Washington, DC – Dr. Balázs Somogyi, Coalition board member and founder of the Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut, was honored with the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Középkeresztje) on March 15, 2016. The award was presented by János Áder, President of Hungary, at an award ceremony in the Dome Hall of the Hungarian Parliament.
Balázs Somogyi was honored in recognition of his outstanding service in the Hungarian American community – for his dedication to support and preserve Hungarian cultural heritage.
Balázs Somogyi was born in 1938 in Győr, Hungary. After completing Ferenc Kölcsey High School in 1956, he attended Semmelweis University in Budapest until the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution. Along with his parents, sister and brother, he left Hungary in December, 1956. After a nearly two-year stay in Vancouver, BC, the family settled in the United States in 1958. He completed his education in the State University of New York, and became a medical doctor in 1965. He served in the United States Air Force for two years. He became board-certified in Orthopedic Surgery in 1974. He is married to Csilla Makay, and is a father of three daughters. The family lives in Cheshire, Connecticut.
Between 1963 and 1978, Dr. Somogyi was the director of the New York Hungarian Folkdance Ensemble. He has been director of the Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut since the mid 1970-s. He joined MBK (Hungarian Communion of Friends) in 1975 and served as its president for two terms. In 1991 he represented MBK as a founding member of the Coalition and served as Chairman of the Board for one year. He is a member of the Diaspora Council. He serves as executive council member of the Széchenyi István Society of New York and is vice-president of the New York based Memorial (Emlékmű) Committee. He is member of the executive council of the Wallingford Hungarian Club, and serves on the Consistory of the Hungarian E. & R Reformed Church of Wallingford.