Former Hungarian ambassador honored with Gwanghwa Medal

Bomi Yoon

Former Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Mozes Csoma delivers a speech after receiving the Gwanghwa Medal, the highest order for diplomatic service merit, at Karoli Gaspar University in Budapest, Nov. 8. Courtesy of Mozes Csoma

By Kwon Mee-yoo

Former Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Mozes Csoma was honored with the Gwanghwa Medal by Korea earlier this month during a ceremony at Karoli Gaspar University in Budapest.

Csoma, a Korean studies scholar who served as Hungary’s envoy to Korea from 2018 to 2022, received the medal in recognition of his contributions towards fortifying Korea-Hungary relations. The medal is the highest level of the Order of Merit for diplomatic service.

During his tenure in Seoul, his efforts were instrumental in the establishment of several key initiatives, including the launch of a direct flight between Budapest and Seoul in 2019 as well as the opening of the Liszt Institute — Hungarian Cultural Center in Seoul the same year, creating a hub for cultural exchange and understanding.

He played a crucial role in arranging the visit of then-Korean President Moon Jae-in to Budapest in 2021, marking a significant milestone in bilateral relations between Korea and Hungary, fostering political and economic cooperation.

Beyond his diplomatic endeavors, Csoma has been an avid promoter of Korean studies in Hungary. After concluding his ambassadorial term in July 2022, he continued his commitment to academia, establishing the Department of Korean Studies at Karoli Gaspar University in May 2023.

This is the second Korean studies department in Hungary, following the first Korean department at Eotvos Lorand University, also established by Csoma at his alma mater, in 2008.

He also wrote several books on the history of Korea-Hungary relations in English and Korean, including “From North Korea to Budapest,” which takes a deeper look into the participation of North Korean students in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.

A handful of dignitaries attended the award ceremony at Karoli Gaspar University on Nov. 8, including Korean Ambassador to Hungary Hong Kyu-dok, Chairman of the Korea-Hungary Friendship Association Roh Jae-hun, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly and Vice President of Karoli Gaspar University Zsolt Nemeth.

Csoma currently serves as the head of Korean studies department at Karoli Gaspar.

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