In addition to the sections of the 59th Itinerant Conference of Economists, the Hungarian Economic Association (HEA) organised around 80 virtual conference and roundtable events in 2021, with over 36,000 views received on YouTube so far, the Board of the HEA established at its online meeting held on 22 December.

Reviewing the past year, President Gyula Pleschinger recalled that in spite of shifting the conferences, presentations and roundtable discussions organised in 2021 to the online space due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the members and the interested audience found the programmes offered more than satisfactory. Every conference attracted about 40 to 80 live followers, and the video recordings received on average 150-400 views each, including subsequent viewings. Indeed, these numbers are significantly higher than, for example, the capacity of the HEA community centre used for in-person section events…

Presently the HEA YouTube channel has 750 subscribers, and the conference videos of the Hungarian Economic Association received 36,000 views registered from 14 countries in 2021. In fact, HEA contents were offered to internet users on 250,000 occasions by YouTube. In 2021 alone, the number of audio and video files uploaded to the HEA podcast channel reached 98 with over 6,600 minutes’ worth of conference material, each podcast attracting an audience of 40-50 from 17 countries, depending on the specific subject and, of course, the speaker. The HEA’s social media presence has also increased, the HEA Facebook Group has 1,400 members, and the number of followers on the Facebook page of the Itinerant Conference of Economists has reached 926, Gyula Pleschinger added. In 2021 the HEA shared 466 posts in its Facebook Group. Currently the HEA’s LinkedIn group has 166 members. The electronic newsletter of the Association has also been improved in recent weeks, added the President.

The Secretary General of the HEA assessed the 59th Itinerant Conference of Economists. According to Éva Hegedüs, the event was a success. Although the largest annual conference of Hungarian economists was once again held in the virtual space due to the pandemic situation, the live streams attracted numerous followers, and the pre-recorded section meetings and roundtable discussions also proved popular. With its two plenary sessions, 22 thematic sections and altogether 136 speakers, this conference was in no way inferior to the ‘in-person’ events organised in the years before.

The presentations and roundtables of the Thursday and Friday plenary sessions can be accessed at the website of the conference; in fact, the site offers 2,500 minutes’ worth of professional content including the pre-recorded section programmes. The two-day conference attracted a live audience of 4,300 on YouTube and Facebook, and the conference videos have received approximately 9,300 views so far. The podcasts of the conference presentations and roundtables have reached an audience of 3,400, which means that the offered professional contents received almost 13,000 views, said Éva Hegedüs, adding that the conference generated a total of 110 media appearances published on the event’s website, what is more, the roundtables will be aired on Hatoscsatorna, a national cable channel in the course of the next few weeks.

As part of the agenda, President Gyula Pleschinger spoke about the HEA’s upcoming events and plans for 2022 as well. He announced that the 60th Itinerant Conference of Economists will be held in Szeged on 22-24 September, depending on the COVID-19 situation. The organisers wish to rely on the useful experiences of the past two years gained through virtual events. Accordingly, there would be 4 major full-day live-streamed thematic section meetings held in physical locations with general topics such as macroeconomics, money and capital markets, business and innovation, and human resources, and an opportunity to pre-record various section programmes and roundtable discussions and publish them on the website at the start of the conference.

Gyula Pleschinger also spoke about the Economics Olympiad, the national round of which has just been announced recently. Depending on the COVID-19 situation, the national final would take place in the newly opening Money Museum at the end of March 2022. As for the international final, Budapest, at last, would host the 3-day event in the early days of September – if circumstances permit.