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Our Team

Ágnes Fernengel

Director

As Director of the School of Public Life, I am responsible for bringing together the team’s diverse work: trainings, entry-level programmes, strategic planning, research and publishing. I work to ensure that the School of Public Life is effective in supporting grassroot organisations and the participation of oppressed people in public life. At the same time I try to make sure that our team works well together.

I deliver training courses on how to build a group working for social change (starting a groups, recruiting members, community-based organisation building and strategic planning). I support organisers and activists to become trainers and to pass on their knowledge. I provide strategic planning and advice to other organising community groups. I am happy to work to strengthen these initiatives and to bring together people who want to work for a just society.

As co-founder of Deviszont Community Space, I started a pedagogical programme on civic education for vocational students in Kispest. I have been involved in several educational organisations to defend CEU and as an activist for the Student Network for Open and Free Higher Education. I studied sociology and anthropology at ELTE and then at CEU, working on global inequalities, the transformation of the education system in Hungary.

Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi

PhD, co-founder, Chair of the Board and volunteer

In addition to chairing the Board of the School of Public Life, I am involved in the pedagogical work of the organization as a trainer, advisor and mentor. I coordinated several participatory action research projects and I write and edit books and publications. I love working here because I can contribute to a more democratic and happy Hungary with wonderful and diligent colleagues.

I studied Cultural Anthropology at Eötvös Loránd University, then I completed my PhD at the City University of New York. My doctoral thesis has also been published as a book in Hungarian: “Justice on the streets: Responses to the housing crisis in Hungary from above ad below.” In the past I worked as a youth worker and as an intercultural trainer at the Artemisszió Foundation. In 2009 I co-founded a grassroot housing advocacy group, called The City is for All. In 2016 I was selected as the 36th Hungarian Ashoka fellow for my work with Hungarian social movements.

Tessza’s publications

Flóra Bauer

Head of Education

My main role is to plan and coordinate our education programme including trainings and other events. I am involved in the development of our training repertoire, I design new courses, keep in touch with our trainers’ community and coordinate methodological developments. I also work as a trainer for many courses in the School of Public Life.

It is a great pleasure to be a member of the School of Public Life and to be able to contribute to active citizenship and strong social participation.

I earned my master’s degree in Intercultural Psychology and Pedagogy at Eötvös Loránd University, focusing on the situation of minorities. I got acquainted with the School of Public Life through my education and I became a regular visitor of trainings and events. I have been working as a trainer at the “Adventures and Dreams” community since 2013, gaining most of my experience at organizing program during summer camps for disadvantaged children.

Anna DánieL

Volunteer

Previously in charge of finance and administration at the School of Public Life, I now help the team with publications and other ad hoc tasks. I participate in the School’s work as a volunteer because I completely identify with its mission and principles.

 I enjoy working here, I like to make good use of my knowledge and I can learn techniques and topics that are important for both and society as a whole. I am currently retired, but in my active professional life I worked as a civil servant for 42 years. As an economist my area was foreign relations.

ZÓRA MOLNÁR

Participatory Action Research Coordinator

My role at the School of Public Life is to coordinate participatory action research projects, trainings and workshops. I like to work in the School of Public Life because with our help people who previously had no means to speak up and advocate for their interest can effectively protect their rights.

I studied Social Psychology at Eötvös Loránd University, then Public Administration at Central European University. During my research I mostly studied the psychological processes behind prejudiced behavior and the policy measuresaiming to decrease social inequalities. For two and a half years I worked as the community organizer of a disabled people’s advocacy group called “Living independently – in community”.

Lamina Sára

Education Coordinator

As an education coordinator, I am responsible for the administrative background of the training, liaising with participants and ensuring the right conditions are in place. I am very happy to be working at the School of Public Life because I believe that the work of the School is a fundamental contribution to solidarity initiatives.
I graduated in Sociology from Corvinus University and was a member of the College for Advanced Studies in Social Theory during my university years. During my studies I had the opportunity to learn about several critical movements, for example postcolonial criticism and feminism.
I love working with people. I have also worked in the programme of the Kesztyűűgyár Community House for children in the 8th district and in the programme of the EMMA Association for Ukrainian refugee mothers. These experiences have taught me how important it is to work in an equal relationship to promote shared thinking and informed decision-making.

