LIFE & FAMILY
As she approaches the first anniversary of her new role, we meet the Ambassador of Hungary to Singapore, H.E. JUDIT PACH, to find out how the job is going – and to get her thoughtsoneverything f rom memo r ab l e encounters with world leaders to the best vegan food on the island.
How long have you been an ambassador, and how did you get started in the role? I started my first posting as ambassador in January 2015, in Jakarta. Previously, I was working as the Head of the International Communication Office of the Hungarian Prime Minister. In 2014, Hungary started a new foreign policy with a very strong trade and economy focus; the newly chosen Foreign Minister was looking for agile young ambassadors with a business mindset who could boost our bilateral trade relations, especially in Southeast Asia. I wanted to go to Indonesia as a diplomat and he asked me to be the ambassador instead. After finishing my posting in Indonesia, I became ambassador to Singapore, since economic and business diplomacy is even stronger here. Did you always intend to have a political career? No, I never really wanted to go into politics. I studied economics and wanted to go into international business, but immediately after finishing my second university degree, I got an offer to work in the international press department of the President – of course, this was an offer I couldn’t refuse, and since then I’ve stayed in the government. You’re 39 – are there pros and cons of being an ambassador at such a young age? What reaction do you get from people? When I started my career, most people didn’t believe it when I said that I was the ambassador; they assumed I’d used the wrong word and would ask, “What work do you do at the embassy?” In a sense, this is a benefit, because usually people underestimate you as a young woman – so it’s easier to surprise them and to reach the outcomes you want in meetings. In our field of work, it’s important to have a broad network and to be known, so it’s also a benefit to stick out from the crowd and to get noticed (in a positive sense, of course). You can be sure that, in most places, everyone knows that among the elderly gentlemen in dark suits, the little young blonde ambassador is the Hungarian!
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