Friday, March 11, 2011


Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, the Co-Chairman of the Helsinki Commission, met with Member of the Hungarian Parliament, Agnes Osztolykan, on Wednesday, March 7, 2011, to congratulate her on being a recipient of the Department of State’s 2011 International Woman of Courage Award.

 Deputy Osztolykan is the first Romani woman elected to the Hungarian Parliament.

Agnes Osztolykan

Agnes Osztolykan was elected to the Hungarian Parliament in 2010 as a member of Politics Can Be Different (LMP), a new political party founded on the idea of breaking from the traditional system of Hungarian politics and fighting for values that truly matter.

Agnes is one of just four Romani members of the current Hungarian Parliament, and the only Romani woman. As the deputy chair of the Education Committee, Agnes is making a tangible contribution to Hungary’s new education regulations, ensuring that Roma inclusion remains a priority of government programming. She is a strong advocate for vocational training in order to give students viable skills for the labor market.

 Agnes also understands that government does not have all the answers, and is a strong promoter of civil society in Hungary. In addition to her professional work, Agnes is a volunteer teacher at a primarily Roma vocational school in Budapest’s poorer Eighth District.

Agnes began her career working for the Soros Foundation, and then spent six years at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor as head of the Roma Decade Program. She graduated from the University of Miskolc in 1998 with a degree in political science. Agnes was born in Csengersima, a tiny village of 700 residents on the border of Hungary and Romania.

The International Women of Courage Award

To mark International Women's Day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice established the annual International Women of Courage Award in March of 2007 to recognize women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for women's rights and advancement.

 This is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide, and offers a unique opportunity to recognize those who work in the field of international women's issues.

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