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


Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) and former Deputy Prime Minister of Romania, keynote speaker

Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, Chair Emerita and Mr. Zsolt Szekeres, Treasurer, were awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Középkeresztje) by Ambassador Szabolcs Takács on behalf of Katalin Novák, President of Hungary. 

Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, keynote speaker

Hon. Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, keynote speaker

Coalition President Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice was awarded with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary (Magyar Köztársasági Érdemrend tisztikeresztje) by Ambassador Szabolcs Takács and the Hon. Zsolt Németh on behalf of János Áder, President of Hungary

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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