Lili Hanna Seres

Communications Officer

At the School of Public Life, I am responsible for getting the word out about our trainings and other events. It’s a very motivating job to communicate on behalf of such a unique and inspiring organisation: I want as many people as possible to know about the School of Public Life. It is particularly important to build alliances and to work with Roma and disadvantaged citizens.

I graduated from Eötvös Loránd University with a Master’s degree in Litarture, where I am currently a doctoral student working on the representation of poverty in contemporary Hungarian literature. In 2019 I published my first book of poems entitled ‘We are Waiting’. I am a member of the Spark Movement since 2022.

Réka FODOR

Financial Officer

As a financial officer at the School of Public Life, I am responsible for day-to-day finance and administration, as well as financial planning and secure financial operations. I have previously worked in the financial-accounting field, which included assisting NGOs and other non-profit organisations with their accounting, financial and administrative processes.

I joined the School of Public Life team because I believe that the education, training, awareness and knowledge provided by the School of Public Life contributes to a better Hungary.

Eszter Tóth

Community Coordinator

As a Community Coordinator, I am responsible for planning and running our entry-level programmes, for example board games about organizing, city walks and film clubs. I am also responsible for coordinating and training the volunteer team.

I graduated as a textile designer from the Moholy University of Art and Design and later earned a qualification as an art therapist at the University of Pécs. In the recent years I have worked on creative graphic design projects, and I am currently leading several groups with an art therapeutic focus. I work at the School of Public Life because I believe in the importance of sharing knowledge about social inequalities, helping vulnerable groups and I strongly believe in the therapeutic power of a sense of belonging to a community.

ZSÓFIA IVANICS

Educator and Social Movements' History Programme Coordinator

As a member of the education team, I am mainly involved in the implementation of our training programmes and other public events, as well as contributing to the development of the content and methodology of our courses and workshops. At the School of Public Life, I am also responsible for coordinating the educational programmes related to the History of our Struggles, a social movement database that is a collection of Hungarian protest events since the 1990s. The greatest aspect of this task is that by mobilising the materials of this unique database in our educational activities, it is possible to discover the roots of our own social movements and draw strength from them to feed the struggles of the present.

Previously, I studied sociology at Corvinus University of Budapest, obtained my master’s degree in criminology at ELTE, followed by a PhD in law enforcement studies. In 2016, I participated in one of the first critical pedagogy trainings of the School of Public Life, and shortly afterwards I volunteered as a facilitator in a six-month training on social inequalities with women prisoners. In addition to my work at the School of Public Life, I also work as a university lecturer and researcher on criminal policy issues, studying the links between the criminal justice system and social inequalities. Since its inception, I have been a member and volunteer of FECSKE, an informal group of prisoners, their relatives, criminal justice experts and other activists who aim to support self-organised advocacy by prisoners and their families.

Márton Szabó

Educator and coordinator of methodology development

I work as an educational staff member at the School of Public Life, my main tasks are holding trainings and coordinating our programs that take place outside of Budapest.
I have graduated as a cultural anthropologist at ELTE University. In addition to my work at the School of Public Life, I hold leisure programs for Roma youth and children using the pedagogical method of social circus, teaching juggling and other circus arts. My work with young people is guided by the principles of critical pedagogy, and I am convinced that awakening and stimulating the endless desire in young people to learn, can lead to positive changes on their entire personality.

I also work in nature education, and I am the founder of a community permaculture farm by the hills of Börzsöny, where we are experimenting ways to a sustainable lifestyle. My hobby is the forest.

A Közélet Iskolája Alapítvány alapítója Szántó Diana, kulturális antropológus, az Artemisszió Alapítvány elnöke és szakmai vezetője. Tagja a Polányi Globális és Regionális Kutatóközpontnak, kutatási területe a civil társadalom és a nemzetközi fejlesztés Nyugat-Afrikában. Érdeklődési területébe tartozik még a nemzetközi migráció, a globális nevelés és az interkulturális kapcsolatok.
Szociológiát és antropológiát tanult az ELTE-n majd a CEU-n, globális egyenlőtlenségekkel, az oktatási rendszer és a magyar állam átalakulásával foglalkozott. 

