Bridging Communities Through Civic Engagement

June 22, 2023

Peter Ujvari’s undergraduate studies in the Culture, Politics and Society (CPS) program led to specializations in political science and nationalism studies, but it was really the civic engagement opportunities at CEU that helped him to realize the world outside of books, even though he spent much of his time in the library. 

Ujvari is from Hungary, and after initially starting his education at the University of Sussex in Brighton, he decided to leave after the first year to go to CEU, which better aligned with his interests in sociology and political science, and also offered a more inclusive environment. “I had heard before I got to CEU that it is known for being inclusive no matter who you are, where you come from, if you have an accent or whatever,” he said. 

“The civic engagement opportunities at CEU made me think about what's out there and what I can do right now., he added. This impulse led him to co-found and organize the Udvar Festival, which is held in Arlo, a village in northeastern Hungary with a prominent Roma population. The festival, which was supported by the Open Society University Network (OSUN) at CEU, is now in its second year 

It brings together artists from multiple backgrounds although mostly people from the Roma arts and crafts, and aims to be a platform that can support diversity and invite people who would not meet otherwise to be in communication with each other. I think it was a very good opportunity which I couldn't have done at another university, so this was very influential,” said Ujvari, noting that his team was supported by CEU staff and faculty to apply for several civic engagement grants for the initiative. He lso participated in the CEU music club, where he organized a charity concert for Ukrainian refugees and for people affected by the war.  

Ujvari credits CEU with helping him to widen his perspective and cherish diversity. “Before CEU, I thought this was just a word, but then I got to know what this means and why it is important.Ujvari also highlighted the critical thinking skills honed at CEU serve both his academics as well as his personal development.  

His advice to incoming students: “Seize every opportunity that you get, including study abroad, which was very important for me.