News | Press Releases 2012

Hungary’s Common Sense Society Launches Leadership Academy

The Common Sense Society (CSS) hosted its inaugural Summer Leadership Academy in July 2012 at Bercel Kastély in Nógrád County, Hungary.  Over the course of five days, 25  participants explored topics in philosophy, economics, politics, and law, and took part in workshops and simulations. Academy participants were selected from among 140 highly qualified applicants from Hungary, Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and the USA.

The Academy is designed for young leaders and thinkers who are committed to strengthening their own understanding of the free and prosperous society.  It promises to be the new incubator of future leaders in Hungary and in Central and Eastern Europe who are committed to promoting the ideas of responsible liberty and equipped with the skills to implement them.

The distinguished international faculty and guest speakers included: philosopher Roger Scruton (Oxford University, American Enterprise Institute), Tibor Machan (Chapman University, Hoover Institution), Roger Pilon (Cato Institute), Juliana Geran Pilon (Institute of World Politics), Peter Záboji (European Entrepreneurship Foundation), András Jakab (University of Heidelberg), Sam Potolicchio (Georgetown University), Thierry Baudet (University of Leiden), Jim Kelly (Federalist Society), and Ferenc Horkay Horcher (Pázmány Péter Catholic University).

Last month, CSS named Zoltán Kész as its Pannonius Fellow for 2012-2013.  The Pannonius Fellowship is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Pannonius Foundation and the Hungarian American Coalition (HAC).  As Pannonius Fellow and Program Associate, Kész will provide leadership for CSS programs aimed at educating young Hungarians about economic freedom, private enterprise, and tax policy.  Kész’s experience is well suited to this role: he taught high school for several years and has held lecturer positions at ELTE University and Veszprém University.

Kész was a Fulbright Scholar and holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature from ELTE University. He is a graduate of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s Leadership Academy and is director of the American Corner in his hometown of Veszprém.

In announcing the selection of Kész, CSS president Marion Smith stated, “It is vital for young people to grasp the principles that undergird a free and prosperous society. I am confident that Zoltán Kész will play an important role in helping these principles become better understood and appreciated in Hungary.”

CSS Alapitvány, a member of HAC since 2010, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which strives to promote civic engagement and entrepreneurship among university students and young professionals in Hungary.

Since its establishment in 2009, CSS believes that the civic education and political engagement of young people is a crucial aspect of Hungary’s transition from a post-communist state towards a truly free and prosperous society. To date, hundreds of individuals have joined CSS in its quest.

To achieve its ambitious goals, CSS hosts regular debates, panel discussions, lectures, workshops, film screenings, and book events. CSS members see themselves not as by-standers in the development of their civilization, but active participants in defining their future of sustainable freedom.

HAC President Maximilian Teleki serves as a member of CSS’ Advisory Board.



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