Hungary's largest private educational institution offering high level training in several disciplines, going far beyond the traditional school system, was established in 1996. The founding Tombor family donated a significant amount of money to create an institution aimed at supporting and training highly talented young people committed to the prosperity of our country. Initially, MCC students came from high schools and higher education institutions. This work was unconventional and gap-filling from an educational point of view, and involved the participation of professionals with both domestic and international experience. In addition to the training sessions, a tutoring system was also set up, and the first MCC lectures were held. These ongoing monthly events provide opportunities for students to meet renowned lecturers. Furthermore, already from the start, many students had the chance of going on a study trip abroad, thus gaining long-lasting knowledge.
MCC undertook the establishment of a residence hall while it constantly improved its organizational and operational model. Dr. Miklós Maróth became director of MCC, and each specialization taught at the institution came under separate management. Upon successful completion of the preparatory work, in September 2001, our residence hall opened its doors on Gellért Hill, at 51 Somlói Road, to host 47 students. The aim of MCC was not to operate as a university and thus to develop a comprehensive training model based on general knowledge. Instead, the institution offered two year certificate courses in Law, Economics, Social Sciences, International Relations, and Communication. These training courses were open to students who have had successfully completed the Junior Training. Having completed the specialized training courses, students could also apply to the Leadership Academy. The Academy was launched in 2009, with the expressed aim to offer students an opportunity to acquire a unique skillset and worldview, together with an international mindset. In 2008, besides renewing its training system, MCC also entered the book market as a co-publisher.
MCC continued the expansion of its activities and launched its High School Program in Transylvania, in Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) and Székelyudvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc). In a few years' time, a training for undergraduates was also started. The year 2015 was a new milestone in the history of our institution when MCC opened its doors to elementary school students as well, and launched its Young Talent Program. In this framework, students are offered an opportunity to acquire practical experience in fields that are closely related to everyday life but not available in public education. This program enables them to unlock their potentials and thrive in a way that best suits their interests, abilities, and personalities. Furthermore, it provides a solid base for their later career choices. In 2017, MCC expanded its training portfolio with public leadership trainings, the first one being the Transylvanian School of Politics. In 2018, two more postgraduate courses were launched: the Transcarpathian Public Leadership Training Program, and then the Women's Public Leadership Training Program. These programs aim at providing opportunities for skills development and to acquire practical knowledge on public life, thus enabling participants to shape their own community, and to become opinion leaders. In 2018, an initiative to support Roma young people, the Roma Talent Program was also launched. Furthermore, the training portfolio of the University Program was expanded this year by the inclusion of a specialization on Mindset Psychology. The Debate Academy whose aim is to improve the culture of democratic dialogue, and other highly successful international events such as the MCC Budapest Summit or the MCC Budapest Lectures were started in 2019. MCC has always been committed to the study of public affairs on the basis of an intellectual approach and arguments. It is in this spirit that we have hosted, since 2019, an ever growing number of professional gatherings, conferences, and round table discussions. This activity is supported by the MCC Research Institute whose mission is to examine various aspects of current social issues with scientific rigor, in a form which is understandable for the public. From the 2010s, MCC has published a growing number of independent, commercially available publications on the book market.
In June 2020, MCC has reached a major milestone. On the previous institutional basis, a unique intellectual endeavor has been undertaken. Within the framework of the support provided by the Parliament, MCC acquired ownership of the real estate complex where it is located at Somlói út, as well as 10 percent of MOL shares and 10 percent of Richter shares. Due to this transfer of assets, the MCC has undertaken the expansion of its domestic and international public activities both in professional and geographical sense. While leaving the shareholding unchanged, MCC is striving to use the return on the shares to ensure the long term sustainability of its talent nurturing programs and activities aimed at enhancing intellectual life, which are tuition-free, thus accessible to all. In parallel with this renewal, the organization of MCC and its bodies have also been transformed. Tihanyi Foundation, the founder of MCC, has been dissolved and the new Mathias Corvinus Collegium Foundation was established, with Dr. Balázs Orbán as Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Zoltán Szalai continues his work as Director General of the Collegium.
The year 2021 marks the beginning of an even more intense period of development in the life of Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC). Our unique talent development activities have begun to unfold and have reached more communities and more people. In the summer of 2021, MCC organized its first talent festival, the MCC Feszt. The three-day professional and music event held in Esztergom was attended by more than 12,000 visitors. In addition to well-known Hungarian experts, the MCC Foundation also invited several famous foreign speakers such as the American broadcaster Tucker Carlson, the American political commentator Dennis Prager or the Indian-born geopolitical futurist Abishur Prakash to share their ideas with the audience.
The MCC's regional network has also grown significantly: due to its extremely rapid growth, the Foundation is now present in 23 cities in the Carpathian Basin - 14 in Hungary and 9 abroad. This regional expansion not only serves to ensure the wide accessibility of the unique training opportunities offered by our institution, but also to save value, as MCC has embraced the renovation of neglected and dilapidated buildings that are part of our built heritage and were once considered the jewels of our cities.
In the academic year 2021/22 MCC has more students than ever before, with a record number of over 3,700 young people enrolled, who now have the opportunity to develop their skills and gain experience through our tailor-made programs and training courses. The opening ceremony of the academic year at MCC, which took place at our new Budapest center in Tas vezér Street, was addressed by the Prime Minister of Hungary and world-renowned British historian Niall Ferguson. MCC is keen to continue its work to provide support and development opportunities to 10,000 talented students in 35 settlements in the future.