On March 23, Edith K. Lauer, Chairman of the Board of the Hungarian American Coalition, was among the seven latest recipients of the Magyar Örökség Dij (Hungarian Heritage Award) in Budapest. Mrs. Lauer, whose nomination was supported by letters from László Dobos, Sándor Csoóri, Ildikó Orosz, József Kasza and others, received the award for her “benificent service on behalf of Hungarians abroad.”
In his laudation of Mrs. Lauer (broadcast on tape at the award ceremony), Transylvanian writer András Sütõ praised the activities of the Hungarian American Coalition on behalf of NATO membership for Hungary and the rights of Hungarian minorities, as well as Mrs. Lauer’s moral and financial support for Hungarian minority students and cultural institutions in five countries. “These are vitally important accomplishments,” Sütõ said.
The Hungarian Heritage Award is given four times a year to individuals whose achievements can serve as positive examples to “our grandchildren’s grandchildren” and enhance their pride in their Hungarian identity, according to the statement of the Magyarorszagért Alapitvány (Foundation for Hungary) which established the award in 1995.
“Given the distortions of history during 50 years of communism, we must endeavor to point out those constructive, uplifting efforts and achievements that restore some balance to how Hungarians view themselves and their nation’s achievements in science, culture and for the betterment of society,” the Foundation declared.
The Foundation, headed by Dr. József Hámori, has honored both currently active individuals, and those long deceased whose efforts were not adequately acknowledged by earlier generations. Awardees must be nominated by Hungarian citizens who provide supporting documentation. Awardees are selected by secret ballot of the Evaluation Committee, comprised of 27 Hungarians prominent in their fields. To date 182 Hungarians have been honored, whose names are entered into a “Golden Book” displayed at the Hungarian National Museum.
In accepting the award, Mrs. Lauer described Hungarian heritage as “the clear spring-water from which 15 million Hungarians can draw nourishment.” She thanked her family, supporters and colleagues in the Hungarian American Coalition. “I feel the Hungarian Heritage Award has been bestowed on all of us,” she said.