Programs and activities of GENIUS Charity Foundation

Transcarpathia is the westernmost county of the Ukrainian Republic. With a territory of 12 752 km2 it is the second smallest county there. It has a population of 1 251 634 and a population density of 98.1 person/km2. The administrative centre of Transcarpathia is Ungvár (Uzhhorod). The region is divided into 13 districts (raions). Five of the 11 towns are subordinated directly to the county administration, i.e. they are at the same level as districts.

The population includes several ethnic groups: besides 80.5% (1 010 127) Ukrainians, there is a sizeable Hungarian minority of 12.1% (151 516 persons) and minorities of Romanians (32 152 persons), Russians (30 993 persons) and Gypsies (14 004 persons).

Few European regions had been annexed to so many countries in the 20th century as the territory of today’s Transcarpathia. After belonging to Hungary for more than a thousand years, the region was detached from the mother country after World War I. Afterwards it was part of the newly-created state of Czechoslovakia for almost 20 years. Since then the name “Transcarpathia” has become widespread in official use. Pursuant to the First Vienna Award of 1938, the region was reunited with the mother country and Hungary took possession of the whole territory of Transcarpathia. Until 1944 – when the Soviet Army occupied Transcarpathia – the region belonged to Hungary. After World War II it was incorporated into the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR (more than 25 years ago) Transcarpathia became part of the independent Ukrainian Republic. Given its history, it is no surprise that Transcarpathia has become a multicultural and multilingual region.

The search for and support of young people with high abilities, outstanding knowledge and skills, capable of superlative performance, permanent support to help them unfold their talents and professional assistance to young researchers are functions that are absolutely necessary for the economic development of Transcarpathia.

These activities have become crucial for the competitiveness of a given region, and the various institutions/agencies of education and talent support play a prominent part in that. This was the reason why Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute and the Association of Transcarpathian Hungarian Teachers established GENIUS Charity Foundation in 2011 to carry out extensive talent identification, nurturing and development programmes under the sign of equal opportunities in the populations of Hungarian-speaking schoolchildren, university and college students and young researchers.

The goals of the Foundation are the following:

  • to create an integrated system of talent support programmes,
  • to ensure equal access to talent support,
  • to increase the sense of social responsibility of the talented youth,
  • to appreciate the work of entities and individuals supporting the talented youth,
  • to offer more opportunities for talented pupils, students and researchers to extend their knowledge and skills beyond the academic training material,
  • to unite teachers committed to the talented youth and encourage them to join forces and work together.

All programs are financially supported by the Hungarian government through different grants and tenders awarded/issued mainly by Ministry of Human Resources, the State Secretariat for National Policy of the Prime Minister’s Office and Gábor Bethlen Fund Manager PLC. The annual budget of the Foundation is usually HUF35-50 million. The Ukrainian government does not support the Foundation, and it has no law or regulations on out-of-school, extracurricular, talent support either.

In 2011, the Foundation set up two councils to develop and co-ordinate talent support programs: the Transcarpathian Higher Educational Talent Development Council (including 18 professionals of the field), and the Transcarpathian Talent Supporting Council (including 34 professionals). The first supervises talent support programs and scholarships targeting undergraduate students and young researchers, and the second provides talent search and support to talented pupils/students in primary and secondary school. Both Councils meet twice a year.

The Foundation takes an active part in improving the opportunities available to members of the Hungarian minority and in promoting community-building. Since its establishment seven years ago, it has been a decisive organisation of Hungarian talent support. Its main programs target two age groups: ages 7-17 and ages 17-35. All of the activities concerned are unique in the region and may be regarded as best practice.

In 2011, the Foundation set up 8 Talent Points covering the whole area of Transcarpathia as a means of providing talent support via traditional and electronic channels to pupils/students aged 7-17. This activity involves 365 qualified teachers and almost 2000 children. Each year, the Foundation organises a Talent Day, and it does a lot to identify and support youngsters who are talented in the fields of the arts, in drama, sports and folk music and dance, respectively. The folk dance/singing talent contest called “The nightingale sings!”, the Jenő Buzánszky Football Cup and the József Zupkó International Handball Tournament are all meant to serve this purpose. There are various summer camps such as the Mária Jankovics Creative Camp, Péter Veres Creative Camp, Dramatic Art Camp, Sports Camp, Folk Dance and Folk Music Camps etc. The Foundation recognises the academic activity of the best 23 Hungarian pupils/students of Transcarpathia by Endre Ady scholarships.

