The Hungarian government and the State of Indiana have signed a higher education agreement, based on which another US university may launch training programmes in Budapest, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told the Hungarian news agency by telephone.

The Minister said Hungary is required to stand its ground amidst the dramatic changes of the world economy in a tough struggle, and therefore the quality of higher education and the quality of experts that Hungarian higher education is able to train fundamentally affects the country’s competitiveness.

It is, in consequence, in Hungary’s best interest that Hungarian higher education institutions develop cooperation with foreign universities which represent the highest standards, he pointed out.

He said that the University of Notre Dame operating in the State of Indiana is one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the United States which has a history of 176 years and is ranked 150th in the world in 2018.

Mr Szijjártó highlighted that there is a long-standing educational cooperation scheme dating back to two decades between the University of Notre Dame and the Pázmány Péter Catholic University which was previously limited to the launch of minor common programmes and professor exchanges.

“Now, however, we have managed to conclude an agreement pursuant to which the University of Notre Dame will launch three of its world-class training programmes in Budapest from September 2019”, namely chemical engineering, civil engineering and mechatronics programmes will start in cooperation with the Pázmány Péter Catholic University, he explained.

The Foreign Minister highlighted that in exchange the Pázmány Péter Catholic University will launch a programme related to sustainable development which was accredited by the Holy See.

He pointed out that in order for the cooperation of the universities to be elevated to a higher level and to allow the University of Notre Dame to start training programmes in Budapest, in accordance with the new higher education legislation, an inter-state agreement had to be concluded which was signed by Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb.

The Minister took the view that the agreement “has significance pointing beyond itself” as it also strengthens the whole of the Hungarian higher education system.

With these world-class technical training programmes the Hungarian investment environment will also gain in strength as students graduating from technical programmes are always in great demand, he said. He added that it will be a letter of recommendation for the community of foreign investors that the University of Notre Dame conducts training programmes in Budapest.

According to Mr Szijjártó, this may lead to the enhancement of the country’s competitiveness and a further improvement in the view the investor community holds regarding Hungary.

He also said that “the development of Hungarian-Indiana relations speaks for itself”: last year the volume of trade increased by 96 per cent, several companies from Indiana are preparing further investments in Hungary, and with this higher education cooperation they managed to bring to Budapest three world-class training programmes.

“We achieved all this against the background that this cooperation was only formalised through the signing of an agreement last year”, the Foreign Minister said.