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