'Better Together', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary

  • 24 Jul 2012 9:00 AM
'Better Together', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary
I’m very proud of how inclusive a place the UK is. We welcome all kinds of people: whatever their race, religion or minority group. And there are great benefits from doing that. I believe this attitude is not just good for the people who come to the UK or who live there and are not “traditional Britons”. But that Britain is a much better and more prosperous place because of our open and inclusive attitude. Not perfect, of course. But progressive and improving.

That’s why even in my first months here I’ve been keen to do all I can to get involved with minority groups in Hungary. If they can freely play their role in society I believe that those communities will prosper and that, as in the UK, the country and all its people will benefit.

You might have seen from our website that I’ve been able to participate in a couple of important minority-related events recently. I made a contribution to the Budapest Pride week: opening the film festival and taking part in the Pride picnic. And this week I opened a ceremony to commemorate Hannah Szenes, a young Hungarian Jewish woman who joined the British army and tried to liberate Jewish people in Hungary who were destined for the extermination camps during WW2. It was an important moment to remember the repugnance of anti-Semitism and the importance of standing against it. Very different events. But, to me, equally important and moving.

And then this weekend I had the chance to have a little fun while supporting another important and often overlooked group. I played in a tennis event in which able bodied and wheel chair tennis players teamed up to play “mixed doubles”.

I was amazed by the skill of the wheelchair players. Though disappointed by how much my own tennis game has deteriorated over the last year or so! But it was so much fun. And everyone at the event was so welcoming. I had a great time as you can tell from the photos. Hopefully I’ll be invited back next year. Though I’ll have to work on my game before then.

Source: British Embassy Budapest

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