H. Exc. Ms Katalin Bogyay is President of UNESCO’s General Conference since 2011. Since September 2009 Katalin Bogyay is Hungary’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO in Paris. Her professional life has been highly connected to UNESCO. She hails from the fields of communication, culture and education. In 1998 as a London based television producer she took part in the international communication campaign for the UNESCO World Conference on Science that was held in Budapest. As Hungary’s State Secretary for International Affairs at the Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education (2006-2009) she worked on all Hungarian UNESCO-related topics and with Hungary’s National Commission of UNESCO. At the UNESCO General Conference in 2007 she presided as one of the Vice-Chairs of the Cultural Committee. In 2009 she acted as one of the Vice-Presidents of the General Conference.
Ms Bogyay is an active and committed cultural bridge builder who is regularly invited as a key-note speaker, a chair of conferences and a lecturer on cultural diplomacy and intercultural dialogue all over the world. In 2009 she was invited to present the Regional Report in Confintea VI. Conference in Brazil. She has chaired and given speeches in many international UNESCO conferences (The Role of Women in Intercultural Dialogue, International Literacy Day, Culture-Arts-Music- promoting Sustainable Development, NGO conference for Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development, The Role of NGOs in Intangible Heritage). In the second half of 2010 Ms Bogyay was the President of the Electoral Group II. In 2011 she represents the Hungarian Presidency of the European Union in the EU Group. Ms Bogyay has produced and organized a number of cultural events in UNESCO celebrating the Rapprochement of Cultures.
Ms Bogyay obtained both her university degree in Economics (1978) and her postgraduate diploma in Journalism (1981) in Budapest. She also holds an MA in International Communications (1994) from the University of Westminster, London and read Counselling (1995) at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation in London.
She has been writing music, theatre and art reviews since 1979. She started to work in 1983 for the Hungarian Television as a TV presenter and producer in the Evening News Programme and in the Arts and Culture section.
Following the political transition in 1990 she was offered a scholarship at the BBC (known as the Know How Fund) to study media in democracy by the British Government. Following that, a scholarship offered by Austria’s Foreign Ministry made it possible for her to go to ORF, an Austrian television channel. Between 1993 and 1994 she studied International Communications in London as a Chevening Scholar and Fellow, thanks to another grant from the British Government. She lived in London for thirteen years. During the 1990s she was involved in various international and Hungarian TV and radio programmes.
In 1999 Ms Bogyay became a diplomat and began working for the Hungarian Ministry for Culture. As the Director, in 1999, she opened the Hungarian Cultural Centre in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. She masterminded and produced Magyar Magic (2003-04), a year long cultural festival in the UK. In 2005 she was awarded the Knight’s Cross Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for her achievements in international culture. In 2007 she was invited by the London School of Economics and the Financial Times Business to contribute to a new publication about the EU, entitled 50+ Top Thinkers about Europe. In 2009 she was awarded the Aphelandra, the Humanitarian Prize, for her international promotion of dialogue between peoples and cultures. She was invited to become the Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) in London. She is an honorary member of the London-based Imago-International Psychoanalytical Society. Also, she is a co-founder of the Liszt Academy Network. She has published several books. A documentary film was made (2002) and an interview book was published (2010) about her. She was given a Honorary Doctorate (Dlitt) by Glasgow University in 2012 for her contribution in intercultural dialogue.
Her husband is a lawyer in Budapest and her son is a lawyer trainee in the City in London.