that we must continue to support common European, regional and universal interests; that is to say security, environmental protection, economy, trade, culture etc, without which the twenty-first century is simply inconceivable.

Nowadays national minorities are receiving greater attention and their role is becoming ever more important in building a common future and preserving culture and traditions. And it is well known that the United Nations have declared the first year of the coming century to be the year of minority languages. We are pleased to share our abundant experience in this subject, since we all belong to this category.

Solidarity is our moral obligation. It is based on our common experience and feelings, our coexistence of several centuries, our common past, and the language guarantee that we understand each other's problems perhaps the best.

The structure of the society and state in which we are living is different, so it is all the more important for us to think together. To find out how, and in what ways we, along with other nations and nationalities living alongside us, can preserve and foster our traditions, protect our interests, and contribute to the solution of the problems of globalization.

Mr Chairman, Friends,

Think only of the fact that we have a choice of 22 regular events within our movement, and you will see that we have no reason to complain. These events, starting with those of the world congress, the youth movement, scientists, writers, members of parliament, folklore festivals, radio and television rendezvous and those of related nations, provide a good opportunity for us to discuss the most varied issues of importance with mutual interest and with the highest level of participation.

As the time allowed for my speech is short, let me highlight the most important events that have taken place since the last congress - those events which have earned recognition for the Hungarian section of our movement. In Hungary, the Hungarian National Organization of the FWC has been operating since 1997 -the year of its establishment. It has a budget of 20 million Hungarian forints, approximately 62,000 USD.

Thanks to this, within the framework of the Finno-Ugric Section of IPU (members of parliament), we were able to hold a meeting in March this year and a seminar in Szeged last year entitled "The European Union and Finno-Ugrianism".

The town of Székesfehérvár hosted the 8th Folklore Festival in June this year. And several of the participants - I can happily see -are also here today. With the help and within the framework of the Consultative Committee, we brought together demographers and statisticians in Budapest; the result of which is a review of statistics published by our Komi friends and which is also available here, at the congress. The Finno-Ugric Television Festival, held in November 1999, was successful and provided a good opportunity for us to be immersed in our common culture and traditions, using the language of film.

Special mention must be made of the Finno-Ugric youth and language camps. Also of the free university courses (at Szombathely and Fonyodliget) held in the summer which, owing to their popularity during the previous years, have now become regular events. But in order to avoid listing everything, we - with the support of our National Committee - have managed to compile a book entitled "Our Language Relatives", which contains all this and which I, as editor-in-chief, can present forthwith to all the participants of the Congress, in both Russian and Hungarian. May it do you good! Be proud to belong to the Finno-Ugric family, which has such a rich past, present and hopefully future as well. Among our publications I would like to draw your attention to the one containing the materials of the 2nd FWC - again both Russian and Hungarian - as well as a map, on which everyone can find their own "Finno-Ugrias".

Finally, allow me to pass on to all our Finno-Ugric friends the cordial message sent by our former president of the Hungarian Republic, Mr Árpád Göncz. As President Mádl said today at noon, Mr Göncz was very keen to meet you again after Budapest, here in Helsinki, but unfortunately his health has not made it possible. Nevertheless, he still reserves a special place in his memories for the unforgettable journey he made to the Finno-Ugric republics, and the personal meetings he had with you. The Hungarian delegation is pleased to take part in the congress and its work, supports the closing declaration and agrees with its approval.

We would like to wish our dear friends a merry Christmas and good health on the occasion of the coming festivities. And may the new century, or rather millennium, bring much success to our Finno-Ugric family and each of its members.
Thank you.

Source: III World Congress of the Finno-Ugrian Peoples. Helsinki, 2000 [Joshkar-Ola, 2001], pp 33–35.

print version

I - Syktyvkar, 1992
II - Budapest, 1996
IV - Tallinn, 2004