Budapest Africa Forum - 'Opening to the South'

20. January 2016. 11:45
Labels:Budapest, Africa, Forum, event, report
On 2-3rd November 2015 four UM-scholars participated in an essential and prestigious event.

Being a Stipendium Hungaricum scholar is a full-time job - it is not just about studying, preparing for tests and exams, but building up a - let's exaggerate a bit! - new life. A brand new part of the world, a different country, customs, people and atmosphere... and you even have to study hard. These 'disadvantages' - if you think it over - are great advantages.

You meet opportunities which you nowhere else could, you become the representative of your homeland.

This article is written about a formal gathering where three of our students, Bello Mohammed Hannif, Yakubu Yakubu - both from Nigeria  and Alaoui Rizq Hicham - from Morocco discussed about Hungarian-African relations and possibilities to cooperate in education.Our participating students are sharing their experiences to give us an impression.

In the building of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Péter Szijjártó (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade), Zoltán Balog (Minister of Human Capacities) and Zoltán Dubéczi (Secretary General of the Hungarian Rectors' Conference) addressed their opening remarks and after signing bilateral agreements between African countries and Hungary, the Representatives of African alumni, Benjamin Dagadu (Deputy Minister of Energy of Republic of Ghana) and Dr. Joseph Bol Chan (Speaker of National Council of States of Republic of South Sudan) addressed their words to those assembled.

Group of SH scholars from all over Hungary

 

 

Mohammed Hannif Bello

second year student of our Faculty of Earth Science 

and Engineering

 

This is a forum held in Budapest on the 2nd and 3rd of November, 2015 at the ceremonial hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

 

 

I was opportune to attend this great event because I was nominated by the University of Miskolc and also invited by the Hungarian Minister of Foreing Affairs and Trade with two of my colleagues from the University of Miskolc.

 

 

It was an overwelming and highly organised event attendend by farmous dignitaries from Africa and Hungary.

 

 

It was an event to strengthen the interpolitical relationship of African countries with Hungary and some agreements where even signed on the event day. It also served as an opportunity for enterpreneurs to showcase their ideas, inventions and innovations and also companies to market their products and services.

 

 

At night, we attended a dinner in the Europa Boat where we had varieties of favourite Hungarian meals to eat such as the famous GULYÁS LEVES and a musical band playing audable and melodious songs to ease the meal into the stomach.

 

 

It was quite a day to remeber!

 

 

 

Alaoui Rizq Hicham

 

second year Msc Computer science Engineering student of our Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Informatics

 

My story with the Budapest Africa Forum started with an honorification on a behalf of Prof. Dr. Tamás Kékesi, the Vice-Rector for Scientific and International Affairs to acknowledge our great achievement here at the University of Miskolc. It was a great pleasure one morning to shell the nice email sent by Miss Nikolett Tóth to the three of us: Hannif Bello, Yakubu Yakubu from Petroleum Engineering department and me from Computer Science Engineering department, where there was attached an official invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take part of the Budapest Africa Forum at its 2nd edition, since this event becomes a mainstream to promote the foreign policy strategy of Hungary to open up to Africa mainly in Education. Especially, Hungary stands for a key Partner. For those who don't know Hungary, by its 10 million population counts to this day, 13 Nobel prizes and a 5% of GDP spent on Education. To know more about Hungary, you may need to read about the inventer of the Rubic cubes, or Charles Simonyi who's name is related to the most profitable product, Word and Excel. John von Neumann and lots of brilliant minds. Furthermore, according to our decent valuable experience within the framework of Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship, Hungary is where you can join the useful with the pleasant. I remember the three of us arranged to meet up in front of the UNI-Hotel at 3 am. to take the train and be able to take a photo with Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade at 9 am. Unfortunately we missed that great photo, but we cought up many others right after the signature of the bilateral agreements between the Ministry of Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary with other personalities and alumnis, except the very young and humble minister that has to leave the event early due to his duties, I imagine. I won't forget a funny anecdote that happened to me at the great Science Academy building, where many national TV channels broadcasted live the signature of the agreements. I went to sit accidentally at the place of the minister that was empty of course :) and it was an awesome front place to take wonderful photos. But right after this, it was funny for him to recognize that I was keeping his place warm :)

During the first coffee break, I have met Mr. Agoudan and Mr. Messaoudi, who I had a chat with Moroccan dialect, and other scholars from different universities.

