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Balassi Institute

Balassi Institute is a network of cultural matchmakers, Hungarian centers of culture in 23 countries and all seeking to link up artists, academics, arts and culture professionals and audiences in processes of exchange and bridgebuilding between societies. It is an agency overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but enjoying substantial autonomy to promote Hungarian and Central European culture, often through collaborative efforts - a principle especially relevant in a scene as saturated with great productions as New York City and the United States. As the only US representation of the Balassi network, the Hungarian Cultural Center in New York attempts to present the multicultural past and present of Hungarian arts and society to American audiences while also inviting professionals and artists from the United States to engage with their Hungarian counterparts back home. The more Center succeeds in fostering Transatlantic cultural dialogues, the more it is fulfilling its principal role.

Dedicated to enhancing knowledge and appreciation of Hungarian culture, the Hungarian Cultural Center organizes and supports a wide spectrum of events that celebrate Hungary's past, present and future. HCC's ultimate goal is to bring attention to the great achievements in Hungarian art and culture while encouraging collaborations between Hungarians and New Yorkers.

The Hungarian Cultural Center was founded by the Hungarian Ministry of Culture in 2001 as part of Hungary's mission to promote cultural diplomacy abroad. The center operates out of its offices on 52nd Street, in the building of the Consulate General of Hungary. Programs are organized with partners in academia and culture, including both venerable and cutting edge New York and other US institutions, as well as the organizations of Hungarian Americans. We emphasize the importance of appearing in multiple spaces and with multiple profiles, trying to do justice to the complex and fascinating mix that is Hungarian culture.

Zita Mara Vadász, Director, Cultural Attaché. As the Director of the Hungarian Cultural Center since February 2017 she is overseeing the center's cultural and academic programming and coordinating the satellite programming with external partners related to the center. Zita studied at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and holds an MA in Political Science. Specializing in cultural policy, she joined Balassi Institute in 2010, where she acted as liaison officer for Hungarian cultural centers abroad and worked on cultural projects. Since November 2011, she has been overseeing cultural programming at the Center. In the past years she worked on and launched various cultural and creative projects in New York City and the US. In 2013 she was involved in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival's Hungarian Heritage program as a special event coordinator and member of the communication team. In 2014 together with Grammy Award winner Frank London she curated the Glass House Project (currently active as the Glass House Orchestra), a musical experiment that brought together 8 contemporary musicians who revisited and reimagined Hungarian Jewish musical traditions. In 2015 she launched Animated Spirits: New Animation from Europe, the annual animated short film festival of European Cultural Institutes in New York City, also she was co-curating Pop Up Budapest, a series of events that unfolded in over two weeks in NYC and DC, showcasing what Budapest as a cultural metropolis and hub has to offer. In 2016 together with Glowing Bulbs Visual Art Collective and the DUMBO Improvement District she curated UNITY, a large scale video mapping, projected on a 15000 square feet surface of the Manhattan Bridge on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Márton Szegedi, Program Manager. Márton has a graduate degree in Sociology and during his academic time, he specialized in the study of culture and arts with a particular focus of interest on music. Prior to beginning his assignment at the Center, he was an associate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary as a cultural consultant, providing backline support for Hungarian diplomatic missions and cultural institutions with their cultural programming. Questions related to programming, tickets and attending, as well as general content inquiries, please contact Márton at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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