The Annual Meeting of the Hungarian American Coalition was held in New Brunswick, New Jersey on June 5, 1992 to coincide with a three-day flurry of Hungarian activities. Members from across the United States met to review the Coalition’s past year and plan its future activities.
The Coalition meeting was one of several gatherings taking place on the weekend of June 4-6. On Thursday, June 4, a delegation from New Brunswick’s Sister City, Debrecen, joined American business people for the Trade 2000 symposium, co-sponsored by the New Brunswick Sister Cities Program and the Office of Economic Development. On Saturday a large number of both out-of-town and local participants converged for the seventeenth annual Hungarian Festival, including a tribute to United States military personnel of Hungarian descent.
The Coalition’s annual meeting, held Friday evening at the Hungarian Heritage Center, was preceded by a meeting of the Board of Directors and by a well-attended buffet dinner. Among the dinner guests were representatives of a variety of Hungarian organizations, Member of the Hungarian Parliament Dr. Stephen Count Bethlen with his wife, and the Debrecen delegation, which included the city’s mayor, Dr. Jozsef Hevessy.
In remarks, Coalition leaders articulated the goals of the organization. Chairman of the Board of Directors Reverend Imre Bertalan and President Edith Lauer spoke of the Coalition’s mission to facilitate, rather than replicate, the work of its member organizations. President Lauer also stressed the importance of maintaining contact with the second and third generations of Hungarian-Americans through this very challenging and hopeful period in Hungarian history. It is with this vision that the Coalition undertakes its agenda.
That agenda includes collecting and disseminating information to members, the public, and the press through a Washington-based information office, a newsletter – Hungarian American Coalition News, and a newly-created Information Committee, whose first task will be to examine issues relating to the Bôs-Nagymaros Dam project. The Coalition’s information efforts focus on member activities and issues of universal importance to Hungarians, both in this country and abroad.
The Coalition also seeks to promote educational and cultural programs. It is establishing a directory of university programs which foster exchanges between American and Hungarian institutions. It is also supporting the “Video History of Hungary” project, intended for educational distribution.
Participants at the weekend’s events agree that the success of the Coalition’s meetings, as well as the attendance at other events, demonstrate that we are truly entering a new era, not only in Hungary, but in the lives and work of Hungarian-Americans. Many challenges remain, but the spirit of optimism and cooperation evident throughout the weekend indicate that these challenges can be met.