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Tamas Csontos '12 will bring a passion for human rights and minority rights to his work as a Congressional Fellow.

EC Grad Chosen for Prestigious Congressional Fellowship

January 04, 2013

Tamás Csontos ’12 has earned the prestigious Lantos/Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship for 2013.

Csontos majored in international studies with a minor in politics at Earlham. A native of Hungary, he will spend four months in Washington, D.C., and will be assigned to the office of a Senator, Representative or to a congressional committee. He will also attend weekly educational seminars with leading experts on such topics as economics, human rights and public policy. Csontos is among a select group of eight fellows chosen from a national pool of recent college graduates. The fellowship will provide him an opportunity to learn first hand about the inner workings of the U.S. government.

“I am very interested in learning more about how the U.S. Congress approaches human rights and minority rights,” says Csontos. “I hope to apply the things I learn in my future career.”

The Lantos/Humanity in Action Congressional Fellowship is named after Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who served in Congress from 1981-2008 and chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Lantos, a Hungarian, was the only Holocaust survivor to serve in Congress. He was a crusader for human rights, and founded the House Human Rights Caucus in 1983.

Human Rights Champion

Csontos seems like an ideal choice for the fellowship, which is geared towards Hungarians with a passion for human rights.

“I am excited to see how I can make an impact, whether in the realm of politics or in civil society,” he says. “I think that working in a Congressional office will be a great experience to have before I return to Hungary.”

He also hopes to be of service to those he works with on Capitol Hill.

“I think I can bring a global perspective to my fellowship,” he says. “As we work on issues with an international focus, perhaps it will be useful to have a Hungarian in the conversation.”

Csontos is also looking forward to working and learning with other young fellows in the Humanity in Action Program. The group will have opportunities to share their experiences in various congressional offices, and will also complete service work together, volunteering regularly at Martha’s Table, a soup kitchen in Washington. Csontos is excited to be among a group of talented, young recent graduates tapped to learn more about the U.S. government and world affairs.

“There are so many things that need to be improved and I believe that my generation has some skills and tools necessary to make changes.”

Global Concerns

As an Earlham student, Csontos had many opportunities to engage with global issues. He participated in an off-campus program in Japan and took numerous courses with an international focus. Building an impressive international resume, he completed an internship with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hungary and another with the Hungarian Embassy. In February 2012, Csontos participated in the highly selective Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations, hosted by Harvard University.

In addition to those experiences, Csontos says that Earlham’s Quaker influence has shaped the way he approaches international issues.

“Quaker principles like equality, pursuing the truth and non-violent approaches to resolving conflict — these things have made me more committed than ever to human and minority rights. Before I came to Earlham, I was already interested in learning more about the world, but being here has made me interested in something more than just landing a great job. I want to be engaged in positive social change.”

Csontos, who is contemplating graduate studies in international law, is keeping an open mind about his future career path.

“My plan is to work really hard in Washington, and then evaluate my next steps,” he says. “I’m confident that opportunities will come.”

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