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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.

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Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi

PhD, co-founder and a member of the Board and volunteer

My most important task as a volunteer in the School of Public Life is the financial management of the organization. Besides, I also take part in organizing and implementing training programs, I offer support to civil organizations with their strategic planning, I coordinate participatory action research projects 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

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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.

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Júlia Vujovits

Education Methodology Officer

I coordinate, develop and deliver trainings, workshops, games and other educational activities. The School of Public Life is an essential initiative that supports democracy and active citizenship by sharing knowledge and experience. I like to work here because my tasks are creative and diverse, and I can be a member of a great community.

I studied Sociology and Gender Studies at Eötvös Loránd University, my research areas were Hungarian men’s movements and feminist urban planning. I worked at the Foundation for Democratic Youth in the field of democratic education and development of debate culture for 8 years.

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Anna DánieL

Financial Assistant and Volunteer

In the School of Public Life I am responsible for finances and administration. 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”.

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Barbara Gecse

Education Coordinator

As the education coordinator, I take part in the technical and operational organization of training programs, film clubs and events. I am responsible for providing the perfect conditions for trainers and participants during our events. I am very happy to be part of the team’s unique activity and  the civil society sector.

I am currently a Master’s student in Sociology at ELTE, and I did my undergraduate studies in Cluj-Napoca, where I mainly focused on social anthropology, Roma minorities and integration strategies. I have worked as a volunteer with several organisations internationally, coordinating youth exchanges, and working at the Time Bank network promoting environmental protection and sustainable living.

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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.

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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.

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Chair of the School of Public Life Foundation’s Board, Zsófia Makádi pursued her studies in the fields of economics and international communications. Currently she is working at the NIOK Foundation, where she has filled in roles in finance, communications and fundraising while working several years at Artemisszió Foundation and Habitat for Humanity as well. Previously she taught marketing and business communications. Her personal mission is to expand the opportunities for charitable action, and to call for the recognition of happiness induced by charity work. Currently she serves in advisory roles for civil society organizations and Lutheran communities regarding fundraising and communications.

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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