On May 14, 2022, the world watched as Hungary inaugurated Katalin Novák as its youngest president and the first woman ever to hold the office. Novák then made a pledge no other newly inaugurated head of state has ever made.
As President, I will strengthen the Hungarian people through my personal convictions. Through a set of values based on Christianity, in encouraging the transmission of life, the upbringing of children in love, the protection of human life and the family. Respect for one another, encouragement for the weak.
Such a scenario would have been unthinkable during the decades of godless, anti-family Soviet rule. But under the leadership of Viktor Orbán and Katalin Novák, the country is experiencing a great awakening to the fundamental truths so long repressed by Soviet ideology. In Hungary’s constitution of 2011, it made an astonishing admission about the nation’s past and its hope for the future.
We hold that after the decades of the twentieth century which led to a state of moral decay, we have an abiding need for spiritual and intellectual renewal…. We believe that our children and grandchildren will make Hungary great again with their talent, persistence and moral strength.
How could such renewal be achieved? The constitution left no doubt: “We hold that the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence, and that our fundamental cohesive values are fidelity, faith and love.” Accordingly, “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nation’s survival.”
No one has done more to implement Hungary’s constitutional commitment than Katalin Novák. Prior to becoming president, she served as State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs, and then as the country’s first Minister of Family Affairs. She also partnered with us at the International Organization for the Family to hold the 2017 World Congress of Families in Budapest. In a statement explaining why Hungary was sponsoring the Congress, she noted that “after 40 years of communist dictatorship” and another “20 years of transitions in government,… our country and Hungarian people found themselves in a crisis,” and “we decided to rebuild our country on strong foundations.”
Family is the cradle and maintainer of life, and it is our duty to protect and strengthen it…. Supporting and strengthening families on a continuous basis allows for our nation’s stability…. For the Hungarian government, family is the foundation stone for our choice of values and the guideline for our political decisions. Families show how strong a nation is. If families are weak, then the nation is weak, too. If families are strong, a strong nation may also be achieved.
At the Budapest World Congress, Prime Minister Orbán announced an initiative he hoped would have an impact far beyond the borders of Hungary.
The Hungarian government… has… decided that 2018 will be the Year of Families. Our new action plan—which is so fresh that the ink is still not dry on it, as we adopted it at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting—is not the first of its kind, nor the last. I sincerely hope that it will have an impact not only on Hungary, but, as a good example, also on the entire region.
Hungary’s example was magnified even beyond the region thanks to the thousands attending our World Congress of Families from around the globe. It even caught the attention of Tucker Carlson who, having earlier praised Orbán for not “abandoning Hungary’s young people to the hard-edged libertarianism of Soros and the Clinton Foundation,” traveled to Budapest in August 2021 to meet with the Prime Minister and broadcast the show. Months later in February 2022, Tucker released his documentary on Hungary.
As the nation continues to rebuild based on what President Novák has called “family [as] the foundation stone,” its visionary leaders are indeed showing the world how to make every year “the Year of Families.”