Her Excellency Katalin Novak, President of Hungary, Visited the ITI

It was a great joy and honor to welcome the President of the Republic of Hungary, Her Excellency Katalin Novak, to our University. On Thursday night, October 27, she spoke about the family and shared her experience of previous service in the position of Minister for Family Affairs, which she had held before being elected president.

“The family is the pillar of our society,” Madam President stated with conviction. She strongly believes that it is a responsibility of political leaders to support young people in their wish to have families and to have as many children as they want. Her Excellency presented three aspects of her fight to promote and strengthen the values of traditional family, as well as preserving families’ right and responsibility to raise and educate their children.

Together with other Hungarian leaders, Mrs. Novak has been dedicated to promoting precisely this goal during the past ten years of her political career. In addition to the Constitution of the country, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and which specifies that the father is a man and the mother is a woman, Hungary has introduced many other laws which protect traditional family and its values. Besides the legislative aspect in this matter, financial support of young families has also been stressed in Hungary. They developed financial plans that would release large families from financial burdens and loans and would help them raise their children. And, last but not least, they focused on creating a family-friendly atmosphere in the country. They have worked to promote and educate about the traditional family and the dignity of human life. All three aspects of their fight for the family have borne fruit. The rate of marriage in Hungary has doubled, and the rates of divorce and abortion have dropped.

At the end of her talk, Madam President gave a personal message to our students. Speaking out of her private experience - Mrs. Novak is married and is mother of three children - she says that raising her own children is the center of her life and it is something that gives her the strength to do her job. She advised young people to choose family as plan A in their life, and put a profession as plan B.

The official part of the evening with Madam President concluded with a questions and answers segment. The Rector of the ITI, Dr. Christiaan Alting von Geusau, thanked Her Excellency for accepting his invitation and, as a gift for her from the ITI, he presented her with an icon of St. Zdislava of Lemberk, one of the patron saints of the ITI, who herself was the mother of four children and whom our Founder, Pope John Paul II, proclaimed the patron saint of married couples. The warm atmosphere of the meeting with Her Excellency continued at an agape where students and faculty were able to chat with Mrs. Novak personally.