H. E. Ms Katalin Annamária Bogyay, FRSA, FWAAS
H. E. Ms. Katalin Annamária Bogyay is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations in New York since 2015. She served as the Hungarian Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO between 2009 and 2014, and in the capacity of the President of the General Conference of UNESCO (2011-2013) after the unanimous proposal of the 58 Executive Board members, and her unanimous election by the General Conference to that post by the 36th Session.
A tireless and committed bridge-builder and advocate for dialogue throughout her multifaceted professional life, she has occupied the posts of Hungary’s State Secretary for International Affairs for Education and Culture (2006-2009) and the Founding Director of the Hungarian Cultural Centre in Covent Garden, London, UK (1999-2006). She has also led a distinguished career as an international television broadcaster, film and music producer and writer. She is a guest lecturer and speaker at universities and international conferences on Interfaith- and intercultural dialogue, cultural diplomacy, the art of diplomacy, multilateral diplomacy and the UN as a whole. Ambassador Bogyay is a strong advocate for the empowerment of women, the protection of the most vulnerable and of global diversity and a supporter of the UN system, focusing on the Reform Process.
Her roles at the United Nations
As Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Bogyay took a leadership role in various intergovernmental processes and initiatives.
She is a vocal advocate of women’s empowerment – the founder of the Circle of Women Ambassadors at the UN, a member of the Gender Champions Initiative, the Group of Friends of Gender Parity, and Steering Committee member of the Women in Leadership Development mentorship programme.
Ambassador Bogyay has been actively working on bringing the focus of UNESCO to New York. In this spirit, she continued her decade-long activity in the field of science diplomacy in New York, bringing science to the forefront of prevention efforts at the UN. She has been Steering Committee member of the World Science Forum, co-hosting a high-level event on “Science for Peace” on 28 April 2018, at the UN Headquarters. She has been co-hosting the annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science since 2017 at the UN, and has been promoting the recognition of women in science at the UN and nationally as well. Ambassador Bogyay serves as founding member and member of the Steering Committee of the Group of Friends of Water, and Co-Moderated the Water Dialogue aimed at strengthening the implementation of the water-related SDGs. A promoter of global health, she co-facilitated the negotiations on the modalities of the forthcoming high-level meeting on universal health coverage taking place in 2019.
Cultural diplomacy, the promotion of the culture of peace, as well as interreligious and intercultural dialogue have been overarching priorities for the Ambassador. Every year, she participates as moderator and panelist at the High-Level Forum on the Culture of Peace; is an active supporter of the Group of Friends of Culture and Development, moderated the International Prayer Breakfast in 2017, hosted seminars in cooperation with the Berlin Institute for Cultural Diplomacy on multiple occasions, and organizes a Salon series fostering “Dialogue through Arts and Music”. Ambassador Bogyay stands up against anti-Semitism, and for the protection of national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.
Ambassador Bogyay is a vocal supporter an integrated, holistic, coordinated approach to end modern slavery, and works closely with key stakeholders to fight this scourge. In this spirit, she hosted several key conferences and roundtables, including the Global Sustainability Network Conference And Forum On Eradicating Forced Labour, Ending Modern Slavery And Human Trafficking, as well as a roundtable discussion “Preparing for 2017 Review of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons: How to bring partners and ideas together?”
Ambassador Bogyay has been actively involved in efforts to accelerate the UN reform. Under her leadership, Hungary has been proactively engaged in the intergovernmental negotiation processes of Security Council reform and revitalization of the General Assembly. Hungary being member of the ACT (Accountability, Coherence and Transparency) group, she conducted effective outreach as member of the Task Force of the ACT Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes and campaign activity to enlarge the circle of supporters of the Code.
Ambassador Bogyay has been elected Vice-Chair of the UN Women Executive Board for 2019, on the occasion of Hungary’s membership of the Board for 2019-2021, and Vice-chair of the Bureau of Conference of the States Parties of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for the period 2019-2020. She served as Chair of the Bureau of the Meeting of States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), conducting election of new members to the Committee in June 2018. She has also been chairing the United Nations Committee on Conferences in 2016-2017.
Before being appointed Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Bogyay served as President of UNESCO’s General Conference between 2011-2013. Previously, Ambassador Bogyay represented Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe as one of the Deputy Chairpersons of the Cultural Committee at UNESCO’s General Conference in 2007 and Vice-President of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2009, President of Electoral Group II. in 2010, and was elected President of the EU Group in 2011.
In 1998-1999, she was responsible for the international communication of the UNESCO World Science Conference held in Budapest in 1999. Ambassador Bogyay is Member of the Steering Committee of the World Science Forum, which has been set up by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in collaboration with UNESCO as a biannual continuation of UNESCO World Science Conference. Ambassador Bogyay proposed the Forum to travel outside Hungary in every 4 years (2013 - Brazil, 2017 – Jordan, 2021 -South Africa).
