Collective efforts, tireless work, commitment to values and devotion to noble goals and initiatives can indeed make a difference!

Edited by Anna Popper

The 12th edition of the Diplomatic Charity Fair (DCF), held on 19 November 2023, was another significant event organised by the Diplomatic Spouses of Budapest (DSB). Under the high patronage of Madame Szilvia Szijjártó-Nagy, the spouse of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, the fair aimed to raise funds for selected Hungarian charity organisations supported by DSB.

The Diplomatic Charity Fair has become a highlight event in the Christmas season, offering a blend of festive mood and emotion. This year the event was hosted by a new venue, the eye-catching landmark building of the Bálna National Defence Centre on the Danube bank, where a record number of visitors arrived.

The total proceeds of the fair this year is more than HUF 8 million (more than 21.000 Euros) , which were equally distributed among 3 Hungarian charities.

The fair was a great opportunity to showcase the diversity of cultures and strengthen cooperation between different nations, connected with charity. The embassies participating in the event presented special products and handicrafts of their respective countries, and visitors were also able to gain an insight into their national cuisine.

The DSB – a non-political and non-religious community comprising spouses of ambassadors, deputies of embassies and consular missions based in Budapest – was proud to organise this event for the 12th consecutive year. Beyond being a fundraising initiative, the fair has evolved into an entertaining international day for visitors and families, embodying the spirit of the festive season.

The success of the Diplomatic Charity Fair is attributed to the dedicated teamwork of the DSB members and shows that collective efforts, tireless work, commitment to values and devotion to noble goals and initiatives can indeed make a difference.

The event featured the participation of more than 30 countries, each represented by their embassies, consular and cultural missions in the nicely decorated event halls. These nations came together to showcase a diverse array of national products and specialties, ranging from crafts and souvenirs to food and drinks.

Hungary was represented by Graficline company, producing Gilded and framed pictures about Hungary.

In accordance with the event’s motto, visitors had a unique opportunity to “Shop Around the World in One Day” and could find a wide range of handmade gifts, artworks, carpets, jewellery, ornaments, cosmetic and beauty products, as well as clothing, various textiles, wines, food products and sweets at the Fair, while enjoying the warm international atmosphere and cultural stage performances that enriched the day. Thanks to the spectacular entertainment programs, representatives of different nations gave insights into their colourful traditions, folk music and dances.

A special corner was dedicated to children. Generous donors provided thrilling small and large raffle prizes for the lucky winners, greatly captivating the audience.

In addition to charity, the event provided an opportunity to deepen international relations and create a friendly atmosphere for dialogue between various cultures. This, in turn, is expected to contribute to the further development of diplomatic ties and friendships in the future.

The event started with the welcome message of Mrs. Lucila Cimafranca, President of DSB and wife of the Ambassador of the Philippines to Hungary:

“Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today we gather once again as a community of nations for a noble cause. On behalf of the Diplomatic Spouses of Budapest, it is my honour and pleasure to welcome you all to our 12th Diplomatic Charity Fair.

But before anything else, let me begin by acknowledging the Patron of our Diplomatic Charity Fair, Mrs. Szilvia Szijjártó, spouse of His Excellency Minister Péter Szijjártó of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, whose invaluable support made it possible to hold our fair at this new venue, the Bálna Defence Centre. I also wish to acknowledge the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio, H.E. Michael Wallace Banach, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, as well as all the Ambassadors and their Spouses who are here with us today to give their support.

All funds raised at this Diplomatic Charity Fair will go to the following Hungarian charitable foundations:

1. Együtt Az Autistákért (Together for Autists) – a foundation supporting initiatives that create a more liveable, acceptable and equitable world for people with autism.

2. Csodalámpa Alapítvány (Magic Lamp Foundation) – a foundation fulfilling the special wishes of terminally ill children.

3. SOS Children’s Villages – a foundation helping children in need in Hungary.

I wish to especially recognise two people who have given their time, effort and resources to help us organising this Fair:

  • Mr. Szilveszter Tánczos, TARGET Holding and IBSSA (International Bodyguard and Security Services Association)
  • Mrs. Anna Popper, President of the Diplomatic Press Agency (DPA)

DSB will be forever grateful for the help and support you both extended to us not just in this Fair but in our previous Charity Fairs as well.

Our special thanks also go to:

  • The staff of Bálna Defence Centre, led by its Director, Ms. Beáta Tölg-Molnár, for their warm hospitality in housing this event
  • To Event Stuff Kft., who provided the tables we are using today
  • Ms. Anikó Szelle, our MC and interpreter
  • Mr. Peter Jones and his team at Happy Kids
  • The Embassies, private Sponsors and Donors who have generously contributed prizes for our raffle draw
  • And all the volunteers who are assisting us today

Finally, I wish to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the diplomatic missions who have set up stalls at this Fair. Thank you very much for your participation and support. Many of you know that this Charity Fair is a tradition not just here in Hungary, but also in the diplomatic communities of many countries around the world.

In fact, the Diplomatic Charity Fair is also taking place today in my country, the Philippines. And what a coincidence that the chairperson of organising the International Diplomatic Charity Bazaar in Pasay City is the Spouse of the Hungarian Ambassador to the Philippines.

We always come together and support each other as a brotherhood of nations and I believe it should always be this way. There will always be challenges around us, especially since the world we live in is not perfect. However, these challenges should neither deter nor divide us, but rather move us to reach out to one another in friendship, mutual understanding and compassion. As the charities we support are Hungarian charities, it is our way of giving back to this country and its people who have warmly welcomed us to their beautiful land.

