Young oceanist among the greatest minds of his generation | 28 April 2016
Young Hungarian oceanist, historian of literature, translator, poet, editor and researcher of the modern and contemporary poetry of the Seychelles, Dr. Károly Sándor Pallai has become a Hungarian Junior Templeton Fellow, one of the 315 Fellows chosen and supported by the Hungarian Templeton Programme.
The Hungarian Templeton Programme is an internationally unique, pilot talent identifying and nurturing programme. The participants are exceptional (1 out of 10,000) cognitive talents – young people having outstanding thinking and acquiring abilities – chosen among 20,000 candidates.
The main goal of the programme is to help young talents shape the science and economy of Europe and the world in the coming decades and to be personally successful while they touch their environment and the whole humanity in a positive way.
The main funder of the Hungarian Templeton Programme is the Templeton World Charity Foundation, an organisation founded by the outstanding thinker and businessman Sir John Templeton, aiming at providing supporting programmes worldwide that seek answers to fundamental questions about life and the universe, and to support people with exceptional cognitive talents who are working to improve the lot of humanity.
Within the framework of the Hungarian Templeton Programme, Dr Károly will benefit from the expertly support and guidance of a mentor from the academic field. As a main project, he strives to set up a documentary and research centre on the literatures and cultures of the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Due to the generous support of several authors and editors, he has already founded the Flora Devatine collection, a small and already completely unique collection of Central and Eastern European literature, at the Eötvös Loránd University of Budapest. He wishes to complete and enrich the collection with material related to the Seychelles.
His long-term goal is to establish an academic prize and scholarship in order to support the talented young researchers specialised in the literatures, languages and cultures of the world’s islands and archipelagos. He would also like to seize this opportunity in order to contribute to a wider and enhanced visibility of his scientific field and to point out the primary importance of literature and poetry which according to the latest studies contribute not only to the development of the brain, of the vocabulary and the faculty of expression, but also of emotional intelligence responsible for empathy, of logical thinking, of the power of memory and of the white matter of the language centre.
Thus, he would like to draw the attention of adults and parents to the fact that literature and poetry is not only amusing, but it can prevent learning disabilities and make us more successful in life.
He also sets a high value on the cultural and diplomatic dimension of his role as a Hungarian Templeton Fellow and aspires to make Seychellois literature and culture widely known.
In appreciation for his activities carried out to promote Seychellois literature, culture and arts, Dr Károly was awarded a ministerial decoration by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Seychelles in 2013. In the same year, he was chosen by La femme magazine as among the “50 young Hungarian talents”. He has also won numerous prizes and scholarships. He is currently working on a monograph on the literary history of Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles, with funding support of the National Talent Programme.
Despite his young age, Dr Károly has published numerous research papers in renowned scientific reviews worldwide on the contemporary literature of Seychelles, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Vanuatu, Mauritius and the Caribbean Islands. He is a member of several prestigious scholarly societies and academic associations (Australia, United States, Netherlands, France, and Mauritius) of which he is often the unique Hungarian member.
He is the founding editor in chief, with Seychellois Magie Faure-Vidot, of the international review Vents Alizés and of the publishing house Edisyon Losean Endyen, called into being to support the Seychelles’ authors. He is the only European member of the editorial board of the local poetry anthology Sipay.
As a poet, Dr Károly has written and published poetry in many languages –French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Romanian, and Swahili – as well as Seychellois and Tahitian Creole. His poems have been published in anthologies, print and online literary journals worldwide (from Canada, Haiti, Ireland and the United States to the Philippines, Tahiti and Thailand). He has published two collections of poetry and a play in Seychelles – in French and English.