Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, handed over honorary citizen of Budapest titles on Thursday at a ceremony celebrating Capital City Day coinciding with the launch of a two-year series of celebrations marking the approaching 150th anniversary of the unification of Budapest.
Titles were awarded to musician László Dés, historian János Gyurgyák, actress Dorottya Udvaros, and author Pál Závada among others. The late architect Bálint Nagy, a Kossuth and Ybl Miklos laureate, and the late human rights activist Jenő Setét, who was awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Prize in his lifetime, were honoured posthumously. Karácsony called the recipients “the good face of Budapest” and representatives of the city’s diversity. He said Budapest had preserved “the remnants” of Hungary’s “civic ethos”. Civic ethos, he added, was about “the search for truth and solutions” rather than “looking for scapegoats”, and he highlighted the value of solidarity “in times of peace and certainly in times of crisis”. The mayor added that Budapest residents would not be able to endure “this long, shivering winter” any other way than showing each other solidarity. “This city’s greatness lies in its diversity and our conviction that we who believe in humanity, fairness, civil courage and solidarity, have a better story to tell,” Karácsony said.