US president Donald Trump has appointed Tibor Peter Nagy to be an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Index.hu reports. After emigrating in 1956 to the US, Nagy served as an American diplomat from 1978 to 2003 as ambassador to several African states. Read about his eventful life below.
Tibor Peter Nagy was born in 1949. His family emigrated during the 1956 revolution first to Austria, then to the United States with his father and his second wife. Being amidst political conflicts characterised his childhood already, as his father was arrested and jailed during the tumultuous ’56 times, while his mother was blackmailed into divorcing him. As Nagy told in a 2010 interview, he received a “parallel education” at this time already, as his grandfather was very anti-communist.
After a few weeks in an immigration camp in New Jersey, the Nagy moved to Washington. While his father was working his way up as an engineer, Nagy learned the language, went to summer camps, and frequented the Hungarian communities,
where he became a bitter and radical anti-communist,
the reasons why he became a committed Republican. He later graduated from Texas Tech University.
Moving back to Washington, he became a civil servant, and after earning a diplomacy certificate, was first stationed in Zambia from 1979 to 1981. This was followed by the Seychelles Island, where they monitored Russian satellites and fought bands of mercenaries. Then came Kenya with peace missions, then two years in Ethiopia.
After a break in Washington, he continued for three years in Togo, until 1990. After a small detour in Cameroon came the chaotic Nigeria and then the similarly corrupt dictatorship in Guinea from 1996 to 1999. He mostly assisted humanitarian aid operations here and was even knighted by a local leader. He later returned to Ethiopia and retired from diplomacy in 2003, becoming a university professor in Oklahoma, then Texas.
In 2008, he volunteered in the Obama campaign; in 2012, he was already supporting the Republican Mitt Romney. He assisted in two campaign in 2016, too, although he did not specify which. For a short while, he became a diplomat in Nigeria again, then went back to university, from where he retired last year.
Nagy has been highly critical of the political situation in Hungary. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, he contemplated moving back, but finally decided against it.
“Hungary has stepped on the road of corruption and nepotism. I fear they will have to walk the same road as countries in Africa. And I hope they come out of it fast. There are no equal opportunities, there is no rule of law, minority policies towards the Roma are racist and hateful. So I am not as enthusiastic about Hungary as I once have been.”
The diplomat has three flags on his desk: one American, one Hungarian and one of Texas. He describes himself as 110% American but 100% Hungarian, too.
Featured image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0SBL-QDK4