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ASHU, Asian-Hungarian Union Opens Its First Meeting in Budapest
By Ivan Simic
Director of The Seoul Times EU Office
Ms. Dilara Csillik and Mr. Sandor Balogh (right)

Budapest, Hungary — The ASHU, one of the latest Hungarian NGO presented itself to Asian diplomats and Newspapers accredited in Budapest on April 18, 2012. Representatives of 16 Asian countries took part in the event, including the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Seoul Times Company.

At the informal dinner, which was preceded by a meeting, members of the ASHU introduced themselves to foreign envoys. Among ASHU members were businessmen who are doing business with Asian countries, Hungarian scholars, and people from the culture and the press.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Sandor Balogh, president of the African-Hungarian Union. At the initial stage ASHU will use the experience of the African-Hungarian Union which has been successfully operating for more than five years under Mr. Balogh’s leadership.

Members of diplomatic corps including Iran Ambassador Banihashemi (second from left)

The president of the Asian-Hungarian Union, Ms. Dilara Csillik informed the guests about the aims and objectives of the Union. She said that ASHU is a social organization which supports the activities of the prevailing Hungarian foreign policy; however, ASHU is primarily planning to lean on non-governmental structures in its activities. ASHU is planning to harmonize and inspire the initiatives of the Hungarian businesses, and other state and non-state institutions.

According to statistics, Asia is the most populated and economically fastest-growing continent in the world. Based on this, it is in Hungary’s best interest to develop its relations with Asia through non-official channels in every available way. Hungary which is situated in the middle of Europe has its roots in Asia, since its ancestors came to the Carpathian Basin from this distant continent.

Mr. Szabolcs Takács, Director of Asian Department in the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured support to the endeavors of the society. Lecturers of Zsigmond Király College said that they already have exchange students from Turkey and are planning to start similar student exchange programs with other Asian countries.

Mr. Zoltán Szedlacskó, Chairman of the Vietnamese-Hungarian Business Association; Mr. Ferenc Vékony, President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and Mr. Zsolt Lengyel from the Budapest Chamber of Agriculture emphasized that by forming good relationships with Asian countries, Hungary can expect increase of business partnerships too.

Mr. Ivan Simic, director of the Seoul Times European Office said that ASHU can help boost trade exchange between South Korea and Hungary, as well as facilitate private investments for both sides.

Furthermore, Mr. Simic pledged his support to Asian-Hungarian Union and Mr. Balogh if their objectives match to those of the Seoul Times Company. The Seoul Times has been present in Hungary for more than four years now, and has been looking for the right partners like ASHU do promote its partner companies and other South Korean companies on Hungarian market.

At the ASHU meeting Mr. Simic met with Mr. Ro Sung-min, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea where he emphasized importance of South Korean Embassy to play more active role in Hungary and work more closely with South Korean companies and media representatives based in Hungary.

All foreign participants welcomed the formation of ASHU and offered support in future ASHU projects. They also indicated that they are looking forward to learning more about the aims, initiatives and program of the society.

They expressed their wish that ASHU (Asian-Hungarian Society) will soon be as well-known a name among Hungarian NGOs as AHU (African-Hungarian Union).

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