By the time European political adviser Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy, ’03, arrived at UR for undergrad, she knew four languages — Hungarian, Romanian, English, and French. To date, she’s added Spanish, German, and Greek, and she is working on Chinese.

Ferenczy’s love for languages propelled her into political science with an international lens. In particular, she has explored the relationship between Europe and China — the book she wrote on the topic, Europe, China, and the Limits of Normative Power, was published in 2019 — as well as Taiwan, India, and the Korean Peninsula. “The book is a self-reflective examination on EU-China relations, based on a commitment to learn from each other as we seek to build a sustainable international order,” Ferenczy explained.

As a political adviser in the European Parliament, Europe’s lawmaking body, her work ignited her conviction that healthy political relationships require understanding people within their contexts. After completing her doctorate at Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, Ferenczy now works as a consultant seeking to bridge Europe and Asia.

One of the rewards of Ferenczy’s career has been her ability to propose initiatives and bring visibility to people and issues that may be overlooked otherwise. One example close to her heart involved a book written by Bandi, a North Korean author, smuggled into South Korea and published in the West. After learning of the book at a conference in Seoul, South Korea, she hosted a launch event in the European Parliament with the author’s representative to give voice to people living under a dictatorship.

“This is the kind of work where you believe that your work matters,” she said. “It might not make an immediate impact, but it’s part of a bigger effort to make a change.”