Dr. Erika Bokor, Mr. József Megyeri and Dr. András Ludányi Receive Hungarian Government Awards

Washington, DC – On January 25, 2020, Dr. Erika Bokor and Mr. József Megyeri, Coalition Board Members, were honored, respectively, with a Silver Cross of Merit and Golden Cross of Merit (Magyar Ezüst Érdemkereszt; Magyar Arany Érdemkereszt).

The award was presented by Dr. Zita Bencsik, Consul General of Hungary on behalf of Dr. János Áder, President of Hungary at the Hungarian Club of Chicago’s Annual Gala Ball. Back in August 2019, Dr. András Ludányi, Coalition member was also awarded with a Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Lovagkeresztje) that was also presented by Dr. Zita Bencsik.

Erika Bokor and József Megyeri receiving their Hungarian Government Awards from Dr. Zita Bencsik, Consul General of Chicago Photo courtesy: Hungarian (Magyar) Club of Chicago

Dr. Erika Bokor and József Megyeri were honored in recognition of their outstanding community-building effort, deepening the ties between diaspora Hungarians of the U.S. and Délvidék.

They both moved to Chicago in the summer of 1974:  she from   Marosvásárhely, Erdély and he from Bánát, Délvidék, where they met at the Chicago high school they both attended.  They became quickly involved with the Hungarian community of Chicago and later expanded their involvement to the U.S.-wide Hungarian Communion of Friends (MBK). 

Very shortly after their arrival to the U.S., they joined the Hunyadi Mátyás Hungarian Scout troop, where they both became assistant troop leaders.  Later, after their daughter Csilla began to attend the scout troop, they shifted their roles into supporting the troop’s activities.  During this time, Mr. Megyeri served as President of the troop’s board where his responsibilities included organizing fundraisers to support the troop, while Dr. Bokor attended the troop’s summer camps in a supportive role.

They were founding members of the Rábai Hungarian Dance Ensemble in which they were active in the 70’s and early 80’s and are also founding members of the current Borozda Hungarian Dance Ensemble, celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.   They enjoy promoting and performing Hungarian folk dances from many regions of the Carpathian basin, at a variety of venues.   Additionally, they have been board members of the Hungarian Club of Chicago for the past three decades, at times serving as Vice-Presidents, where they work to help bring together individuals of Hungarian descent, strengthening their connection to the greater Hungarian community and culture.

Parallel to their Chicago area activities, Dr. Bokor and Mr. Megyeri have been board members of the Hungarian Communion of Friends (Magyar Baráti Közösség, MBK) since the mid 70’s.  She was President of MBK for two terms (2006-2012) and is currently Vice President, while he has been the Chicago area Regional President.  Over the years, they facilitated the work of MBK to promote the development of Hungarian-American identity in the service of a longer-term presence in the region.  MBK has done this through publications such as the ITT-OTT periodicals and the ITT-OTT Yearbook; through its annual ITT-OTT Conference at Lake Hope State Park in Ohio, with the aim of providing an intellectual forum within the context of family vacationing; and through inviting guest speakers from the Carpathian basin as well as from the other regions of Hungarian diaspora. Dr. Bokor and Mr. Megyeri are passionate about sharing these musical, literally and cultural performances with local Hungarian communities, often finding ways to bring invited MBK guests to the Chicago area.

Professionally, Dr. Bokor is a Clinical Psychologist with a private practice, focused on working with individuals and couples, and she also works at times with missionaries as a consultant.  Mr. Megyeri obtained degrees in Physics and Mathematics, and in his professional career is serving the bio-pharma industries, designing computer systems to automate manufacturing processes.

Outside of their busy community work and professional life, they love to travel, experiencing America’s National Parks one tent-camping trip at a time.

Dr. András Ludányi giving a lecture at the 2019 ITT-OTT Conference.
Photo courtesy: Hungarian Communion of Friends

Dr. András Ludányi was honored in recognition of his outstanding community-building effort, and his tireless efforts in deepening the ties between diaspora Hungarians of the U.S. and the motherland. He graduated from Elmhurst College (Illinois) with a History major and a Political Science minor in 1963. He earned his M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. (1971) in Political Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

He joined the faculty of Ohio Northern University (Ada) in 1968 as a member of the History and Political Science Department, wherein his specialty subfields were Comparative Politics and International Relations.  His research has focused on interethnic and inter-nationality relations in East Central Europe and the United States, with particular attention on developments in Transylvania and Vojvodina. He has published numerous articles and reviews and edited four books in his research area.  

He received an IREX/Fulbright grant to continue his research in this area at the Gorky Library in Budapest (1982-83) and was a visiting Fulbright Professor at Kossuth Lajos University from Fall semester, 1992 to the end of Winter semester, 1993. He also was co-organizer and instructor of the Summer Hungarian Studies Program at Portland State University from 1974-1979, and its continuation at ONU from 1980-85. He was conference organizer and guest lecturer at a number of institutions in Ohio including Kent State University, the University of Toledo, Oberlin College, and Bluffton College. He also organized Human Rights Workshops from 1989 to 2000 to influence American policy in East Central Europe.  Some selected recent publications include:  „The Bolyai University and Minority Elite Recruitment: 1944-1959,”(2007); „American and Hungarian Perspectives on Minority Issues,”(2011); „Absent-Minded, Uncoerced and ’Painless’:  Hungarian Assimilation in the United States,”(2017).

In recognition of his work at ONU he received the Wilfred E. Binkley Chair of History and Political Science for three years and the Kernan Robson Chair in Politics for ten years. From the Hungarian state he received the „Köztársasági Érdemrend Kiskeresztje” in 1992 and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Magyar Érdemrend Lovagkeresztje) in 2019 in recognition of both his scholarly and organizational work. 

He was also co-founder of the Hungarian Communion of Friends (MBK/ITT-OTT) and associate editor of its journal and yearbook from 1967 to the present. He retired from ONU in 2008 but has continued his active scholarship through the Nemzetpolitikai Kutatóintézet in Hungary.

Recent Posts