For students, young researchers and teachers aged 17-35, the Foundation offers the Ilona Zrinyi Transcarpathian Hungarian College for Advanced Studies it organises the Conference of Young Researchers and the Scientific Students’ Conference and various other scientific and memorial conferences that are always linked to prominent historical anniversaries/outstanding people. In addition, it also runs the Kálmán Soós scholarship program.

We are very proud that more and more young people take part in our programs, as illustrated in the table below:

Number of pupils who study in the 8 Talented Points

Year Pupils between the age of 8-17 Pupils between the age of 18-35
2011 1517 34
2012 2277 80
2013 2271 208
2014 2438 190
2015 3001 176
2016 3016 215
2017 3336 219

Let us give a brief description of some of our major programs.

  1. Operation of the 8 Talent Points

Eight Talent Points providing regional coverage were set up, six of them in 2011 in the districts of Ungvár, Nagydobrony, Bátyú, Beregszász, Tiszaújlak and Aknaszlatina, respectively, and another two in 2012, at Munkács and Mezővári, in response to great interest shown in their activity and the huge numbers of pupils. The aim of the Talent Points is to identify and support the talented youth. In these districts, we have Saturday sessions from September to December, divided by subjects groups -- Mathematics-IT-Physics, Biology-Chemistry-Geography, Literature-History-Art History, Hungarian-Ukrainian-English languages – fir the age groups of 5-6, 7-8 and 9-11, respectively, and also Mathematics, Hungarian language and literature for pupils in the lower school, so in the 3rd and 4th  classes, for a total of approximately 2000 pupils/students annually. Children form almost all Transcarpathian Hungarian schools commute to take part at these sessions at the 8 Talent Points. Transport and meals are provided by the Foundation. Extra-curricular training materials are drawn up by the Talent Support Subject Specialists who are professionals active in primary, secondary or tertiary education, to ensure that all participants have identical opportunities by providing the same training materials/devices at all Talent Points. The Talent Support Subject Specialists are all members of the Transcarpathian Talent Support Council and of the Transcarpathian Hungarian Teachers’ Association (Hungarian abbreviation: KMPSZ).

We consider it important that participants producing outstanding results from January to May enter the KMPSZ county academic contests and be rated there in their favourite subjects; one of the competition tasks is always selected from the Talent Point curricula.

The use of the modern technologies is an essential and basic condition of the talent development process in the 21st century. That is why we purchase equipment for the 8 Talent Points every year to enhance work efficiency.

Number of Pupils number who study in the 8 Talented Points

Talent Point participants, between 2011 – 2017 (annual number of pupils/students)

Name of the Talent Point Year
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Secondary school of Aknaszlatina named after Bolyai János 196 144 138 152 169 159 162
Secondary school of Bátyu 241 176 158 181 187 160 217
Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute in Beregszász 350 345 261 374 476 407 485
Secondary school of Mezővári named after Ferenc Rákóczi II. 0 206 192 198 219 229 176
Secondary school No 3 of Munkács  named after Ferenc Rákóczi II. 0 120 142 174 194 154 131
Secondary school of Nagydobrony 179 355 278 297 314 330 399
Secondary school No 2 of Tiszaújlak 190 334 329 350 311 349 256
Secondary school No 10 of Ungvár named after Gábor Dayka 115 148 121 171 161 151 206
Total number of attendants 1271 1828 1619 1897 2031 1939 2032

There are 98 Hungarian schools in Transcarpathia. Form masters refer their best pupils to the nearest Talented Point.

The number of schools participating in the activities of the 8 Talent Points annually is the following:

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
No. of schools involved in the program 82 75 74 83 81 80 81
  1. Electronic talent support

The author and owner of the on-line talent management program was dr. Barnabás Szilágyi, known for the MENTORS and SZILENCIUM on-line educational talent support programs that have been tested several times in Hungary. One of the advantages of on-line programs is that pupils may proceed and develop at their own pace, in line with their abilities, without hindering their faster-working peers.

