With shock and utter disbelief we had to learn of Ambassador János Hóvári’s untimely and totally unforeseeable death within a few days after the end of the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC in Astana, 2023.
János was a remarkable and outstanding person who excelled both as a scholar and a diplomat. Having graduated from Eötvös Loránd University with a diploma in Turkish history in 1979, he worked as a research associate at the Institute of History of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and at the same time he was a university lecturer at the Institute of History at the Teacher Training Faculty of Janus Pannonius University until 1992 when he entered the diplomatic service of Hungary. His first assignment was in the Department of Central Asia and Transcaucasia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1997, he obtained a PhD in history from the University of Pécs. Since 2008, he held several posts as ambassador in Israel, Kuwait, Bahrain and Turkey. In his last position, he was the Executive Director of Hungary’s Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States.
While János never formally was a participant of a PIAC meeting, he nonetheless closely followed PIAC affairs; his support was essential for organizing two PIAC meetings. Since it was impossible to hold the 64th PIAC Meeting 2022 in Moscow, as originally announced, he opened doors in Hungary at the Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Humanities of Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary and at the Organization of Turkic States. He also recommended his long-time friend Uli Schamiloglu (they had known each other for half of their lives) and Nazarbayev University, Astana (Kazakhstan) as a possible host for the 65th Annual Meeting of the PIAC, a recommendation to prove auspicious as we just held a wonderful meeting in Astana a week ago at the time of this writing. All words of gratitude for his contributions to the PIAC are too late, and thus their only place is here.
János is remembered as a sharp-minded, yet soft-spoken, gentle, and generous human being; his friends find no words for his sudden departure.
August 9, 2023