Hungarian President Janos Ader opened the 6th World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples in Siofok, western Hungary, on Wednesday.
Ader said linguistic kinship meant that peoples that belonged to the same language family were not alone.
“We have other peoples to share a past, present, and future with — others we are responsible for,” Ader said.
Sharing a language is an opportunity to preserve the national identity and further develop a people’s own culture, as well as to “understand each other and ourselves,” Ader said.
He paid tribute to linguists, archaeologists and ethnographers who have dedicated their lives to “enriching our knowledge about the language and the homeland the first Finno-Ugric tribes once shared.”
“It has taken hundreds of years of constant research. We must bow our heads to the achievements of the scientists of past generations,” he said.
Estonian and Finnish presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Sauli Niinisto attended the opening ceremony of the three-day congress. Russian minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, as well as representatives of 25 Finno-Ugric peoples, are also participants.
The World Congress was established in 1992 by Hungary, Estonia, Finland, and Russia. The congress meets in a different country every four years.