The program provides two development opportunities for Talent Point pupils in Grades 6 to 11. One is called SZILENCIUM and assists with Mathematics and Hungarian language and literature studies. It is an on-line development program and also a contest that prepares pupils for advanced-level GCSM through a 100 thousand tasks/exercises/assignments, and helps those in primary and secondary school catch up by up-to-date methods. SZILENCIUM provides training in three categories: entrance exam, with reading literacy and thematic worksheets, and weekly assessments. The other is an on-line foreign language tutoring program using modern methods that help trainees pass their B2 level English language exam.

The program started in 2013, lack of funds delayed its implementation for 3 years; last year almost 300 pupils/students took part in it.

Number of pupils who take part in the program from the 8 Talented Points

Talent Point Year
  2013 2017 2018
Secondary school of Aknaszlatina named after Bolyai János 20 0 0
Secondary school of Bátyu 16 15 85
Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute in Beregszász 8 7 119
Secondary school of Mezővári named after Ferenc Rákóczi II 21 22 27
Secondary school No 3 of Munkács  named after Ferenc Rákóczi II 20 0 0
Secondary school of Nagydobrony 18 47 0
Secondary school No 2 of Tiszaújlak 15 20 0
Secondary school No 10 of Ungvár named after Gábor Dayka 25 45 65

Total number of attendants

143 156 296
  1. ‘The Nightingale Sings!’ Folk Music and Dance Talent Show in Transcarpathia

The program is a contest for musicians and dancers aged 7-14, active in authentic traditional Hungarian folk music/dance, coming from any geographical area of the country. It is announced for amateur folk musicians and dancers. They may be entered by educational institutions, art associations or ensembles; individual entry is conditional of parental consent. The same institution may enter in several categories, and with several performances by category. In dance, for example, individually or in pair or group; in folk music: individually or as members of an ensemble. At least 2 different performances are required at the contest. The participants must be children. Style elements or musical instruments/motives  of other genres, or electric instruments must not be used. Evaluation gives priority to presenting the traditions of the performer(s)’ own area, consideration of the age characteristics of the performers, presenting the genres of child folklore and the customs of traditional children’s life and to authentic folk costumes. The semi-finals take place in April at the Institute in Beregszász and the finals in May also at the Institute. The maximum 20 participants making it to the finals participate in a 2-day preparatory camp where they are assisted in their preparations by well-known folk musicians and dancers.

Number of participants who take part in the program annually

Region Year
  2015 2016 2017 2018
Beregszász 122 40 51 126
Huszt 6 0 18 4
Munkács 32 52 12 0
Nagyszőlős 126 134 125 105
Rahó 0 1 0 0
Szolyva 0 0 0 1
Técső 0 5 0 2
Ungvár 53 128 103 155
Hungary 11 22 0 0
Total number of attendants 350 382 309 393

The Nightingale Sings! Folk Music and Dance Talent Show, semi-finals (12.05.2017)

  1. Talent support weekends to prepare for subject contests

From January to March, the Foundation organizes talent support weekends where pupils focus on a single subject to prepare for national, Carpathian Basin and international contests. The curricula, study materials, subject programs are prepared by the Talent Support Subject Specialists who are familiar with the contest requirements. Children who ranked 1st to 10th at  the county contest in the given subject are invited. The program includes 3-day sessions or workshops on 3 occasions. It takes place at the Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute, that is, at the Talent Point of Beregszász. The participants may be pupils in Grades 5-10, and may come from any of the 8 Talent Points. There are usually 50-60 trainees per subject. The aim is to deepen and expand their knowledge of the given subject at workshops conducted by highly estimated renown professional teachers.

Currently, these three 3-day talent support workshops cover the subjects of Mathematics, Biology, Geography, Chemistry, Hungarian language and literature and History, but the plan is to extend them to all subjects in the future.

  1. Transcarpathia in the arts; the arts in Transcarpathia

GENIUS Charity Foundation announces yearly drawing contests under the name of “Tarnscarpathia in the arts; the arts in Transcarpathia” for children who like drawing and like  summer camps. Children winning prizes at the contest are invited to the Mária Jankovics Creative Camp held in the summer and they receive valuable drawing kits. The contest participants are Transcarpathian pupils in Grades 5-9. There is no limit in terms of drawing technique, the format is A4 or A3, and various topics are specified in advance.

