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Interview with the Ambassador of Chile to Hungary

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Our conversation with Her Excellency Veronica Chahin, Ambassador of Chile to Hungary, poses a number of issues regarding the relations between Hungary and Chile. 

The following dialogue emerged with the Ambassador of Chile:

Can your Excellency speak about your studies and practical life?

I studied at the Jeanne d’Arc School in France and obtained a human rights diploma from the University of Santiago in Chile. I have completed my master studies in management, international studies and security and defense studies. I speak English, French and Swedish. I began my studies at the Chilean Diplomatic Academy in 1985, where I worked in several positions in the field of multilateral security, multi-lateral political administration and the foreign policy department of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I served as deputy director of Antarctica to develop the new basic system that governs this important national sector.

I have participated in numerous international conferences and negotiations abroad, for example in The Hague within the United Nations, Geneva, Qatar, Sanda and New York, as well as in multilateral conferences on topics such as natural disasters, women and humanitarian assistance.

This was before I was nominated as an ambassador by the former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, where I was appointed as an accredited ambassador to my country in Bosnia and Herzegovina before my arrival in Hungary. I have previously served in the Chilean Embassy in Washington and The Hague and served as Consul General in Mendoza, Bariloche, and I was a  Consul in Amsterdam and Deputy Representative of the Conference on Disarmament.

 Can you tell us about the importance of the National Day for the people in Chile?

Chile is the country of pride in multiculturalism. It stretches over 6,000 km on land to reach the Antarctica in the South Pole. It is a very beautiful country with five time zones and they say that God has put all what remains in this place when he created the universe.

Chile is an open “laboratory” for the world. It is one of the world’s driest and cleanest deserts. It has one of the highest inactive volcanoes in America, the Ojos del Salado, along with extensive marine protected areas and nature reserves to preserve the vegetative and animal world.

There are also eight ethnic groups living in Chile, Robinson Crusoe Island and Juan Fernandez Island in the Pacific Ocean, also the island of Raba Nui that is known as “Easter” , these islands link us to the existed cultures on the other side of the ocean. 

Ambassador Veronica Chahin

How do you describe the Chilean-Hungarian relations and their development prospects?

The relationship is based on mutual interests, and it is growing and developing, and bilateral relations are mutually reinforcing.

Trade relations between the two countries have been growing steadily, as a result of the Hungarian government’s policy of opening up to the south, we can say that it has a positive outcome and it has been credited with reducing the long distances in the world.

Traditionally, in the cultural field, programs and reciprocal visits are carried out, even the Chilean poet / writer Nobel Laureate in literature Pablo Neruda has written a book entitled “Eating in Hungary”. There is growing interest in the Spanish language in Hungary (comes the second after English).

In the field of science and technology, Hungarian scientists have undertaken many missions at the volcano of Ojos del Salado , where they are looking for data relevant to information that allows for proposals of various interests in the scientific fields. In the field of innovation, many Hungarian youth with innovative ideas has won projects through the “Start Up Chile” program, one of the most important programs in the world.

Speaking of the educational field, an agreement has been reached between the Hungarian Universities Presidency Conference and the Association of Regional Universities, which includes 22 Chilean Universities. 

The so-called “imports and bridges” have been signed and these agreements includes such as “Working Holiday Visa”. From day to day young people from both countries are interested in learning more about the other country. All in order to create a stable base to ensure the continuation of bilateral relations.

We are currently working on the arrival of the first batch of Chilean students to study in Hungary, thanks to the Hungarian government scholarship program Stipendium Hungaricum, as well as the establishment of the first stakes for the establishment of joint ventures that could benefit Hungarian companies from Chile as having free trade agreements with 64 different countries.

What are your impressions regarding the similarity of the social and cultural life between Hungary and Chile?

After three years of my presence in this wonderful country I think that despite the distance from Chile to Hungary there are still so many common features.

Both countries are “medium-sized” and each belongs to a regional group whose inhabitants have learned to return to their feet after facing difficult times. Over time, both countries have faced difficult challenges from a historical and geographic point of view. 

The people in both countries are active people, doing everything possible to improve the situation of their families and the future of their generation.

Chile and Latin American countries have been an example of the coexistence of religions and cultures . Can you tell us about the common life within these groups?

Being Chilean means that you are an immigrant. For example, I am a descendant of Palestinian-Arab origin. I live in Chile, the largest group of Palestinian origin outside the motherland, with about 400,000 people, which is a good advantage from the point of view of diplomatic relations.

I feel that in one way or another these ancient cultures are passed down from generation to generation. I also believe that new generations are following the path of their fathers and continue to contribute to the development and improvement of Chile’s lives in the areas that need it. 

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