Two Hungarian American Coalition leaders, Edith Lauer, Chairman, and Zsolt Szekeres, Treasurer, were the honorees of the Sixth Hope Gala Ball, held on Saturday, Febuary 16, 2002, in Hanover, New Jersey.
The Hope Gala Ball has been organized since 1996 by a group of New York-area young adult members of the national organization, Hungarian Communion of Friends. Each year the Ball Committee selects honorees “…who work tirelessly for Hungarian causes, both here and abroad… (and) … those who have made us stronger.” Previous honorees include Tibor Cseh, Gabor Bodnar, Laszlo Hamos, Gabriella Mauthner, Agoston Molnar, and others.
John N. Lauer, National Committee Member, gave the laudation of Zsolt Szekeres, and Ms. Ilona Somogyi, Treasurer of the Organizing Committee, and Chairwoman of past Gala Balls, read the laudation and presented the award to Edith Lauer. Each was honored for long years of service in promoting democratic reform in Hungary, and providing assistance to historic Hungarian minority communities in Romania, Slovakia, Vojvodina, and Carpatho-Ukraine.
As in past years, the proceeds of this year’s Ball will benefit a Hungarian educational institution or organization in the Carpathian basin. This year the beneficiary will be the Student Aid Association of Kikinda, in the Vojvodina (Vajdasag) region of former Yugoslavia.
Ms. Paulette Layton and Ms. Zsuzsanna Somogyi served as Co-Chairs of the Organizing Committee, and Ms. Reka Ludanyi was Secretary The Ball was attended by 200 people from the tri-state area, as well as several out-of town members of the Hungarian American Coalition, and the Hungarian Communion of Friends, whose Board Meeting was held on the day of the Ball. A dozen Hungarian American debutantes and their escorts opened the Ball with the traditional and elegant waltz.
The Hungarian American Coalition is a nationwide non-profit organization that promotes public understanding and awareness of Hungarian American issues.