Dr. Réka Szemerkényi was appointed Ambassador of Hungary to the United States in 2015. Previously, from 2011 to 2014, she was Chief Advisor on Security Policy to the Prime Minister of Hungary.
Having previously working at the Prime Minister's office she covered Trans-Atlantic issues, Central European regional relations, the Balkans and Russia, with a particular emphasis on energy security and cyber security. Between 2006 and 2011, she was Head of International Public Affairs and Chief Advisor on International Relations to the Chairman of the Board of the Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group. In this capacity her role was to cover European Union energy policy and security developments and the establishment of the Central European regional energy cooperation, as well as to provide professional support for executive decisions on a wide range of issues in international affairs.
Dr. Réka Szemerkényi also held further previous governmental posts. Between 1998 and 2002 she was State Secretary for Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Hungary. From 1991 to 1994, she was Senior Advisor to the State Secretary of the Ministry of Defense of Hungary.
In her academic and research work, she has been a regular speaker at high level international conferences. She was also university lecturer at the Institute of Kremlinology, Károli University in Budapest, as well as at the ASERI Centre of International Relations, Catholic University of Milan, Italy. She was foreign policy op-ed author of the Hungarian weekly magazine Heti Válasz for six years. She is the author of several publications in international relations, security policy and energy security. She worked as Research Associate at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London (1995-6) where she wrote Adelphi Paper No. 306 entitled Central European Civil-Military Reforms At Risk, published by Oxford University Press in 1996. She was elected President of theNGO Hungarian New Atlantic Intiative between 2003 and 2012 and now serves as elected Vice President of the Hungarian Atlantic Council.
She completed her Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies as a Fulbright Fellow at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University in Washington DC (1993-5). She earned her Doctoral Degree at Péter Pázmány Catholic University of Budapest in 2006, with a PhD thesis entitled: „Energy Security - West European and Warsaw Pact Energy Strategies between 1945-1990.”
Réka Szemerkényi was also awarded the Slovak Atlantic Commision’s award „ In Appreciation of „Promoting Freedom and Security in Central Europe” (2013) and the „Bene Merito” honour by Radoslaw Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland (2010). She was honored with the L’Ordre National du Mérite, Commandeur, by President Jacques Chirac (2001). In Hungary, she was decarated with the National Service Award for the Contribution to Hungary’s Joining NATO, by the Minister of Defense of Hungary (1999).
Ambassador Szemerkényi is the mother of four (ages 14, 12, 11 and 6).