The Alumni Directorate and the Embassy of Hungary in Oslo jointly organized the first event of a new series of management meetings and alumni reunion with more than 70 guests in Oslo on March 1, 2024, with the participation of Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector of Semmelweis University and his delegation of university leaders.

Since the launch of the international medical training four decades ago, more than 700 Norwegian doctors have obtained their qualifications at Semmelweis University. The official visit, which also included high-level bilateral meetings, served to strengthen the reputation of the alumni community, the university, and Hungary.

The introductory meeting with the management of the University of Oslo, Pro-Rector Dr. Åse Gornitzka, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Dr. Hanne Harbo, Vice-Dean for Research and Innovation Dr. Jan G. Bjaalie, and Professor of the Institute of Clinical Medicine Dr. Knut Lundin aimed at strengthening the relations as well as intensifying the cooperation between the two universities.



Afterwards, a part of the delegation, led by Rector Dr. Béla Merkely, met with Dr. Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, CEO of Inven2, a technology transfer office of the University of Oslo, and Dr. Jens Halvard Grønlien, Vice President Innovation. In parallel with the meeting with Inven2, a part of the delegation was personally guided around the Domus Medica building of the University of Oslo by Dr. Hanne Harbo, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

The Semmelweis delegation visited the ‘Visionary Hungarians’ outdoor exhibition at the Hungarian Embassy, presenting ground-breaking discoveries and outstanding inventions of visionary Hungarians, whose ingenious minds have changed the world as we know it. The exhibition displays interesting facts on how Hungary and Hungarians are connected to developing the mRNA technology, designing the first Mars rover and the Ford T-Model or inventing the soda machine, the ball pen, and many more. The exhibition can be visited until June 15, 2024.

As a closing event, the Hungarian Embassy in Oslo hosted an alumni meeting and reception, with Nordland County Governor and Semmelweis alumni Dr. Tom Cato Karlsen as well as Dr. Siri Skumlien, Secretary General of the Norwegian Medical Chamber, as guests of honor. After greeting the attendees, Deputy Head of Mission Dóra Loydl recalled that the previous alumni event took place in 2020 at the embassy, which tradition is revived this year after the pandemic, to celebrate the university’s shared heritage, achievements, and aspirations.

In his welcome address, Dr. Béla Merkely described the members of the alumni community as ambassadors of Semmelweis University. The rector gave a presentation on the present and future of the institution, followed by Vice-Rector for International Studies, Dr. Alán Alpár’s introduction to the international training programs offered by the university. Personal recollections of former Semmelweis students shared at the reception created an atmosphere for the attending Norwegian alumni and Hungarian doctors living in Norway to network with other alumni participants.

On March 2, Rector Dr. Béla Merkely attended a meeting with Dr. Svein Stølen, Rector of the University of Oslo. The discussion focused on enhancing academic collaboration, establishing research partnerships, exchanging best practices in university administration, and increasing global networking and visibility. Additionally, collaborative efforts were negotiated to address global challenges, policy advocacy for higher education, and promoting cultural exchange. The discussions aimed to bolster the academic and research capabilities of both institutions, as well as foster international cooperation and understanding.

Levente Vágó, Alumni Directorate