István Kardos, Director General, Hungarian Red Cross

  • 1 Dec 2023 11:11 AM
István Kardos, Director General, Hungarian Red Cross
Mr Kardos is the DG of the Hungarian Red Cross, which is Hungary's largest humanitarian organization.

Even though he concluded his studies as a literature teacher, he found his calling in the civil sector, the international organitaion's Hungarian society is flurising under István's leadership who is proud to be in the Director General seat for a bit more than a decade.

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1. Where did you grow up? 

I've lived in several Hungarian cities, I grew up in Kunszentmárton, which is a small town next to a river called Körös. Before moving to Budapest in 2002 for work, I've lived in Szolnok, Kecskemét and Szeged. The letter was the one where I attended university.

2. If you could be an expat anywhere in the world, where would you choose? 

I love to live in Hungary, if I must chose, I would move to a town with a river and mountains nearby. The most important this is that I can see my family and spend time with them. My sister lives in London, it would be nice to be closer to her. 

3. What would you miss most if you moved away from Hungary? 

Its quite difficult to chose, I can tell you my top two, the food and the language. I would definitely miss speaking my mother tounge very much, as well as the traditional dishes we make at home.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do? 

In my opinion Budapest is the most beautiful at night. Looking down to the city from the Buda Castle is a fantastic sight. I once saw it during snowfall, which is even more exhilarating.

5. What is your favourite food? 

I have several favourites, right now I would say it is the rosted goose which is prepared during St. Martin's Day in Hungary.

6. What is your favourite sport / form of exercise? 

I love to run, it gives me the opportunity to think my day through. 

7. What is your favourite place in Hungary? 

The place wich is the most special to me is the Holy Trinity Church of Velemér. It is a quite small, but I have great memories realted to it, and I would highly recommend visiting it.

8. What career other than yours would you love to pursue? 

I would love to be a gardener, I would definitely choose a career which involves nature.  

9. What’s a job you would definitely never want?-

It is probably pluming, anytime I have tried to repair faucets or tubes, they always end up dripping. I wouldn't have much success.

10. Where did you spend your last vacation?

I've spent it in Hungary, in Simontornya, which is a small town in Tolna county. I also went to Croatia for a couple of days with my wife.

11. Where do you hope to spend your next one?

I miss the sea, I would happily go the Adriatic Sea again.

12. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?

As a teenager I loved to listen to the Beastie Boys, they were my favourite band.  

13. Apart from temptation what can't you resist? 

It is a dessert called 'Somlói Galuska', which is a traditional Hungarian dish with walnuts and a sponge cake.

14. Red wine or white? 

I prefer beer, but if I have to chose I would drink a dry red wine.

15. Book or film? 

Books for sure.

16. Morning person or night person? 

I am definitely a morning bird. I am the most energic early in the morning.

17. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about? 

As the Director General of the Hungarian Red Cross I feel most strongly about helping people according to our fundamental principles, which are: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. 

18. Buda or Pest side? 

Pest side.

19. Which achievement in your life are you most pleased about? - 

I am the most proud of my upward social mobility, I was able to get a degree and swiftly climb the ladder of the Hungarian Red Cross despite of my parents' low educational attainment.

20. What would you say is your personal motto? 

I would chose the beginning of a poem titled Winter, from a poet called Attila József: " We should set a big, big fire, so the people can warm up. / Valami nagy-nagy tüzet kéne rakni, hogy melegednének az emberek." This part is important for me, because many people want to make the world a better place with big world-changing ideas, but fall short of doing small good deeds. However, if those little good deeds are added together, those little flames can become a big fire, which all of us can contribute to.

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