Varga
Andrea

A Közélet Iskolája Alapítvány kuratóriumának tagja, Miskolc alpolgármestere. Civil aktivistaként és szakszervezeti vezetőként kezdte a közéleti munkát. 2019-ben civilként lett az ellenzéki összefogás eredményeként önkormányzati képviselő, majd alpolgármester. Jelenleg a humán területért felelős alpolgármesterként dolgozik. Elköteleződött a részvételi folyamatok, a klímavédelem és a kultúra ügye mellett.

Balog
Gyula

Balog Gyula a Közélet Iskolája kuratóriumának egyetlen férfi és szegénységben élő tagja. Gyula 12 évesen kezdte a politikai aktivizmust. 15 évesen már képzéseket tartott, majd az agitációs szervezői és képzési munkában mélyedt el. Az Anonim Alkoholisták közösségében vállalt különböző szervezői feladatokat és új csoportok létrejöttében segített. A Város Mindenkié csoportnak alakulása óta tagja, közösségszervezéssel és képzések tartásával foglalkozik, emellett érzékenyítő programot koordinál, elsősorban diákoknak.

Ivány Borbála a Közélet Iskolája kuratóriumának tagja, jogász, a Magyar Helsinki Bizottság munkatársa. A fogvatartottakkal való hatósági bánásmód vizsgálatával, diszkriminációs ügyekkel foglalkozik. Tagja a Gyűlölet-bűncselekmények Elleni Munkacsoportnak. A Város Mindenkié által létrehozott Utcajogász alapítója. A Közélet iskolájában a stratégiai tervezésben vesz részt.

JAGODITS
ESZTER

Jagodits Eszter a Közélet Iskolája kuratóriumi tagja, gyógypedagógus, a Deviszont Közösségi Tér alapító tagja és munkatársa. Pedagógiai pályáját egy második esély középiskolában kezdte, itt szerzett tapasztalatot a fiatalokkal való munkáról. Részt vett iskolai érzékenyítő foglalkozások kidolgozásában és megvalósításában, dolgozott migráns hátterű, hátrányos helyzetű és szerhasználó fiatalokkal is.
Munkája során fontosnak tartja, hogy olyan csoportokkal dolgozzak együtt, akik nem jutnak hozzá a minőségi oktatáshoz, anyagi lehetőségeik vagy kulturális hátterük miatt nem részesülnek egyenlően a különböző szolgáltatásokból.

Member of the Board of the School of Public Life Foundation, Deputy Mayor of Miskolc. In 2019, as a result of the opposition coalition, she became a municipal councillor and then deputy mayor.

She is currently working as deputy mayor in charge of the humanities. Andrea is committed to participatory processes, climate protection and culture.

Diana
Szántó

Founder of the School of Public Life Foundation, Diana Szántó is a cultural anthropologist and the professional leader and chair of the Artemisszió Foundation. She is a member of the Karl Polanyi Research Center for Global Social Studies, her research focuses on civil society and international development in Western Africa. Diana is also interested in the issues of international migration, global education and intercultural relationships.

Gyula
Balog

He is the only male member of the organizations, and the only member of the Board living in poverty. Gyula started his political activism 44 years ago, at the age of 12. Already at age 15 he held trainings and later he got involved in the organizational and educational tasks of agitation and propaganda. Gyula was also responsible for various organizational tasks at the Alcoholics Anonymous and helped new groups to form. He is a member of the City is for All since its foundation. From 2015 on he has been working on community building and training programs, and coordinates awareness-raising events mainly for students.

She is the School of Public Life’s Board member and a lawyer working at The Hungarian Helsinki Committee. She deals with matters of discrimination and issues related to the treatment of detainees by authorities. Borbála is a member of the working group against hate crimes. She is the founder of the Streetlawyer Association created by the City is for All. At the School of Public Life, Borbála is involved in strategic planning.

Eszter
Jagodits

Special education teacher, co-founder and co-worker of Deviszont Community Space. She started her career at a second chance secondary school, gaining experience at working with youngsters. She participated in creating and carrying out awareness-raising workshops and also used to work with young people who are disadvantaged, dealing with substance abuse issues or migrants. She believes that it is important to work with groups who do not have access to quality education or do not benefit equally from services because of their financial situation or cultural background.

Volunteers

The work of the School of Public Life is assisted by a dedicated group of volunteers. The main goal of the volunteer program is to bring knowledge about social inequalities and organizing to those who need it most. Therefore we take our activist board game, reading groups or interactive training sessions to marginalized communities. In addition, our volunteers also help with translation, administration and organizing events.

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