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Prominent Voice for Jewish People in America Shares Her Story with University Community
Virág Gulyás, an international relations and branding expert, recently visited the University of New Haven to help launch a new speaker series about combating instances of antisemitism and promoting human rights.
October 14, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Vu Nguyen ’20 wants to learn about different ways of looking at the world. That’s why he decided to attend a program on campus sponsored by the University’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) Council that featured a lecture by Virág Gulyás titled "Antisemite to Zionist."
"It’s important for young adults to learn about different viewpoints," said Nguyen, a marketing major. "The idea that I can’t possibly understand something because I am not part of a certain group – whether it is a race or a gender – is not true. If you take the time to understand, it is possible to understand. I’m glad Ms. Gulyás discussed that."
An international relations and branding expert, Gulyás, a native of Hungary, admits she grew up in an insular anti-Semitic environment. Although she is not Jewish, she has become a pro-Israel voice and a Zionist, a prominent voice for Jewish people in America. Her blog, "Almost Jewish," is well known in the United States and in Israel.
A former European Union diplomat, she recently completed a master’s degree in Jewish studies, her second advanced degree. She has been working for years on several high-profile educational and public relations campaigns that aim to correct the false narratives around Israel.
"It’s important for young adults to learn about different viewpoints."Vu Nguyen ’20
Gulyás told the University community her story, encouraging her audience to learn from history and to change the future.
"It’s really hard to stand up for each other," she said. "We don’t even stand up for ourselves. It’s hard to stand up for a Jewish person because you face antisemitism without being a Jew."
Gulyás was the first of four speakers to visit the University as part of a series organized by the University’s IDEA Council. In response to the growing number of incidents of antisemitism across the country, the IDEA Council created a working committee centered around fighting antisemitism that is focusing on exploring new approaches to help combat these incidents – especially on college campuses.
The University’s yearlong speaker series will focus on combating antisemitism and promoting human rights.
"It’s a polarizing topic, and this is a good opportunity to get to hear another side," said Ken Fabian ’20, a communication major. "Diversity of thought is important, and events like this are good opportunities for students to learn about different points of view and from people’s firsthand experiences."
Added Anna Downs ’20, a communication major, "It’s a topic you hear about in the media a lot, and I was interested in hearing about her experience."