Projects and Accomplishments

The Coalition’s Projects and Accomplishments in 2019

The Hungarian American Coalition is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded in 1991.  Its mission is to identify and promote the interests of the Hungarian-American community.  Its goals are:

  •  To foster appreciation of Hungary’s history and culture;
  • To protect and preserve the human and minority rights and cultural heritage of Hungarians throughout the world;
  • To encourage educational and cultural interaction between the people of the U.S. and Hungary;
  • And to support democratic institutions and economic development in Hungary.
Education and Culture
 
  • Implemented the “John N. Lauer Leadership Training Program” (LTP) funded by a grant from the Hungary Initiatives Foundation and the Pannonius Foundation.  In 2019, the Coalition sponsored the internship program of seven Hungarian university students.  The selected students were:  Borbála Péntek and Hajnalka Tóth (Meridian House International); Balázs Rudinszky and Márton Zsuráfszky (Center for European Policy Analysis, Washington, D.C.); Flóra Anna Adouki (Atlantic Council); Viktor Weisz (Global Entrepreneurship Network, Washington, D.C.); and István Zoltán Bán (Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, Washington, D.C.).
  • Participated on June 14, 2019, in the 12th annual Roll Call of Nations organized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.  Over 50 embassies, foundations and organizations presented wreaths at the Victims of Communism Memorial in honor of the more than 100 million victims of Communist tyranny since 1917.
  • Continued the administration of the Bognár Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund.  With the help of the program’s founders, Dr. Bela and April Bognar, thirty-three students received stipends for the 2019-2020 academic year: two scholarship recipients are enrolled in universities in Hungary; one scholarship recipient is studying at a college in the Subcarpathian region of Ukraine; twenty-eight scholarships were awarded to Hungarian students admitted to universities in the Transylvania region of Romania and two scholarship recipients study in the Vojvodina region of Serbia.  On November 30, 2019, California-based The Ambassadors of the Future (AF) hosted a Benefit Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (Beverly Hills, CA) honoring Professor Sheila Kar, MD and raised $10,000 in support of the Fund.
  • Sponsored the renewal of Freedom Fighter 56, an oral history website initially created for the 50th anniversary of the ’56 Revolution and Freedom Fight in 2006, to collect stories about the Revolution. The upgraded website has more than 70 personal stories in both English and Hungarian available at http://freedomfighter56.com/.
  • Awarded sixteen Hungarian university students the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship Awards for the 2019-2020 academic year. The winners are: Zoltán Csikós, studying at the University of North Texas School of Music (Denton, TX); Réka Lili Csipán, enrolled at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA); Sándor Fábián, a PhD student in Security Studies at the University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL); Csongor Fruhauf, pursuing undergraduate studies in Business Administration at Mansfield University (Mansfield, PA); Norbert Gogan, admitted to Washington State University studying English and Physics (Pullmann, WA); Janka Hoffmann, pursuing graduate studies in Business Administration at Harvard Business School (Harvard, MA); Attila Lendek, attending a Master’s Program in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University Northwest (Hammond; Westville, IN); Sarolta Lukovszky, a sophomore studying Sport Management at Lindenwood University (St. Charles, MO); Gusztáv Nagy, admitted to Harvard Law School’s LL.M. Program (Cambridge, MA); Judit Navratil, attending Master of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA); Lilla Subert, an undergraduate student in Psychology at Marymount University (Arlington, VA); Enikő Tóth, studying Psychology at Los Angeles City College (Los Angeles, CA); Domonkos Vámossy, a PhD student in Economics at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA; Anikó Viktória Varga, pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH); Mariann Varga, a graduate student in International Policy at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (Stanford, CA) and Anna Volentics, pursuing undergraduate studies in International Studies at University of Florida’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Gainesville, FL).
  • Publicized and distributed six 2019 issues of the Hungarian Review the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal, Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolányi and John O’Sullivan.  These important editions provide a comprehensive overview in English of the current political and cultural situation in Hungary.
Information and advocacy
 
  • Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.
  • Organized a visit of Governor George Pataki, former governor of New York to Subcarpathia on March 9-10, 2019. Gov. Pataki was accompanied by Coalition leaders Maximilian Teleki and Zsolt Szekeres on a visit to Beregszász (Berehove), Ukraine. They were briefed by political and religious leaders, including Dr. László Brenzovics, President of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Subcarpathia and former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, on the situation of the Hungarian minority and its ongoing struggle to protect its cultural and linguistic identity. Gov. Pataki strongly condemned the Ukrainian government’s violations of the rights of the Hungarian minority.
  • Hosted a visit of Dr. László Brenzovics, President of the Cultural Alliance of Hungarians in Subcarpathia and former Member of the Ukrainian Parliament in Washington D.C. Dr. Brenzovics met with U.S. officials, policymakers and academic leaders, provided first-hand information on recent legislative measures which violate the rights of the Hungarian national minority in Ukraine – in particular, the recently passed education law, which severely limits native-language instruction.
  • Organized a visit of Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice and Coalition Treasurer Zsolt Szekeres, newly appointed President of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) to the Transylvanian region of Romania on May 29-31. In Kolozsvár, Mrs. Lauer Rice and Mr. Szekeres met with community leaders: Béla Kató, Bishop of the Transylvanian district of the Reformed Church in Romania; Hunor Kelemen, President of the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania – RMDSZ; Bálint Porcsalmi, Executive Director of RMDSZ; and Anna Horváth, former deputy mayor of Kolozsvár. On May 30, they met with Árpád Zsolt Moldován, head of HHRF’s Kolozsvár office; Sarah Agronow, a ReConnect Transylvania intern; and Robert and Anikó Schwartz, managers of HHRF’s property in Kolozsvár. The same day, Mrs. Lauer Rice and Mr. Szekeres gave live interviews on Radio Kolozsvár and on the television program ‘Erdélyi Figyelő’. They also met with Sarolta Borzási, a former Coalition intern, who is currently program manager at Global Entrepreneurship Network. On May 31, Mrs. Lauer Rice spoke in Hungarian at the graduation ceremony of the Bolyai Farkas High School in Marosvásárhely, presenting the “Hungarian American Coalition Award” to three students recognized for their outstanding academic achievement and community service. Totaling $2,000, the awards were presented this year for the first time. The inaugural recipients: graduating seniors Daniel Ferencz and Matyas Horvath-Kovacs, and freshman Anita Kiss. The awards were made possible by a donation to the Coalition from the Cultural Foundation for Transylvania (CFT).
  • On July 5, 2019 HAC Treasurer and HHRF President Zsolt Szekeres attended the first day of a three-day conference, „XXVI Kárpátaljai Nyári Szabadegyetem” in Felsőszinevér, Ukraine (Transcarpathia), a joint program of the Kárpátaljai Magyar Kulturális Szövetség (KMKSZ – Hungarian Cultural Association of Transcarpathia) and the Pro Minoritate Foundation, the Hungarian government foundation which supports minority initiatives in the surrounding countries. Zsolt Szekeres participated in a roundtable discussion on Hungarian National Policy moderated by Zsuzsanna Répás, Head of the Department of International and Transborder Hungarian Relations of the Hungarian Academy of Arts. Several Hungarian government officials also spoke: Péter Szilágyi and Barna Pál Zsigmond, Member of the Committee on National Cohesion of the Hungarian Parliament. Other roundtable participants were leaders of Hungarian minorities in Transylvania, Slovakia, and Croatia.
  • On July 24, 2019 2019 HAC Treasurer and HHRF President Zsolt Szekeres attended the second day of a five-day conference, “XXX. Bálványos Summer University and Student Camp” held in Băile Tușnad, Romania (Transylvania), a joint program of the Pro Minoritate Foundation and The Hungarian Council of Youth (MIT). Zsolt Szekeres participated in a roundtable discussion on Diaspora Affairs moderated by Dániel Gazsó, researcher at the Research Institute for National Politics. Other participants of the panel were: Kornél Klement, Vice President, Alliance of the West-European National Hungarian Organisations); László Szennyessy from Switzerland; Kristóf Lukácsfy, Association of Hungarian National Organizations in Western Europe; Anna Szenthe, President, Canadian Hungarian Cultural Council, Canadian Regional President, Hungarian Diaspora Council and Tamás Wetzel, Commissioner of the Minister, Prime Minister’s Office.
  • Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary. On March 14, 2019, Coalition President Emeritus, Max Teleki met with US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein, Deputy Chief of Mission David Kostelancik, and Public Affairs Officer James Land at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest.
  • Maintained contact with Hungarian government officials – Ambassador Ferenc Kumin, Deputy State Secretary, Development of European and American Relations; Ambassador Eszter Sándorfi, Director of the North American Department at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Péter Szilágyi, Ministerial Commissioner responsible for Hungarian communities abroad; Judit Piritnyiné Szabó, Head of Department at the State Secretariat of National Policy and Judit Pappné Popovics, Head of Department at the State Secretariat of National Policy.
  • Coalition President Emeritus, Max Teleki met with officials at the State Department, the National Security Council and Congressional offices, as well as with Hungarian Ambassador, László Szabó.
  • Disseminated Noticed in the Press, a selection of newspaper articles from American and Hungarian newspapers on topics of interest to Coalition members and supporters.
Hungarian American Community Affairs
 