  1. Transcarpathian Talent Day

Once a year, on the first Saturday of June, we organize a so-called Talent Day where the best pupils from the 8 Talent Points, some 500-600 altogether, are invited to listen to the performances of renown, established performers and artists from Trascarpathia and from Hungary. The best musician, dancer and artist talents are given an opportunity to present themselves there. This is also the day when diplomas, grants and prizes are handed over to the best pupils, including scholarships to the participants of the Endre Ady program, and the Ilona Zrinyi Transcarpathian Hungarian College for Advanced Studies.

  1. Jenő Buzánszky Football Cup

Jenő Buzánskzy was a famous Hungarian football player, Athlete of the Nation and Olympic Champion. We wanted an event to show his life as a model example to Transcarpathian youth  talented in sports and to popularize football, to create a tradition, look for and strengthen and support young football talents and build sports contacts.

The idea of the Cup came from the 60th Anniversary of the 6:3 match in London, commemorated by a thematic day on Hungarian Kossuth Radio on 25th of November 2013. Hungary had already had its Jenő Buzánszky tournament, but there was no similar event for  ethnic Hungarians abroad. The Cup is organised with the participation of teams delegated by the 8 Talent Points, some 60-80 young football players annually. The first Football Cup was opened by Jenő Buzánszky himself.

  1. József Zupkó International Handball Tournament

The aim of the event is to popularise handball, to identify talented young handball player girls, provide a contest opportunity, establish international sport contacts and, last but not least, pay tribute to the memory of József Zupkó, the famous coach born in Beregszász. Teams from any country in the Carpathian Basin may participate at the tournament. There are 60-80 handball players on this program annually.

  1. Summer camps

In the summer, pupils may participate in summer camps organised by the Foundation and by KMPSZ based on the intensity of their activity at the Talent Points and their achievements (places 1-5) at the contests organised by these two entities.

Summer camps last for five days and include the following:

The Nagybereg Folk Music and Folk Dance Camp has been organised annually since 2011. It is so popular and attended by so  many, that it will actually be organised at two places from 2018: Beregszász instead of Nagybereg, and Nagydobrony. Musical education and the relevant traditions are not give adequate attention at school, so the camp intends to remedy that besides offering meaningful summer programs to the kids. Musical development is promoted by practical and theoretical training including practising musical instruments and dance training involving Transcarpathian and Hungarian professionals and artists; moreover, various leisure activities are offered to have an enjoyable time at the camp. There are 60-70 pupils in the camp annually.

Mária Jankovics Creative Camp. This event taking place in the summer addresses schoolchildren interested in the fine arts, in drawing, painting and handicrafts. Mária Jankovics was a Transcarpathian artist who died young; she was the designer of the visual identity of the only local Hungarian magazine for children ‘Irka’ published by the Transcarpathian Pedagogical Association, and she was also its graphic artist; therefore, we want to preserve her memory and show her works as a model example to pupils. Children can test their skills in practice besides their theoretical drawing and painting studies; they familiarise with the basics of making ceramics, pottery, and sculpture. There are 55-65 pupils in the camp annually.

Mária Jankovics Creative Camp (12.08.2017.)

The Drama Camp is held for children aged 12-16 interested in theatre art and drama. The elements of the program are the following: acting, stage movement, elocution, improvisation. On the last evening, parents and anyone interested in theatre may come and see the children perform the play they had prepared during the week. The venue of the camp is the Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute. The lecturers are drama teachers, actors, actresses from Hungary and Transcarpathia. The camp targets those who want to test themselves on the stage and want to show their talent at the closing performance. The maximum number of participants is 35 children.

  1. Conference of Young Researchers

On the Day of Hungarian Science, the Foundation organizes a Conference for Young Researchers to give PhD students/candidates or young people intending to continue their studies after graduation a chance to make a presentation; this takes place in specific sections where prominent professionals of the field assess their performance and give them useful advice for their future research. Each year there are 30-35 presentations in 5-6 sections by the representatives of various HEIs from the Carpathian Basin.

Conference of Young Researchers (03.11.2017.)

