Madame Gabriella earned several degrees, including a Bachelor of Economics and Finance, Master of Law and Master of Business Administration. When asked about her professional work experience, she replied, “Under my leadership, our company, Diagon Ltd., increased its sales tenfold by expanding export activities. During my tenure, our products were sold in more than 100 countries, and we opened new affiliates not only in Europe, but also in South America and Asia. Furthermore, a new production facility was built in Austria as a greenfield investment.”
Passionate about reading, fitness and travel, Madame Gabriella explained, “Before we moved to Thailand, I visited the Southeast Asian region several times, not only for business but also for holiday. I also try to regularly play tennis not just for exercise, but also as a family activity. My husband and I also enjoy playing other sports together.”
Touching on her charity work, Madame Gabriella commented, “In our ever-changing world and accelerated daily routine, charity work has gained a special importance. As a practicing Christian, every year before Christmas, together with my husband and his colleagues at the Embassy, we organize charity activities. Last year, with the help of the Hungarian community in Thailand and the largest Thai investor company in Hungary, Thai President Foods, we presented a Christmas donation to the HDF Mercy Centre. The year before, we donated non-perishable food products and cleaning supplies to the Holy Redeemer Church in Bangkok. While one must not forget that helping others should not be limited to just the holiday season, this, for us, is an important yearly task. I strongly believe the virtue of generosity and charity is a common feature in Christianity and Buddhism. The Buddhist practice of Dharma puts a strong emphasis on those in need on a daily basis. I try to live and teach this to next generation – by this, I mean my 3-year-old daughter, Hanna – according to the belief that giving is always better than receiving. Therefore, we have Hanna regularly select some of her toys and clothes to give away to those less fortunate.”
When asked about her viewpoint on women’s roles, she stated, “As a mother and former CEO, I can tell you that women have countless roles these days. Being a determined and always up-to-date leader at one’s workplace as well as well-organized and caring mother and wife at home is not always easy. After living this lifestyle for several years, I can tell you with confidence that women are capable of everything. Nowadays, my main priority is raising our daughter, but I am thankful for having a successful career path behind me. I learned many skills during those years, like time management and multitasking, which now, with a very active toddler, are incredibly handy. My husband was a great help, when I was overwhelmed with work tasks and now, I try to support him in his duty of serving Hungary as the ambassador. Later, when my daughter will ask me what kind of career she should choose, I will encourage her to let her imagination fly because having a well-functioning family and successful professional life simultaneously is not the easiest task.”
When asked, Madame Gabriella expressed her thought about Thailand. “Moving to another region of the world is not easy, especially with a young daughter. After living here for one year, on behalf of my whole family, I can say that the advantages of the Thai lifestyle are well worth the struggle we went through in transition. I believe that Europeans can learn a lot from our Asian friends. Living in Thailand has taught me to appreciate the small things in life and not to rush or worry all the time. When we have our friends from Hungary visiting, I always encourage them to bring home not only souvenirs but try to adopt some of the Thai open-mindedness, calm and balanced approach towards life. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Thai people for receiving us with such a warm welcome and for the great hospitality we have experienced ever since our arrival.”
Madame Gabriella is involved in assisting in the promoting the cultural relationship between Thailand and Hungary. “Culture can forge a strong link between nations as it helps each other more easily come to mutual understanding in difficult times. Cultural connection is one of the main bases of diplomatic relations, which contribute to the enhancement of trade and political collaboration as well. With that in mind, my husband and his colleagues at our Embassy regularly organize cultural events to which I always happily assist. Last year, the Embassy of Hungary organized a jazz concert with our ‘Visegrád Four’ partners, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. This year, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Hungary, we have also prepared several cultural programs.
As our interview drew to a close, Madame Gabriella happily wrapped up by saying, “Despite the more than 8,000-kilometre distance and six-hour time difference between Thailand and Hungary, our nations are closer to each other than one would think. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations, and I can say with confidence that Hungary and Thailand have never been closer.
“The scope of our cooperation ranges from politics and economics to tourism. While many Hungarian tourists are visiting Thailand, Central Europe and Hungary are becoming much more popular among Thai visitors. Even though the population of Hungary is just equal to the number of inhabitants of Bangkok, our country is full of natural attractions. We are proud that Hungary is fifth in the world in thermal waterpower, and Budapest is the only capital with thermal spas. In spite of our many different features, like climate, terrain and architecture, I find Bangkok and Budapest are similar in many ways. For example, both capitals are divided naturally by a river, the Chao Phraya and River Danube respectively. The Danube shoreline in Budapest is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, which underlines its wealth of historic architecture. Our House of Parliament set on the riverbank is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
“I would like to conclude by drawing attention to another common feature between our nations is our common love for wine. I know this because my husband is a WSET Level 2 wine expert, and I am also a wine enthusiast. In fact, we just recently visited a vineyard in Khao Yai, and I would like to encourage everyone, who is planning to visit Hungary, not to miss the Tokaj Region, which is famous for its rich geological history and world-renowned Tokaj wines. The wines of Tokaj have earned the title ‘Hungaricum’, which means they represent Hungarian culture for their unique, distinctive characteristics and quality.”
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