FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Hungary - FAO fellows receive master’s degrees

The fifth cohort of foreign students to participate in the Hungary-FAO Fellowship Programme received their master’s degrees today, in a ceremony at the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture.

Some 43 students from around the world received degrees from Hungarian universities – in rural development, agricultural engineering, biotechnology and horticulture. They are the fifth group of students to be sponsored and financed by the programme, which is a partnership between the Government of Hungary and FAO.

Szent István University in Gödöllő, Corvinus University in Budapest and the University of Debrecen conferred the degrees, concluding the students’ two-year programme of studies.

The ceremony was opened by Katalin Tóth, Deputy Secretary of State, Ministry of Agriculture, and Vladimir Rakhmanin, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.

Rakhmanin highlighted the future roles that the graduating professionals will play when they return to their home countries.

“FAO works on every continent, interacting with government officials, donor representatives, civil society advocates and technical experts,” he said. “Many of you will be our future partners, stakeholders and colleagues, as we continue to work towards a world without hunger or malnutrition, towards reductions in rural poverty, more productive and sustainable agriculture, more inclusive agri-food trade, and more resilient communities.”

Rakhmanin also emphasised Hungary’s steadfast support for FAO and its work in the Europe and Central Asia region.

In her statement, Tóth highlighted the fellowship programme’s importance for Hungary, and expressed her expectation that links with the students’ countries will be intensified as a result.

One of the graduating students, Pham Thai Giang from Viet Nam, remarked that “the programme not only contributes to improve my knowledge in academics but also in other fields. I believe that this programme will help me to be successful in the future.”

Narmandakh Davaatseren from Mongolia added that “the programme has given me a great perspective about respect, creativity and other cultural backgrounds.”

Martin Ochieng Abwao from Kenya summarized that "FAO has become a household name among members of my family, relatives and friends. Given opportunity, FAO would be my preferred employer.  Hungarian people still showed immense love, care and understanding."

The 2014 graduating fellows come from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Namibia, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and Viet Nam.

The fellowship programme was launched in 2008 as part of the FAO-Hungary Host Country Agreement, which established the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia and an administrative services hub in Budapest in 2007. The programme provides a unique learning opportunity for young specialists from developing countries. FAO provides technical advice on the selection of the fellows and participates in training activities. To date, a total of 138 students have completed their degrees under the programme.

12 June 2014, Budapest, Hungary