Annual Mikulás Dinner
Since its founding in 1991, the Coalition celebrates each year and thanks its supporters in December while celebrating the Hungarian “Mikulás” tradition. To date Mikulás dinners have been hosted by nine different Hungarian Ambassadors at the Hungarian Embassy (and were held for two years at the German Embassy and the University Club). Hungarian Ambassadors provide welcome remarks. The dinner is traditionally planned on the first Friday of December, and coincides with the annual conference for Hungarian Honorary Consuls from across the US.
Through the years, the tradition has evolved. The Coalition has hosted a number of prestigious speakers, including the Hungarian President and Prime Minister on separate occasions. The evening also provides an opportunity to honor Coalition friends and members. Through the years, there have been many musical concerts and a long-time tradition of ending the evening with the singing of Christmas carols.
The traditional Coalition weekend begins with a White House briefing earlier the same day, and concludes with the annual and general Board meetings the next day.
List of Mikulas Keynote Speakers and Major Highlights
Virtual Mikulas Gala
Ambassador Szabolcs Takacs provides welcome remarks
Speakers: Governor George Pataki, Susan Hutchison, Edith K. Lauer, Endre Szentkiralyi, Andrea Lauer Rice
Katalin Kadar Lynn, honored with Coalition Award
Performance by Kaláka
Hon. Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, keynote speaker
Keynote Speaker: The Honorable Damon Wilson, Executive Vice President of the Atlantic Council
Ambassador Kurt Volker, US Special Representative in Ukraine negotiations, keynote speaker
Coalition Award presented to Ambassador Thomas Robertson, former Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Budapest
US Representative Dennis Ross was keynote speaker
Max Teleki, was presented Coalition Award thanking him for 12 years of service to the organization
Little G Weevil, a Hungarian jazz musician living in Atlanta, GA, performed
Mr. Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs
Hungarian band Louisiana Double performed a fusion of American and Hungarian music, poems and songs.
Dr. György Schöpflin, Member of the European Parliament and the European People’s Party, keynote speaker
Coalition Awards presented to: Ambassador Szapáry for his devoted service in advancing the friendship between the peoples of Hungary and the United States in the spirit of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. And to Mrs. Enikő Molnár Basa for her many contributions to the success of the Coalition’s Congressional Internship Program, in her role as the interns’ “guardian angel”.
Keynote Speaker, Gergely Prőhle, Deputy State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
László Böjtös and Dr. Ágnes Fülemile Receive Coalition Awards at Mikulás Dinner,
André Vásáry, the renowned Hungarian Soprano, performed
Dr. Tamas Fellegi, The Hungary Initiatives Foundation, keynote speaker
Concert pianist Judit Neszlény performed
Coalition awarded the prestigious Abraham Lincoln Award by the American Hungarian Foundation
Hungarian President Pál Schmitt awarded HAC Chair Emerita, Edith K Lauer, the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary.
U.S. Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, keynote speaker
Zsolt Németh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, keynote speaker
Dr. Kay King, honored with the Coalition Award
Hungarian Foreign Minister, János Martonyi, keynote speaker
Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, guest and speaker
Dr. Robert R. King, Staff Director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was keynote speaker and received the Coalition Award.
U.S. Ambassador April Foley, keynote speaker
2006 – HAC’s 15th Anniversary; 50th Anniversary of 1956 Revolution
Senator Chuck Hagel, keynote speaker
Former Governor of New York, George E. Pataki, speaker
HHRF and Rep. Tom Lantos received Coalition Awards
U.S. Ambassador George Herbert Walker III, keynote speaker
The Honorable Tom Lantos, ranking member of the House Intl Relations Committee, keynote speaker
Janet Garvey, Director of North and Central Europe – an Affairs, Dept. of State Receives Coalition Award
Mr. Janusz Bugajski, Director, Eastern Europe Program, Center for Strategic International Studies, keynote speaker
Mr. Daniel Fried, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President, National Security Council, keynote speaker
Dr. Ibolya David, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Hungary, special guest
Dr. Imre Boros, Minister without Portfolio of the Republic of Hungary, guest of honor
The Coalition was honored by the presence of special guests Mr. Zsolt Németh, Political State Secretary of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Congressman and Mrs. Tom Tancredo, among other distinguished guests.
“…This is an appropriate year for us to celebrate together, for 1994 marks a special anniversary shared by both Germans and Hungarians. It was five years ago this fall that Hungary made the conscious choice of opening her borders which allowed East Germans to gain entry to Austria. Everybody then knew the meaning of these words of vision: ‘Europe’s freedom will be decided on Hungarian soil.’ These words were written not in 1989 but in 1849 in the Proclamation of the Peoples of Europe by Hungarian freedom fighter, Lajos Kossuth, 140 years before the Iron Curtain fell.”– Greeting from the German Embassy
Sándor Csoóri, President of World Federation of Hungarians, special guest speaker
Highlights of Mikulás Dinners
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