Opening remarks

64th Annual Meeting of the PIAC, Budapest/Hungary, 21–26 August 2022

Opening Ceremony

Opening Remarks


Ákos Bertalan Apatoczky

It was in 2019 when we last met in a way that the Meeting was not obstructed by any external circumstances. Only three years have passed, but what changes have taken place around us since then, with the only peripheral consequence that we were not able to maintain the annual PIAC meetings, or only with restrictions. Changes that we could not even have imagined in Friedensau in 2019, changes that at first showed a dark and dangerous face of our world, which, until then, seemed free and capable of progression, and this year, tragically, it has been complemented with an evil and aggressive face, too. These events have not left the academic community untouched, the epidemic made personal professional contacts impossible for a long time, military aggression has taken lives and forced millions of people to flee, and in these circumstances, it is natural that what previously were considered ordinary professional activities recently seem like unnecessary luxuries. Inter arma silent musae.

Owing to the enormous efforts of the organizers of last year’s PIAC, the sixty-third Meeting in Ulaanbaatar was held, albeit in a mostly online form. The fact that, after a three-year hiatus, we manage to meet again is, in my opinion, due to nothing other than a tradition that can now also be interpreted from a historical perspective. Like all human communities, ours, too, is based on rituals and the traditions made up of them, which help us to deal with and overcome everyday and unexpected difficulties alike. The most important tradition of our scholarly community is the system of annual meetings, a long-established order that creates crossroads between eminent specialists in different fields of our profession. The fabric of human and professional relationships thus established and nurtured is further reinforced by our rituals, such as our Confessions and the awarding of the PIAC medal. Such a solid tradition provides a strong foundation for our community, but this framework is not sufficient in itself, it is us, the participants of the Meetings that fill this framework with content, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but always aiming for professional excellence.

Here I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers: Cecília Hazai, who’s father, the famous turkologist György Hazai presided over the twelfth Meeting in 1969, and H.E. ambassador János Hóvári for their enthusiastic work, which made this year’s Meeting possible at an extremely short notice.

I hope that this year’s Meeting, with a number of participants that corresponds to an ideal figure originally envisaged by the founders, can provide us with the opportunity for personal contacts and the pursuit of professional excellence, as it will invigorate the tradition of the PIAC community with new knowledge, contacts and friendships.

With that in mind I declare the sixty-fourth Meeting of the Permanent International Altaistic Conference opened.

On behalf of the organizers, let me warmly welcome you and wish you a fruitful and joyous meeting.