Before the United Nations
Ambassador Bogyay began her career as a theatre and music critic and television broadcaster. She was a producer and anchor of the Evening News, founder of the first TV programs dealing with interreligious dialogue , hosted several concerts, galas and interviewed major political and cultural personalities from around the world for the Evening News and on her popular show ‘Katalin Bogyay and Her Guests.’ In 1990, Ms. Bogyay became the first Hungarian television personality to be awarded a “Know How Fund Scholarship” to study media in democracy at the BBC. In 1991, with a scholarship awarded by the Austrian Foreign Office, she worked at ORF (Austrian National Television). In 1993, she was awarded a Chevening scholarship by the U.K. to study for a MA in International Communication and wrote Ms. Bogyay’s masters thesis was entitled: “How small and Eastern-European cultures can make an impact in Britain through the media and well-tailored communication.” In the 1990s, Ms. Bogyay was based in London and worked as an independent television broadcaster and documentary film producer.
She went on to pursue her political career in 1999, working for the Hungarian Ministry for Culture, and in the same year, opened the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, a fashionable cultural hub in London’s Covent Garden for international dialogue for bridging people with different cultures, religions, political views, languages.
For Hungary’s accession to the EU in 2004, Ms. Bogyay masterminded, curated and produced “Magyar Magic,” a seventeen-month-long festival celebrating Hungarian talent throughout the U.K., in which over two-thousand Hungarian and British artists participated in more than five hundred events in thirteen cities.
As State Secretary of Hungary for Education and Culture (2006-2009), she was responsible for UNESCO and the UNESCO National Commission as well. She built a new framework for international collaborations, focusing on dialogue with China, Japan, India, Russia, USA, U.K. and Canada, and developing new collaboration with Middle-Eastern countries and on multilateral diplomacy.
Awards and distinctions
Ambassador Bogyay is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (US). She is an International Advisor to the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD- Berlin, Germany) and the President of Cultural Diplomacy and The Arts program of ICD. She is an International Advisory Board member of iASK-Institute of Advanced Studies (Kőszeg, Hungary), the International Steering Committee member of the World Science Forum. Ms. Bogyay is an Honorary member of the London-based Imago-International Psychoanalytical Society, board member of the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (Budapest State Opera Orchestra), member of Foreign Policy Association (FPA - New York), honorary member of Foreign Press Association (FPA - New York), and was founding member of the Liszt Academy Network in London.
Ambassador Bogyay is a recipient of several high honours, including the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary for her services to Hungarian and international culture and innovative work in cultural diplomacy (2014), the Tree of Peace of UNESCO for her leadership in political, intercultural and interfaith dialogue (2014), the Nehru Gold Medal of UNESCO for her presidency in UNESCO (2013), the Hungarian Chain Bridge Award for her services to Hungarian foreign affairs (2013), the Grand Cross of the Order of Sahametrei by King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia for intercultural cooperation (2013), Officer of the Order of Leopold by King Albert II of Belgium (2008), Aphelandra, a humanitarian prize (2009) and the Knight's Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for her contribution to international culture (2005). Ms. Bogyay was awarded a Diploma of Honour by the member states of UNESCO for her services in the development of international understanding.
She received the Global Citizenship Award from the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation for “embodying the characteristics of honour, intelligence, benevolence, and integrity” (2016). Also was given a special recognition by NGOCSW-NY for her contribution as a woman leader in the UN (2016). She received the “Women of Distinction 2017 – Global Leadership Award in Social Justice/Development” by the Celebrating Women International in 2017, and the Meaningful World Peace Award and the “Spirit of the UN – 2017” Award of the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concern on the occasion of the United Nations Day in 2017.
Ambassador Bogyay has authored several books and publications, including: a biography on Hungarian actress Margit Dajka (1989, Officina Nova, Budapest) as well as another biographical work on János Pilinszky, a Hungarian poet (1990, Officina Nova, Budapest), Találkozásaim a nagyvilágban (‘My encounters around the globe’), a collection of interviews with internationally acclaimed artists, writers and scientists (1996, H.G.& Co., Budapest) and The Voice of Freedom - A szabadság hangja (2006, HCC, London), a compilation of interviews on the subject of the 1956 revolution. In 2007, Ms. Bogyay was selected by the London School of Economics and the Financial Times Business as one of the Top 50 Thinkers for their publication: EU - The Next Fifty Years. In an interview book: A Magyar kultúra szolgálatában (‘Serving Hungarian Culture’, interviewed by Hedvig Dvorszky) (2010, Kairosz, Budapest) she gave an insight into her professional life. The Art of Cultural Diplomacy: Panorama of the Presidency (2013, Espace Cinko - UNESCO, Paris) encompasses her work as the President of UNESCO`s General Conference (2011-13) and Elnökségem története (My Presidency) (2014, Holnap, Budapest) includes essays, interviews, speeches about her Presidency of UNESCO’s General Conference. The book was also published in China by the Yilin Press in 2017. Ms. Bogyay and iASK Institute of Advance Studies Kőszeg published a book A Cry for Freedom: Reflections on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at the UN and Beyond.
She graduated and holds an MA from Economics of Corvinus University, Budapest, a postgraduate degree in Journalism from the Gyorgy Balint Academy of Journalism, Budapest, and a Master of Arts in International Communications from University of Westminster, London. She read counselling at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation, London.
She was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by Glasgow University for promoting cultural diversity and cultural diplomacy throughout the world. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Social Sciences from University of Pannonia, Hungary for her international work in multilateral and cultural diplomacy. Ambassador Bogyay received an Honorary Professor distinction from the Utah Valley University in April 2016.
Her husband is a retired Hungarian lawyer. Their son practices law at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in the City of London, U.K.