Lawyer and civic leader Dr. Ildikó Hekáné Szondi has dedicated her life to making a difference in her community and country. As Vice-Chair for Culture, Education, Tourism and Youth for Szeged, Hungary’s third-largest city and an educational hub, she organizes events to inform and inspire citizen engagement. Embracing the nonreligious, common-sense moral code The Way to Happiness, she has worked to make it known in her city through events and seminars, and particularly supports Precept 21: “I believe the Hungarian way should be Flourish and Prosper.”

Video Transcript:

I love the rich culture of our country. And I love the commitment to that culture by our people. Even before our “social transition” began in 1989, I organized thousands of events, concerts and theater performances. I believe these inspire people to be themselves and also to improve themselves. I studied law and now, as a public official, I use that knowledge to help enhance our culture and our community. In fact, one of the greatest dilemmas we face today is an overregulated legal system which worships only rules and order and gives zero flexibility. This puts up barriers instead of providing people with a framework to grow. And the result is that our initiative is blocked, our creativity suffocated, and soon our lives can go to pieces. So, in the face of this, I strive to live a useful life and to create a society where the individual is most important. Because, I believe that people deserve to be, and can be, happier!

I regularly meet your members through my event series called “Civil Coffee House.” It’s where we organize events that help educate and inspire people to become more engaged. I always want to show everything good that is going on in town, and that most definitely includes you and specifically The Way to Happiness. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? But even more importantly, I believed others needed to know about it and so together we promoted the program. We held events and seminars covering each of the precepts to tell everyone about it. I will never forget your attitude to our work, the support for each other and your belief that anything can be achieved. If you think something is important, you persist. I believe we should all live like this in every part of our lives. I believe the Hungarian way should be “Flourish and Prosper”!

The Way to Happiness can bring help to anyone caught in the system and show them a way out. And if you can help just one man rid himself of unhappiness, it must be a worthwhile way. With one more individual now free from uncertainty or hopelessness, then another and another, next the community will feel the same. Then as a team we can live much better lives. So while you can describe the 21 precepts as “rules and order” for living, this time the “rules” have a new goal: Happiness!

Any means can be used to make less of our hopes and dreams. In Central Europe and in our nation, we have experienced oppression, but there is a way to find happiness. It’s time to no longer feel sorry for ourselves.

We have a lot of talented people who, if freed from burdens, could become so much more successful. You are giving us here today a home of knowledge. And so I wish for you to take this opportunity so that we can break free of the trap and get rid of the invisible strings holding us down. And if we do that, then we will soar to reach our highest potential. Thank you.