In its second edition the BAF focused mainly to intensify the dialog with Africa through the alumnis who dedicated a prominent part from their speech to witness their love to their second home country: Hungary. The Journey took place in a pleasant atmosphere thanks to the sympathy of Benjamin Spencer Kwaku Dagadu, Deputy Energy Minister of the Republic of Ghana, the smiling and charismatic Mr. Franco Mutomba, President of the Foundation for Africa, and the nice person Dr. Zoltan Dubeczi, Secretary General of the Hungarian Rectors' Conference who is not African, of course :).

 

Right after the buffet lunch, we had a workshop related to innovation in education that cought the attention of the audience with the original ideas that lead their holders to success. Personally, I admired the one of a young and humble Hungarian entrepreneur who scratched his own innovative idea related to online media monitoring and analysis.

Besides education there were business opportunities for Hungarian companies who wish to enter African markets. I see personally that the BAF 2 was a great starting point for future cooperation. Especially the guests were the highest-ranking African government officials who studied at Hungarian universities. The most relevant office was the Hungarian National Trading House, the CitySIM represented by the nice person Gabriella, Chief Business Development Officer.

The journey came to an end with an elegant and nice reception on the Europe Boat and with a surprise that had an awesome impact on me :) I was contemplating the nice view of the Budapest Parliament at night from the boat and savor my dinner around a table with other scholars. When I walked away with a coffee in hand, there was a table in front of the scene where the nice person Sena Dagadu from Irie Maffia was performing, reserved for ex-classmates mainly from Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. I joined and started a discussion with a man who seemed to have achieved all what a man could expect in life. I remember the discussion very well.

 

Me: Hello Sir! (I didn't know his name, of course)

The Man: Hello, nice to see you over here.

Me:  Thank you, can I have the honor to whom talk to ...

His friend sitting next to him: You don't know this guy! He is proud of Morocco, a  millionaire. (The guy started to compliment his former classmate who apparently sew up the first rank in his class in the entire period of studing Civil Enginering at Budapest University.) 

Me: I am very pleased to meet you, Sir.

The Man: Is this your first university degree? 

Me: No, I already graduated as a state engineer from École Mohammadia d'ingénieurs.

The Man: Really! I gave a lecture once to the engineers in your school and most of them come to work in my company after graduation.

Me: Really! (with a surprized face), can I get to know the name of your company?

The man: I am a close friend to the founder of Δ Holding, the group which is present in Morocco and abroad with its 30 subsidiaries and I am of course the general director of two of them.

Me: (with a surprized face again) Really! I was working for one of them! 

The Man: Really! (This time, it was his turn to be surprised.)

Me: Yes, I collaborated with my hierarchical superior.

The Man: Yes I know him, he is a great man.

Me: (talking to myself) My first name is enough to get some good feedbacks, hopefully.

 

 

Yakubu Yakubu

 

second year student of our Faculty of Earth Science and Engineering

 

The Budapest Africa forum was a conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Africa Department). This conference brought together different African countries with the aim of strengthening their relationship with Hungary through the signing of bilateral agreements on education and other economic activities.

Awareness was created by different speakers in the forum on the importance of this bilateral agreement on education which is achieved through the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship program. Amongst the speakers in the Forum where top Hungarian and African government officials and past beneficiaries of the Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship (African Alumni).

The speakers spoke on topics like innovation in education and successful Hungarian entrepreneurs and business opportunities in Africa. These topics stressed on the need for students who are currently beneficiaries of this scholarship program to be innovative, using the education/cultural training achieved from this great country to subsequently use it in the development of their various African countries and also encourage various Hungarian and African entrepreneurs to see and venture in the various business opportunities in Africa.

Some of the finest universities in Hungary were also there to display some of their activities and courses they offer. Also different companies and investment groups were also present to exhibit their various technologies and what they are made up of, all with the purpose of strengthening the business relationship between Hungary and Africa.

In all, the program was a success, highly educative and encouraging. I personally learnt from one of the speaker’s sayings ‘Education is not a way to escape poverty, but a way to fight it, and openness is one of the secret of learning or acquiring every kind of knowledge you desire’.