“It would be impossible to summarise this rich and meaningful life in a ten-minute speech.” – said Vice-Rector Ágnes Zsóka in her welcome speech, who, in addition to the significant academic achievements of Zsolt Rostoványi, highlighted his tremendous work ethic and outstanding diplomatic skills in leadership roles over the decades.
Zsolt Rostoványi’s academic research focuses on the relationship between the Islamic world and the West, and on globalisation. He is the author of more than 250 publications, including several books. Since the beginning of his career, he has worked at Corvinus, first as a lecturer and researcher, then as a head of department and head of institute, and later as dean and rector of the University. In 1990, he was responsible for the establishment of the Postgraduate Institute of International and Diplomatic Studies, of which he became Director. He was appointed professor in 1992 and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences four times, in 1992 and 1998 and between 2004-2011. From 2012 to 2016 he was the Rector of Corvinus.
At the surprise conference organised to celebrate his 70th birthday, his colleagues organised two round-table discussions in his honour, both closely related to his research area. The first panel discussion, with the participation of researchers László Csicsmann, Tamás Dudlák and Dániel Vékony, focused on the geopolitical transformation of the Middle East, especially in the light of the impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war. States that have only just recovered from the Arab Spring are now facing extreme exposure to Ukraine and Russia, for example in terms of food supply. The discussion also touched on Turkey’s widely condemned neutral diplomatic stance in the Russia-Ukraine war, which the researchers feel is a result of the country being caught between two fires: a major economic exposure to Russia and, at the same time, serious political ties as a NATO member.
The second roundtable discussion focused on the global challenges of the post-Cold War era, with the help of researchers Tamás Magyarics and László J. Kiss, and security policy expert Péter Tálas. The panel discussed, among other things, the role of China and the US in the evolution of world security policy, and the possible impact of the new energy world order on European and global politics, as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The professional programme was followed by more personal speeches and a reception for Zsolt Rostoványi. The Rector of Sapientia University of Transylvania, Márton Tonk, wished his colleague a happy birthday in a video message and recalled that Zsolt Rostoványi has always taken the situation of Hungarian higher education abroad to heart. The celebrant was also congratulated by Head of Institute Géza Salamin, International Director Zoltán Szántó, and several of Zsolt Rostoványi’s close colleagues and students. In honour of his birthday, his colleagues also compiled a commemorative collection of studies, which was presented to the professor by László Csicsmann. The biggest surprise for Zsolt Rostoványi was probably a certificate, which stated that the staff of the Department of International Relations had adopted a camel from the Budapest Zoo in his name.