The Danube Institute was established by the Batthyány Lajos Foundation in 2013 in Budapest, with the aim of encouraging the transmission of ideas and people within the countries of Central Europe and between Central Europe, other parts of Europe, and the English-speaking world.
The Institute itself has been committed from its foundation to three philosophical loyalties: a respectful conservatism in cultural, religious, and social life, the broad classical liberal tradition in economics, and a realistic Atlanticism in national security policy. These ideals remain our lodestars.
More recently, we have added a fourth commitment: exploring and extending the related concepts of democracy and patriotism. We believe that the nation-state offers the only sure foundation for democracy, and that a tolerant civic nationalism the only basis for a successful democratic internationalism. Nation-states are the building blocks of internationalism. Both are to be distinguished from supra- or trans-nationalism which embody the ambition to transcend them but which have so far failed to match them in democratic accountability.
Our methods of developing and transmitting these ideas are research, analysis, publication, debate, and scholarly exchanges. Our primary audience is the universe of centre-right intellectuals, political leaders, and public-spirited citizens. But we will also engage our counterparts on the democratic center-left in vigorous and principled public debate on as many occasions as possible and appropriate. We hope to draw upon the best minds of our day across national boundaries in international forums.
Debate itself is our fifth commitment. It is a vital catalyst in building a democratic society.
In line with these commitments we will:
- establish and support research groups and research projects to interpret and advance current thinking within conservatism and democratic nationalism;
- encourage the exchange of scholars, political leaders, and cultural figures through international conferences and exchange fellowships here in Hungary;
- engage young people interested in science, scholarship, and political ideas and help them to enter and influence wider public debate;
- and in general encourage relevant discussions on matters of importance to Hungary on both a domestic and an international level.
After seven years, we look forward to our next seventy.