Annual Gala Honors Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi and the Béla Bartók Hungarian School of Boston (Boskola)

Hungary’s Minister of Culture and Innovation, János Csák, Attends 18th Annual Coalition Gala
Inaugural Alumni and Community Youth Leadership Awards Also Presented,
Endowment Announced

Washington, DC – On October 19, 2023, the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) honored Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi and The Béla Bartók Hungarian School of Boston (Boskola) at its 18th annual Gala Dinner. It also presented two inaugural youth awards: Luca Mórocz received the John N. Lauer Leadership Training Program (LTP) Alumni Award and Dániel Barabási, Boston, MA, was the first recipient of the Community Youth Leadership Award

Charles Simonyi was Honorary Chairman of the event, held at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC. Gala co-Chairs were: Governor George Pataki, Edith K. Lauer and Ambassador György Habsburg. János Csák, Hungary’s Minister of Culture and Innovation, attended the Gala with a delegation from the Ministry.

Andrea Lauer Rice, Coalition President, greeted the many distinguished guests from the Washington DC area and leaders from across the Hungarian American community and Hungary. Her message focused on overcoming the geopolitical challenges of the moment and focusing on the future, including building a network of youth with global, civic experience.

Award ceremony: Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, 2023 Honoree Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi, Mrs. Veronika Ádám and Minister János Csák at the Coalition’s 18th Annual Gala Dinner held at the House of Sweden in Washington DC on October 19, 2023

She said: “It is an important time to strengthen our resolve, to support our democratic allies with a renewed fervor and to commit ourselves to a future based on freedom and democracy. It is critical that we remind diplomats, public servants and yes, politicians too, that we have more in common with each other than not, and despite our recent differences, we always strive to find the good, seek the common ground and move forward together.”

She briefly introduced the Coalition’s two scholarship programs – the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship and the Bognár Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund – and the LTP. Together, the three programs have more than 560 alumni. She presented a compilation video of Coalition projects over the past several years, including the Ukraine Assistance Program which raised more than $125,000 and the creation of the 1956 Hungarian Freedom Fighter Statue in Atlanta, GA, which raised over $150,000.

Edith K. Lauer, Coalition Chair Emerita, introduced the goals of the internship programs and the LTP, as “the goal has always been to develop young leaders with direct experience in Washington DC who then return to impact their own communities.” She presented the Inaugural LTP Alumni Award to Luca Mórocz, who just completed a two-year assignment as a Working Group Liaison Officer for the Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department where she earned stellar reviews so much so that they requested that her assignment be extended.

Coalition Vice President Dr. Ágnes Virga introduced Dániel Barabási, recipient of the Inaugural Community Youth Leadership Award. Barabási already has a wealth of leadership experience in the Boston community. He is a Harvard University Postdoctoral Fellow, alumni of Boskola, Scout leader, Director of the Hungarian Science Club of Boston and more.

Award ceremony of 2023 Honoree Boskola (left to right): Coalition Treasurer Zsolt Szekeres; Erzsébet Bognár, Emese Varga, Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, Mariann Polgár-Turcsányi; Viktor Huszár, Tünde Bói. Coalition Chairman Emerita Edith K. Lauer; Csilla Grauzer; Dr. Ágnes Virga and Max Teleki at the Coalition’s 18th Annual Gala Dinner held at the House of Sweden in Washington DC on October 19, 2023

Minister János Csák celebrated the news of Hungary’s recent success in two Nobel Prizes awarded to Dr. Katalin Karikó in Medicine and Dr. Ferenc Krausz in Physics.  He also touched upon the continuation of the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the horrendous attack against Israel by terrorist groups.

He said: “Joseph Nye, an American scholar claimed that nations depend on their economic might, military might and cultural might, what he called ‘soft power’. It is improbable that Hungary will become a military superpower or an economic superpower for that matter, but we are punching above our weight in several fields like art. like science, like sports and like family policies, and actually, common sense, because we think that for the future of Western civilization, we have to build on our Judeo-Christian-Roman heritage.”

Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi was presented with the Coalition Award for his lifelong commitment to advancing scientific knowledge as a neurologist and fostering relations with and appreciation for the Hungarian American community. A video was shown to familiarize the attendees with Dr. Vizi’s lengthy career, scientific accomplishments and his recent work as President of the Friends of Hungary Foundation.

Dr. Vizi said: “I think what the Hungarian American Coalition here and the Friends of Hungary Foundation are doing, is of great significance for all of us, for both countries – serving the interests of the United States as well as Hungary. (…) Patriotism does not depend on where you are living, it rather depends on your feeling in your heart. God bless all of you. Thank you!”

Award ceremony – Luca Mórocz receives inaugural LTP Alumni Award: Coalition Treasurer Zsolt Szekeres; Luca Mórocz; Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice; Coalition Chairman Emerita Edith K. Lauer; and LTP Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi at the Coalition’s 18th Annual Gala Dinner held at the House of Sweden in Washington DC on October 19, 2023

A large contingent from Boston was in attendance to accept the Boskola Award, including founders: Emese Varga and her husband Tamás Badics, Dr. Mariann Polgár-Turcsányi and Erzsébet Bognár; Viktor Huszár, Operations Director; Tünde Bói, Program Director; Dr. Ágnes Virga and her husband Ray Gillespie; Albert László Barabási; Dr. Krisztina Bukur-Doczy; Mr. Viktor Gyuris and alumni: Faye Gillespie, Emi Badics and Dániel Barabási. A short video was shown about the past 23 years of Boskola activities.

The evening concluded with toasts delivered by Ambassador Szabolcs Takács, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States, Susan Hutchison and Max Teleki.

Award ceremony – Dániel Barabási receives inaugural Community Youth Leadership Award: Dániel Barabási; Coalition VP Dr. Ágnes Virga; and Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice at the Coalition’s 18th Annual Gala Dinner held at the House of Sweden in Washington DC on October 19, 2023

Gala guests included: honoree Dr. E. Sylvester Vizi and his wife Dr. Veronika Ádám, Minister of Culture, János Csák; Ambassador Szabolcs Takács, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States and Emese Gaál; Ambassador Kurt Volker, former Ambassador to NATO and his wife Ia Meurmishvili; Ambassador April H. Foley, Chairman of the Hungary Foundation; Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, Senior Adviser, Transatlantic Strategy, International Republican Institute; Deputy State Secretary, Veronika Varga-Bajusz; Deputy State Secretary Máté Vincze;  Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew G. Boyse; Ms. Susan Hutchison, former Director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences and her husband Colonel Andy Hutchison; Katalin Kádár-Lynn, Founder of Helena History Press; Pál Schmitt, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Hungarian Embassy and his wife Evelin Szabó; Anna Smith Lacey, Executive Director of Hungary Foundation; Csenge Palotai, Director of the Liszt Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center of New York and Ms. Zsuzsanna Fekete, Hungarian Diaspora Liaison at the Embassy of Hungaryin Washington DC.

Also in attendance: Coalition board members: Chairman Emerita Edith K. Lauer; President Emeritus Max Teleki; Zsolt Szekeres, Treasurer; Coalition Vice President Csilla Grauzer, Honorary Consul of Hungary in Minnesota and President of the Minnesota Hungarians; Piros Pazaurek, Honorary Consul of Hungary in Daytona Beach, FL; Enikő Molnár Basa; Tibor and Emese Purger; and Dr. Sándor Végh and his wife Dr. Edit Velényi.

Many Coalition LTP Alumni were also in attendance: – Anna Smith Lacey, Hungary Foundation; Noémi Bánhidi, LTP Program Coordinator; Luca Mórocz; Réka Veres; Faye Gillespie and Lilla Fördős.

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