On April 18, the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) hosted its Annual Gala Benefit at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC to honor the accomplishments of Dr. August J. Molnár. Dr. Molnár is the Founder and President of the American Hungarian Foundation of New Brunswick, NJ.
Coalition Vice President Andrea Lauer Rice welcomed the distinguished audience. Attendees included Mrs. Katherine M. Sapienza, Dr. Molnár’s daughter; Dr. and Mrs. Lee Edwards, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Dr. and Mrs. Róbert Gábriel, Rector of the University of Pécs, Hungary; Dr. Zsolt Harsányi, Chairman of the Board of the American Hungarian Foundation; Ambassador of Slovakia and Mrs. Rastislav Kacer; the Honorable Ernest L. Konnyu; Congressman and Mrs. Dennis Kucinich; the Honorable Mary V. Mochary; Ambassador and Mrs. Ferenc Somogyi; Mr. György Vámos, President of the Carl Lutz Foundation; Ambassador and Mrs. George Herbert Walker, III; and Mr. Damon Wilson, Director for European Affairs, National Security Council.
The Coalition Gala was co-chaired by the William Penn Association, represented by Mr. William Bero and Mr. William Vasvary, and Mr. and Mrs. John N. Lauer.
Coalition President Maximilian Teleki delivered the keynote speech and narrated a video highlighting Dr. Molnár’s contributions to Hungarian Americans over the past five decades.
The Coalition’s award was presented by Dr. Balázs Somogyi and Maximilian Teleki, with the following inscription: “In grateful recognition of Dr. August J. Molnár, Founder and President of the American Hungarian Foundation, for his five decades of service to our community, his enduring contributions to preserving and promoting the Hungarian-American heritage, his long and distinguished record of service, August J. Molnár has earned the deepest gratitude of Hungarian-Americans.”
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Molnár recognized many major contributors and factors which made the American Hungarian Foundation one of the pillars of Hungarian American life, emphasizing the role of the community as a whole. He also shared his vision of the Foundation’s future and requested the continued support of the Hungarian American community.
Ambassador Ferenc Somogyi recognized the importance of Dr. Molnár’s lifetime achievements for the Hungarian nation and read a special message from László Sólyom, President of the Republic of Hungary.
Members of the Chairman’s Committee included: Mr. and Mrs. J. Joe Adorjan, Ms. Julia Ernst, Mrs. Ina Ginsburg, Ms. Susan Hutchison, H. E. Ambassador György von Habsburg, Mr. Zsolt Harsányi, Mr. and Mrs. László Megyeri, the Honorable Mary V. Mochary, Mr. C. Barton Rice Jr. and Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice, H. E. The Ambassador of Hungary and Mrs. Andrea Bors Somogyi, Dr. and Mrs. Balázs Somogyi, Coalition President Mr. Maximilian N. Teleki and Mrs. Wendy J. Teleki, William Penn Association Chairman Mr. Stephen J. Varga, and The Honorable George Herbert Walker III, former Ambassador to Hungary, and Mrs. Carol Walker.
Board Members of the Coalition who attended the event were Mr. Imre Lendvai-Lintner, Mr. Lászlo Hámos, Mr. László Megyeri, Mr. George Dózsa and Mr. Zsolt Szekeres.
Coalition Vice President Andrea Lauer Rice closed the evening by thanking all guests for supporting the Coalition’s Scholarship Fund, and for taking part in a special evening that honored a great Hungarian American.
April 19 saw the opening of a week-long exhibit entitled “Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest”. During World War II, the Swiss Consul Carl Lutz saved thousands of Jews in Budapest from deportation to Nazi death camps by issuing tens of thousands of protective letters for Hungarian Jews and establishing Swiss safe houses throughout Budapest, such as the Glass House, an old industrial building in Vadász Street. The exhibit is sponsored by the Coalition, the Carl Lutz Foundation, the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, the Embassy of Hungary, and the Embassy of Switzerland. The exhibit is open to the public from April 21 through April 26 at the Kossuth House, Washington, DC.
On the same day, the Coalition hosted a half-day symposium at the Kossuth House entitled “Hungarian Americans Together”, an overview of educational and cultural programs of the Hungarian American community, with Professor Molnár as featured speaker. The Rector of the University of Pécs, Dr. Róbert Gábriel, introduced the university’s plans as they expand their activities involving U.S. universities. Several Hungarian American organizations also participated and introduced their activities.