Diplomatic journeys: a retired ambassador’s odyssey across continents

Former diplomat Ferenc Kontra was born on April 2, 1954 in Budapest, Hungary. He really enjoyed learning all kinds of languages, which also made his job easier. He really likes travelling!

When did you start traveling and what was your first country?

-I started traveling in 1980, and my first destination was Iran, specifically Tehran.

What led you to travel to Iran, and what was your role there?

-I traveled to Iran as I was working as a consul at the embassy. It was a diplomatic assignment.

 How long did you stay in Iran?

-I stayed in Iran for a total of 5 years.

What was your next destination after Iran?

Following my time in Iran, I went to Namibia in Africa from 1989 to 1990. I was part of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), a police mission monitoring the peace process and elections.

Could you tell us a little bit about your next destinations?

-After Namibia, I served as the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Greece from 1992 to 1997. In 2001, I moved to Kyiv, Ukraine, and in 2002, I became the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in Moscow, Russia. I also served as the Ambassador in Belarus from 2008 to 2012 and as the General Consul in Tatarstan, Kazan, in 2015. Additionally, I visited several countries, including Taiwan, Pakistan, India, Colombia, Mexico, the USA, China, and Cuba, with a diplomatic courier. I’ve had the opportunity to travel extensively in Europe for both work and vacations.

As someone who has traveled to various countries, which one stands out as your favorite?

-A few of my favorite countries include Greece, particularly Athens, for its beautiful views, weather, and more.

Do you have a least favorite country that you visited?

-My least favorite country would have to be Iran, primarily because of the war. The Iraq war started, and I had to stay there until it ended

Now that you’re retired, do you still have a passion for traveling?

Absolutely! I still enjoy traveling around the World, exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. It’s a passion that has stayed with me throughout my career.

Leona Font / S4HU / EEB1 Uccle

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