  1. Scientific Students’ Association Conference (SSAC)

Ever since 2011, the Foundation has organised the Scientific Students’ Association Conferences annually, linked to the Day of Ukrainian Science, mainly for students attending a Hungarian HEI Transcarpathia. Earlier, the Conference had been organized by the Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute. On the occasion of the 10th, jubilee, anniversary of SSAC in 2015, the event was expanded to cover the entire Carpathian Basin, so in the last three years it became Carpathian Basin conference for young researchers and students from the HEIs of the area. The aim of the conference is to give presentation opportunities for college and university students doing research in various disciplines, in sections where their work is assessed and they are given useful advice for future work by eminent professionals. There are 35-50 conference lecturers every year who make presentations in 7-9 sections. This is the only conference in Transcarpathia where young researchers awarded 1st to 3rd place may participate at the National Scientific Students’ Associations Conference in Hungary or in HEIs of neighbouring countries to the conference of the Council of National Scientific Students' Association held bi-annually.

Scientific Students’ Conference  (19.05.2017.)

  1. Ilona Zrinyi Transcarpathian Hungarian College for Advanced Studies

This College for Advanced Studies established by the Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute in 2000 has been operated by Genius Charity Foundation since 2011. College and university undergraduates in Transcarpathia doing research there may apply fpr scholarship from June to September. The College for Advanced Studies is open to full-time students in Years 3-5 having excellent results by a scientific topic and their tutor professors. The scholarship covers 10 months of the academic year. Admission exams are held in September

Number of students who take part in the program, from different higher educational establishments.

Institution Year
  2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute in Beregszász 11 18 9 22 20 9
National University of Ungvár 8 7 3 5 1 3
State University of Munkács 1 0 0 1 0 0
Total number of scholarship holders? 20 25 12 28 21 12
  1. Kálmán Soós Scholarship Program

The aim of the scholarship program is to promote the cooperation of Hungarian-language HE programmes and institutions active in Transcarpathia. To help students who cannot study their speciality in Hungarian, and to encourage research concerning the region. The scholarship program consists of the following sub-programs: Transcarpathian Open University, Making Hungarian lecture notes sand Hungarian professional dictionaries, Supporting researches related to Transcarpathia.

The evaluation of applications to the above-mentioned sub-programs is done by the Transcarpathian Higher Education Talent Support Council, and their decision is based on pre-established criteria defined by themselves.

  1. Talent support program for environmental protection in higher education

The aim of the program is to make undergraduate Biology teachers master practical teaching methods they can then apply in their future work. When compiling the technical program we paid special attention to Botany, Zoology and to Environmental Studies. As a part of the program students visit national botanic gardens, zoos, lakes etc. in Hungary and in Transcarpathia. Their visits to the first help them better understand the origins of common plant species. In everyday practice, it is difficult to observe the representatives of fauna groups in their natural habitat in the context of environmental education. Zoos offer a good alternative. An important segment of environmental protection education is to get to know the fauna elements of one’s region and of other landscapes and to learn to respect wildlife. The trainees enrich their practical knowledge with different experiences and experiments that they will be able to put to use as teachers of environmental education.

Genius Charity Foundation has been an institution of national significance since 2012. It was awarded the Hungarian Quality Product Award in 2013 ‘for its enthusiastic work and commitment to the respect of traditions, environmental protection and awareness of Hungarian identity – realised at continuously high standards’. It was acknowledged as Accredited Excellent Talent Point in by the National Talent Support Council in 2013 and again in 2017. In 2016 it was included into the European Talent Support Network as European Talent Point.

All projects and programs are implemented by Hungarian teachers, specialists and professors cooperating with the Foundation who have a satisfactory professional background and good references. Usually, 400 teachers and specialists take part in the work annually, and there are also 4 colleagues at the office who organize/assist with the work and the programs, keep contacts with the pupils, schools, teachers, and give information about the programs as well.  For all of our programs we provide wide press and media coverage.

Genius Charity Foundation was founded to identify and support talented Transcarpathian primary and secondary school pupils/students in a single, consistent system. Therefore, as shown above, the Foundation delivers a number of diverse, but closely related, hierarchically structured talent support programs, contributing thereby to identifying children with high abilities and minimizing talent loss in Transcarpathia.

Contact person:

Dr. Natália Váradi, Director of the Foundation

Access data of the Foundation: 00380314123462

90202 Beregszasz, Kossuth Square 6.  


Talent is a special kind of natural resource that is available in every country.