„Many tried several occasions to make us believe Hungarian values are subordinate to the ones abroad. However, without Hungary and Hungarian values the world would be less affluent”- stated István Loránd Szakáli.
The Deputy State Secretary for Agricultural Development and Hungarikums from the Ministry of Agriculture emphasised: in 2012 the need for the creation of the hungarikum law regulating national values emerged with the purpose of preventing material, intellectual and cultural creations of the Hungarian people from being forgotten, and to make them receive appropriate recognition – by balancing out oppressive dictatorship and the negative effects of the market - mentioned Mr. Szakáli - “Our values also represent basic resources of smaller or bigger communities. It only depends on us to exploit these for developing community, economy and tourism.”
The hungarikums offers a great potential for nation-building and country branding. In our global world a positive country image is a quality that strengthens a nation’s international position from an economic, cultural, social, scientific and technological aspect, where we were able to achieve significant improvements in the past five years.
The concept of hungarikums received public awareness; the interest for Hungarian values rose worldwide. “We continuously receive requests to organise or sponsor events displaying our country’s top performances. We have successfully familiarized our country with foreigners by introducing our heritage.” – the deputy state secretary underlined.
He also identified further promoting national values and utilizing their potential as subsequent tasks, for the sake of which cooperation with other branches of politics and professional initiatives is required.
“We urge to provide adequate answers for the needs of foreigners and youngsters” – emphasized Mr Szakáli. As a future direction he also added winning Hungarians within and beyond the borders for the cause of hungarikums should subsequently be followed by gaining the support of Hungarians in the diaspora.
The interest for the hungarikum movement also rose among Hungarians living in North-America, Western Europe, Australia or South-Africa. Each year a growing number of youngsters visit the motherland in order to familiarize themselves with the past of their parents and grandparents. Although we are not aware of a same legally substantiated foreign initiative, similar examples exist in a large number. One of which is the Marca Espana that aims to display Spanish values to the world.
In the past few years dozens of national values have become hungarikums, however, their number should only increase based on justified decisions. “The objective is not to admit as many values as possible among Hungarian top performances, since if there are too many of a particular thing, its worth evidently decreases – pointed out Mr Szakáli. Therefore, the Committee for Hungarikums gives each petition more thought as the purpose is to permit only those values to enter the top of the value pyramid that truly belong there.
Then again, since it defines a bottom-up building process, more and more values are being admitted to other levels of the pyramid. As a result of the past years’ work, nowadays the number of values in the county repository of values exceeded 1,700; the number of values in the local repository of values reached 7,000. With the amendment of the law in 2015 this circle further extended to the territories beyond the country border, to Upper-Hungary, to Délvidék (the southern territories), Prekmurje, Croatia, Transylvania, Zakarpattia Oblast, where local and territorial repositories are being createdone after the other.
“The hungarikum movement has become widely known in the Carpathian basin due to the enormous work and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of people and contribution of smaller-bigger settlements. Our task includes directing this immense energy towards nation building activities.” – formulated the deputy secretary. At the same time, he also pointed out collecting values is only the first step; in the future, these need to become an integral part of everyday life.
“As the majority of values are old, we have to examine them from an appraiser’s or a jeweller’s perspective to ensure that they are placed in a new setting based on the necessities of our age and the desires of young generations.”- Mr Szakáli underlined. It is not a coincidence that the movement’s main target is to address the youth. Today the theme of local values and hungarikums are mentioned in textbooks and are part of the curriculum in public education. Moreover, in cooperation with the National University of Public Service the first university textbook, handling the theme of hungarikums, is going to be published in the near future.