  • On May 2, 2019, hosted the Coalition’s Fifteenth Annual Gala Dinner at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., under the Honorary Chairmanship of H.E. János Áder, President of Hungary.  This year’s honoree was Ambassador Colleen Bell, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2014-2017) and Media/Business Executive. Gala co-Chairs were: Governor George Pataki, Mrs. Edith K. Lauer and Ambassador György Habsburg. For this occasion, the Coalition produced a short video on Ambassador Bell’s accomplishments which is available at the Coalition’s website.
  • Attended Regional Diaspora Meetings in both Washington, DC and Cleveland, OH in March 2019. In DC, Katalin Szili, Special Commissioner to the Prime Minister of Hungary, spoke about the importance of autonomy for Hungarians living in minority in the Carpathian Basin, as well as the critical link between Hungarians living in Diaspora and those living as ethnic minorities. Approximately 40 Hungarian American community leaders attended the conference, including Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, Vice President Stefan Fedor and other Coalition members. Károly Pánczél, member of the National Assembly (MP) for Ráckeve (Pest County Constituency XIII), attended the Cleveland meeting of about 25 leaders from across Ohio, including Coalition Chair Emerita Edith K Lauer and Vice President Endre Szentkirályi.
  • Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice attended the annual Hungarian Charity Ball on May 18, 2019, organized by Stefan and Erika Fedor, American Hungarian Heritage House. LTP interns Borbála Péntek and Balázs Rudinszky also attended the event.
  • Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi and several former LTP interns attended the Zebegény Alumni Summit on June 1, 2019 in Zebegény, Hungary organized by the Hungary Initiatives Foundation and Quinnipiac University. This event brought together the alumni of all Quinnipiac- and HIF-sponsored scholarships, internships and fellowships and their allies from the business, non-profit and government sector.
  • Attended and co-sponsored the fourth annual Saint Stephen of Hungary Pilgrimage to the Our Lady of Hungary chapel on the day of Saint Stephen, August 20th, in Washington D.C. followed by a Hungarian Picnic.
  • Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice attended the Hungarian Picnic organized by Coalition Board member Enikő M. Basa held on September 22, 2019 at the Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC.
  • Attended and co-sponsored 11th CEPA Forum, the leading annual transatlantic security conference in Washington D.C. held on September 23, 2019 at the Mayflower Hotel with theme of “Transatlantic Anniversaries: Legacies and Unfinished Business”. Over 300 guests attended the Forum, which has become the single largest and most prestigious annual gathering of CEE officials, experts, and industry leaders in the United States. The Coalition was represented by Andrea Lauer Rice, President and Edith K. Lauer, Chair Emerita. LTP intern Márton Zsuráfszky also attended the event.
  • Attended and co-sponsored Hungarian night at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival organized by Coalition Board member George Pogan in Chagrin Falls, OH. A full house attended the international premiere of “Alla Zingara”, (“In Gypsy Style”), the fascinating story of the 100-member Budapest Gypsy Orchestra.
  • Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice and other Coalition members and friends attended the National Day Reception organized by the Embassy of Hungary in Washington D.C. celebrating the 63rd anniversary of the ’56 Revolution and Freedom Fight, and the 30th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Hungary. The event was held at the REACH at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Skylight Pavilion in Washington D.C.
  • Attended the 9th Annual Diaspora Council meeting on November 14, 2019 in Budapest at the Hungarian Castle Gardens.  More than 90 leaders and representatives of organizations from 32 countries participated, including 18 Hungarian American attendees, many of which were Hungarian American Coalition members.  The Coalition was represented by Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, who was elected President of the Diaspora Council’s U.S. division for a two-year term. The day after the Diaspora Council meeting, on November 15, 2019, Lauer Rice and the other regional presidents attended the Hungarian Standing Conference (MÁÉRT), to meet Hungarians from all over the world and representatives of Hungarian political parties.
  • Organized the traditional end-of-year Coalition events in Washington, DC.  The events included the annual Mikulás Dinner, and the Annual General and Board Meetings.  The keynote speaker at the Mikulás Dinner was The Honorable Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the Hungarian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.
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