Ambassador András Simonyi
Ambassador András Simonyi is the managing director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He was the Hungarian ambassador to the U.S. from 2002 to 2007 and was also Hungary's ambassador to NATO from 1999 to 2001. Born in 1952 in Budapest, Hungary, as a four-year-old, he witnessed Soviet tanks roll past his home during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. After university, Simonyi worked with many youth exchange programs with a special interest in forging ties between youth organizations of the East and the West. He is a proponent of soft power in international affairs and the role of popular culture for change. He advocates for a strong transatlantic relationship and is a supporter of innovation in diplomatic activities, combining tradition with new radical ideas and means. He plays electric guitar and has said that rock and roll was a key factor to loosening the tight totalitarian grip behind the iron curtain.