Réka Szemerkényi

Programs Chair

Réka Szemerkényi is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA). Between 2017 and 2020, she served as CEPA’s Executive Vice President. From 2015 to 2017, she was Ambassador of Hungary to the United States. Prior to this, she held various senior government positions: she was chief advisor in foreign and security policy to the prime minister and was senior advisor in the Ministry of Defense in Hungary. She held various business positions, such as head of international public affairs at MOL Group, the Hungarian oil and gas company, and Consultant at the Word Bank. She held several academic positions, such as lecturer at Milan University’s ASERI Center of International Relations in Italy, Karoli University and the Catholic University Pazmany in Budapest. She was foreign affairs op-ed writer for Heti Valasz and was research associate at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, IISS, where her paper, “Central European Civil-Military Reforms At Risk,” was published by Oxford University Press. Her more recent publications include Covid-19 and the EU Response, Chat with Margaritis Schinas, European Commission Vice-President, April 9 2020, https://www.cepa.org/covid-19- and-the-eu-response.

She was one of the women leader interviewees of the book by Susan Sloan: A Seat at the Table, Women, Diplomacy, and Lessons for the World, 2020, New Degree Press. pp 95-9, 245-8. Szemerkényi was listed by Forbes Hungary as number two on the List of Most Influential Women in Hungary in 2016 and 2017. She was awarded several prestigious decorations, awards and fellowships, such as the Fulbright Fellowship.

Réka’s has a PhD in Economic History and Energy Security, from Pázmány Péter University and a MA in Strategic Studies from SAIS, the Johns Hopkins University.  She is Honorary University Professor of the National Public University, Budapest, and Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters of Marymount University, Virginia.