And last but not least, I wish to commend and thank my lovely colleagues at the Diplomatic Spouses of Budapest, especially the Fair Committee Members, for their hard work and dedication in ensuring the success of this charity event.

So please visit our National Stalls and Food Stalls, enjoy your shopping, savour the various cuisines on offer and enjoy the cultural performances we have lined up to entertain you. Thank you all for your support. Köszönöm szépen!

At this juncture, may I call on Mrs. Szijjártó to come up on stage and give us her message:

“Welcome to the Diplomatic Charity Fair 2023! With utmost respect I greet His Excellency Monsignor Michael Wallace Banach, Apostolic Nuncio; Mrs. Lucila Cimafranca, President of the Budapest Diplomatic Spouses organisation and the Organising Committee of the Diplomatic Charity Fair; as well as the members of the Organising Committee, whose invaluable contributions have ensured the successful organisation of this event today, and recognising their dedicated and effective work for the realisation of this Fair. We highly appreciate your efforts in maintaining this tradition, which serves as an excellent opportunity year after year to embody the virtue of charity.

Thank you for joining us today, dear guests, and for strengthening the initiative of the Budapest Diplomatic Spouses with your personal presence. By gathering in such significant numberswe are sending a clear message, namely the message of the power of charity. Let us appreciate the significance that people from different parts of the world can come together for a cause and collectively help those in need. I encourage you to seize this opportunity and find souvenirs at the fair that you bring home, while also contributing to a good cause.

We have all experienced that the events of recent years are increasingly taking a toll on our country and nations. Our daily lives have revolved around the global pandemic, wars and their consequences. Handling economic and social challenges is placing more and more tasks on the countries’ governments. As spouses of diplomats, I am confident that we all share the common experience that recent years have been much more demanding than before. Our spouses also need more support from us to provide them with the peaceful background necessary for their work. They bear a significant burden as the task of diplomacy and diplomats in such difficult times is to manage conflicts and approach opinions that may be in stark contrast. However, one thing must surely be fulfilled for this: they need to speak to each other; they must not give up the opportunities for dialogue. So, the best thing we can do is to set an example and turn to each other with confidence.

Today’s fair is an excellent opportunity to meet old friends and, if possible, make new ones. These personal connections and friendships will help deepen cooperation between our countries. Let us also seize the opportunity also today to be open and engage in conversations with each other. I wish all our dear guests a pleasant time and good shopping!”

The 12th Diplomatic Charity Fair was officially inaugurated by H.E. Michael Wallace Banach, Apostolic Nuncio, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Hungary, extending warm wishes for the success of this commendable endeavour. He expressed hopes for a positive outcome, joyful experiences and fostering friendly interactions among nations and cultures for all participants, guests and visitors.

The Diplomatic Charity Fair 2023 was open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and attracted a record number, more than 1300 visitors. The event planners have given the highest possible priority to safety aspects. In order to adhere to the strict security protocols, a dedicated security team comprising 13 professionals from TARGET Security Holding, led by its owner Mr. Tamás Sipos, was in duty throughout the event, and Varius Global Zrt. was responsible for the security check at the entrance gates. An international team of 30 volunteers of various nationalities helped the event on the day.

Mrs. Lucila Cimafranca, President of DSB expressed her gratitude to Mrs. Anna Popper, President of Diplomatic Press Agency (DPA) and its team, Media Sponsor of the 12th Diplomatic Charity Fair, for promoting the event and providing photo and video services during the whole day, to the Director of Bálna Defence Centre, Ms. Beáta Tölg-Molnár and her entire staff, to Mr. Lajos Varga, Owner of Event Stuff for their valuable help, and to Mr. Szilveszter Tánczos for his generous aid, devoted work and inestimable contribution throughout the preparation and execution of the event, fulfilling security, organisational and media-related tasks, which played a pivotal role in the success of the event, particularly in ensuring its seamless operation.

In addition, the Organisers express their deep appreciation for the generous support and significant assistance provided by distinguished individuals and entities during the preparation and implementation of the large-scale event, which would not have been possible without their thoughtful help.

Special thanks to Prof. George Popper, President of IBSSA, Mr. Bálint Hangel, Owner of S.H.B. Ambulance Services, Mr. Gábor Győri, Owner of Printworks Nyomda, Mr. Attila June, Owner of JK ECONOMY Zrt., responsible for the communication of the 12th Diplomatic Charity Fair, Ms. Erika Macsári, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of DPA, as well as the Leadership of TV2 Hungarian TV Channel,including Ms. Gecse Vivienne, News Director.

The 12th Diplomatic Charity Fair proved to be the most successful edition since 2011 to date, thanks to the committed efforts, dedicated endeavour and tireless work of the Fair Committee members of DSB, the active involvement, the enthusiastic participation and generous contributions of Embassies, the purchases made by visitors, the unwavering support and the invaluable assistance provided by sponsors. The success of this accomplishment serves as a role model to the collective dedication and remarkable teamwork that were instrumental in shaping the positive culmination of the event.

The annual Charity Fair by Diplomatic Spouses and Embassies, with its international flair and charitable purpose, continues to be a powerful testament to the positive impact that collaboration, benevolence and goodwill can have on underprivileged communities in the society. This event not only showcases international solidarity, but also underscores the affirmative outcomes that arise from collective efforts in the pursuit of humanitarian causes.

Sources: Diplomatic Spouses of Budapest, Diplomatic Charity Fair Committee, Diplomatic Press Agency, JK Economy Zrt.

Photos by the Diplomatic Press Agency