Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

Novak: Two Nobel Prizes ‘great honour’ for Hungary

The two Nobel Prizes won earlier this month by Hungarian scientists Katalin Kariko and Ferenc Krausz, respectively, are a "great honour" for Hungary, President Katalin Novak said in an interview with local news site feol.hu on Monday following her visit to Fejer County.

“Let us celebrate together that two exceptional Hungarians have achieved such major recognition to the greatest joy and pride of the entire nation,” Novak said.

One Nobel laureate is already something to be immensely proud of, “but to have two at the same time is an outright miracle”, the president said. The residents of central Hungary’s Fejer County can be especially proud to give the nation a Nobel laureate in the person of physicist Ferenc Krausz, she added.

Kariko and Krausz are Hungarians with a Hungarian mindset “who have reached the top of the world and the Nobel Prize having come from the Hungarian education system”, Novak said, adding that the two scientists had “even saved the lives of millions with the findings of their research”.

Novak said she had met Krausz’s parents during her visit to the county, and had been able to “look the non-intellectual, hardworking and honest parents in the eye and thank them on behalf of all Hungarians”. She then paid a visit to the primary school where Krausz had “started out on his journey to the Nobel Prize”.

The success these two scientists have achieved is further proof that Hungary had and still has excellent teachers, Novak said.

“There’s no question that we must create the conditions for both the moral and financial appreciation of teachers,” she said, adding that “we’re not doing well there”.

The example of the Nobel laureates demonstrates clearly the solid foundation provided by Hungarian education that allows students to hold their own amid the fiercest competition anywhere in the world, the president said.

Concerning the family-friendly Hungary strategy, Novak said all three components of the God-Country-Family triad “are subject to many attacks”, even though the latter is the “closest and most natural community, and the guarantee of our security”. She said that as president, she considered the representation of families a priority, and the state’s aim was to remove financial obstacles in the way of people having children.

Novak said that as a woman and a mother, she considered it important for women to have a true freedom of choice and not be forced to choose between having a family and a career.

Strengthening families is not a task that is exclusive to Hungary, though Hungary is seen from abroad as a country to learn from when it comes to demographic issues, the president said, noting the host of international speakers and participants at last month’s Budapest Demographic Summit.

Novak welcomed that the “family-friendly alliance” was gathering more and more international members, saying that more and more people were recognising that unless something was done to overcome the “demographic winter”, Western civilisation in its current form “could completely disappear”.

The president noted her recent announcement of the establishment of a demographic roundtable to smooth dialogue on demographic issues and their solutions.

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