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Name: Szombati, Béla
Current Position: Ambassador

Béla Szombati is a veteran diplomat who served as Hungary’s ambassador to France and the United Kingdom before arriving in Washington, DC, in September 2009.

Szombati was born on July 16, 1955, in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where his father, a career diplomat, was serving in the political section at the Hungarian embassy. He received his elementary and secondary education in Hungarian and French schools, and attended college at London University and Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, where he graduated in 1980.
After university, Szombati entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). His first assignment was in the Department of International Security dealing with issues of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1980-1982).
He briefly worked in the Department of Asia before being dispatched to the Hungarian embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam, and handling economic, cultural and media affairs.
In 1986, he was assigned to work as the U.S. desk officer in the Department for North America and part of Western Europe in the MFA. Szombati’s first posting to the U.S. came in 1988 as cultural attaché for the Hungarian embassy in Washington, DC.
He returned to Hungary in 1991 to serve as foreign policy advisor to the president and head of the Foreign Relations Department of the President’s Office in Budapest.
In 1994, he received his first ambassadorship, taking over the embassy in Paris, France until 1998. He then became deputy head of the State Secretariat for European Integration.
He was assigned to London in 2002 to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom for four years.
Szombati was made head of the Strategic Planning and Information Management Department in 2006, a job he held until becoming the ambassador to the U.S. in 2009, when the previous ambassador was removed early because of a change in government.
He speaks fluent English and French, as well as some Russian and Spanish. Szombati and his wife, Zsuzsa Mihályi, have two sons.
Official Biography (Embassy of Hungary)
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