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Greg Dorey


Part of UK in Hungary

7th December 2010

Gift of Life, Tolerance without Boundaries

I am just travelling slowly back to Budapest through driving snow, having spent the afternoon in the West Hungarian city of Győr. I had discussions with the Mayor (recently made Head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee); the Chairman of the County Council; the “Kisalfold” newspaper, a British investment (who also interviewed me for their next edition); and the Rector of Győr’s impressive and fast-developing University.

But the main reason for the trip was to help open a charity concert, “Gift of Life, Tolerance without Boundaries”, organised by the Rotary Club Hungary at the University. This highlighted in particular their work to help children in Hungary and other regional countries who need treatment for heart complaints. My speech in Hungarian will shortly be available on the British Embassy website. Broadly, I used the opportunity to talk about our work on tolerance, not least the launch of a “Music Against Racism” (ZARE) initiative 18 months ago. There was a ZARE stall at the concert.

There was a great line-up of Hungarian and Slovak, Roma and non Roma music at the concert. But because of the weather I only listened for a while to the lively folk music of Robert Lakatos and the “REV” (ferry) before heading home. There was also a chance to meet an international group of teenagers spending 10 months in the central Hungarian city of Kecskemet courtesy of the Rotary Club – US, Brazilians, Thai, Australian and several other nationalities.

I first came to visit Győr (“city of the four rivers”) in 1989 as a First Secretary working on Political and Economic affairs at the British Embassy. I still have the front page of the “Kisalföld” from the following day with the twin headlines – “Gyula Horn in Strasbourg” (he was then Foreign Minister) and “Greg Dorey in Győr”. This attractive town has come on in leaps and bounds since those days. It has its problems but gives off an aura of prosperity, no doubt linked to the large automotive investments that have been made.