Zsuzsanna Szelényi is a Non-resident Senior Fellow with CEPA's Democratic Resilience Program.

Ms. Zsuzsanna Szelényi is a Program Director at the CEU Democracy Institute, a foreign policy specialist, and the author of ‘Tainted Democracy, Viktor Orbán and the Subversion of Hungary.’ 

Ms. Szelényi is a former politician and MP from Hungary. At the CEU Democracy Institute, she is conducting research about how autocratic politics is influencing and shaping foreign relations in Europe and the Central and Eastern European region. She runs the Democracy Institute Leadership Academy, a flagship program of the CEU Democracy Institute in the CEE region. In 2019-2022, she studied the political polarization and autocratization in the context of the future of the European Union as Richard von Weizsäcker fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin and Fellow of the IWM’s Europe’s Futures program of the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna. Her book ‘Tainted Democracy, Viktor Orbán and the Subversion of Hungary’ was published in 2022. 

In 2012, Ms. Szelényi was the co-founder of the centrist political party ‘Together’ in Hungary and was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2014 where she covered foreign policy, migration, and constitutional affairs. From 2010-2012, she worked as a human development consultant with international organizations in North Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. From 1996-2010 she served on the Council of Europe developing democracy programs in several European countries, including conflict regions such as the Western Balkans and the countries of Caucasus.  

Ms. Szelényi started her political career as a member of Fidesz, a youth party at the régime change in Hungary in 1988, and served as a Member of Parliament until 1994.  

Ms. Szelényi holds a GMAP degree in International Politics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, an MA in Psychology from the University of Eotvos Lorand, and an MA in International Relations from the Corvinus University in Budapest.  

She lives in Budapest with her husband and three children.