News | Press Releases 2017

Coalition President Attends Inaugural Events

Washington, DC – Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice and her husband Barton Rice attended several events in the nation’s capital this weekend at the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States. 

On Thursday, January 19, they attended the “Voices of the People” Welcome Concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

On Friday, January 20, they witnessed the peaceful transition of power and the Inaugural Address, followed by the traditional Inaugural Parade. That evening, they attended the Freedom Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where President Trump made a brief statement and he and Vice President Pence appeared with their families.

“It was very exciting to participate in all of these events in person. We thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the uniquely American traditions and pomp and circumstance around the formal Inauguration and look forward to seeing how bilateral relations can be strengthened between Hungary and the United States with a new Administration,” said Lauer Rice.

On Saturday, January 21, they attended the “Salute to Freedom” Inaugural Brunch at the new building of the Embassy of Hungary in Washington D.C. Several Coalition Board members were in attendance including Dr. Ágnes Virga, Chairman; Stefan Fedor, Vice President and Erika Fedor, Dr. Péter Forgách and László Hámos.

Coalition VP Stefan Fedor, Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice, Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi, Dr. Péter Forgách, Coalition Chairman Dr. Ágnes Virga, and Mrs. Erika Fedor at The Inaugural Brunch organized by the Embassy of Hungary in Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017

The brunch was attended by approximately 100 people: including several Congressional Representatives, Ambassadors – including representatives from all four Visegrad countries, Honorary Consuls, and representatives from Hungary.

Several distinguished guests made remarks: Ambassador Reka Szemerkenyi, Ambassador Peter Kmec, Slovakia, Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, Poland, DCM Zdenek Beranek, Czech Republic, The Honorable George Pataki, former Governor of New York, Kristóf Altusz, Deputy State Secretary for North American Affairs, Hungary, Congressman Mike Coffman, Colorado, Congressman Steve King, Iowa, Congressman Don Bacon, Nebraska, Congressman Steven Womack, Arkansas and Dr. James Carafano, Heritage Foundation.

Governor George Pataki, made a passionate speech: “Today everything changes. For the past 8 years, it seems to me that the Administration has been confused and too often spent time with avowed enemies of America – like Iran and Cuba – and not enough time with committed friends of America, like the Visegrad Four… Hungary has been such a great friend to America – not just being in NATO, but sending troops to Afghanistan, helping support logistically in Iraq, camps and transfer bases and working on counter-terrorism measures. For the past 6 years, Hungary has been a great friend to America; sadly America has not been a good enough friend to Hungary. That ends now.” The live video of Governor Pataki’s speech can be downloaded here.

Three interns from the flagship Coalition Internship Program (CIP) were also in attendance just days before their 4-month internship is completed and they return to Hungary: Mária Béres, Sarolta Borzási, and Alexandra Tari. In addition to their internship assignments, these interns participated in several unique events including celebrations and commemorations for the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the U.S. Presidential election and the 58th Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

Coalition Board members also attended additional “Salute to Freedom” Hungarian Embassy events later in the evening, including a piano concert by Adam Gyorgy and reception. Coalition attendees included: Dr. Agnes Virga, Stefan and Erika Fedor, Anne Bader and Dr. Peter Forgach.

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