Semmelweis University and Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families signed a Memorandum of Understanding for 5 years, which aims to facilitate the establishment of joint researches, university courses, educational material as well as an internship program in the future. The cooperation agreement was signed in the framework of a press conference by Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University, Dr. Miklós Szócska, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Public Administration and Tünde Fűrész, President of Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families.
Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families was founded in 2018, in the Year of Families, as a government supporting organization for providing a theoretical background related to family- and demography politics. With its accomplishments corresponding to the creed of the namesake Maria Kopp, the institute’s purpose is to contribute to the support of birthrate in Hungary. On behalf of Semmelweis University, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Institute of Mental Health, which is one of the founding members of the Faculty of Health and Public Administration established in 2010. The key priority of the institute is to support the healthy development of individuals, families and communities within Hungarian society.
The purpose of our professional collaboration is to facilitate the close ties between family sciences and health sciences – emphasized Tünde Fűrész, President of Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families during her speech before the signing ceremony. It is a great honor for the institute that it was found worthwhile for a collaboration by Semmelweis University, hence a collective reflection and work can be started in order to further support the Hungarian families, said she. Tünde Fűrész recalled that the Roundtable Discussions on Demographics established by Maria Kopp in 2009 set the foundations for the Hungarian family-oriented governance.
Dr. Béla Merkely, rector pointed out that Maria Kopp did not only have everlasting achievements as head of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at Semmelweis University, but she created permanent values within the current Hungarian society- and family politics as well, among other things with the establishment of the Roundtable Discussions on Demographics and the Three Princes, Three Princesses Foundation. Maria Kopp belongs to those fortunate people whose accomplishments are being carried on by her followers, thus her philosophy and intellectual heritage remain present even after she passed away – said Dr. Merkely.
“I firmly believe and profess that our future is in the hands of our children, therefore with the establishment of our program called Semmelweis Family-Friendly University, which was launched during the university year celebrating the 250th anniversary, we aim to support the unity of the families and make conscious efforts so that our employees are able to have a balance between their career and their family”, emphasized the rector.
As Dr. Béla Merkely described, the results of the 5-year joint project based on the similar, family-friendly values of the two institutions will materialize in joint researches, university courses, educational material and conferences. He also highlighted that in the future, Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families will provide an internship program for students of the university. According to the rector, this opportunity facilitates the establishment of training-oriented education, which is particularly considered relevant by the university.
Róbert Zsigó, the Secretary of State for Families pointed out that the professional cooperation signed today serves as an excellent example how health sciences can reinforce family sciences. Due to the collaboration, there will be an opportunity for the widespread technical application of Semmelweis University’s up to date scientific results in family politics via Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families – said he. As Róbert Zsigó recalled, the coronavirus epidemic brought unknown, unexpected events into the lives of Hungarian families: the fear of death, isolation for those who are in quarantine, anxiety about the health of elderly family members are all phenomena, which make us all realize how important family ties are.
“The mission of Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families as well as that of the Institute of Mental Health are strongly connected. As part of the cooperation, the university provides the joint knowledge of the faculty’s three institutes to Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families. Hence this cooperation serves as an opportunity for the usage of new knowledge such as the technical realization of telemedicine or the application of artificial intelligence in encouraging families for having children”, said Dr. Miklós Szócska, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Public Administration at Semmelweis University.
“When establishing Maria Kopp Institute of Demography and Families, we aimed to found an institute, which is capable of mediating between scientific life and policy areas as a connecting link”, highlighted Dr. Attila Beneda, Deputy Secretary of State for Families.
As Dr. Beáta Dávid Pethesné, Head of the Institute of Mental Health emphasized in her speech, we need to learn how to work together to be able to reach truly great results. The cooperation between Maria Kopp Institute for Demography and Families as well as Semmelweis University shows an example for this: we can only achieve up to date, positive purposes if we think and work together – said she.
Photos: Attila Kovács – Semmelweis University
Translation: Katalin Illés-Romhányi