Hungarian American Coalition Holds 30th Anniversary Celebration in Washington DC

Washington, DC – On October 26, 2022, the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) held a dinner celebrating the 30th anniversary of the organization and honoring supporters of its scholarship programs. Dr. Charles Simonyi, Hungarian American software architect and long-time supporter of the Coalition, was Honorary Chairman of the event, held at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC.

Dr. Endre Szentkirályi, Coalition Chairman, recognized and greeted the many distinguished guests from the Washington DC area and community, who enjoyed a video collage of the Coalition’s accomplishments over the past 30 years.

Governor George Pataki, Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice, Mr. Zsolt Szekeres, Mrs. Susan Hutchison,
Mr. Andy Hutchison and Ms. Katica Avvakumovits at the Coalition’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
Photo credit: Kevin Allen Photography/ Hungarian American Coalition

After dinner, Mrs. Lauer Rice briefly reviewed the challenges and achievements of the Coalition: over the past 30 years, the organization has had 4 presidents, 20 Gala chairmen, 38,000 members, 600+ projects, 515 interns and scholarship recipients, has raised $7.5 million dollars for various programs, and worked with 5 US administrations and 4 Hungarian governments.

In her remarks, she also underlined the Coalition’s successful NATO advocacy, and said: „We certainly see today how vital a role Central and Eastern Europe plays in strengthening the Alliance. Many in the room can tell from painful experience that if left unchallenged, Russia’s invasion of her neighbors will continue. We simply cannot forget.”

She also highlighted the Coalition’s recent fundraising efforts to assist Hungarian and Ukrainian refugees escaping war-torn Ukraine. Since the war, the Coalition helped raise more than $125,000 and supported projects in cooperation with the following organizations: Hungarian Maltese Charity Service; Hungarian Interchurch Aid; Carpathian Foundation; Hungarian (Magyar) Club of Chicago; and Creative Cultural Exchange, Inc. Next a video report was played on the dedication ceremony of the Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue that was recently unveiled at Midtown Atlanta’s Millennium Gate Park on October 23, 2022. According to Mrs. Lauer Rice, “the Coalition’s aim was to create a permanent statue to honor our 1956 Hungarian freedom fighters, but also to inspire all those who continue to fight tyranny, oppression and communism across the world”.

Dr. Endre Szentkirályi, Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, Ambassador Andrew Bremberg and Dr. Lee Edwards at the Coalition’s 30th Anniversary Celebration
Photo credit: Kevin Allen Photography/ Hungarian American Coalition

Mrs. Lauer Rice underlined the importance remembering the legacy of 1956 and praised ’56-er Coalition members. She concluded her remarks by reflecting on the Coalition’s accomplishments: “30 years ago, when democracy finally came to Hungary and the countries of CE Europe, and a small band of 15 organizations and 5 individuals rose up again – not with guns and marches, but with ideas, resources, connections, and a tireless perseverance – they had a vision, recognized an important need at a critical moment and acted together to create the Hungarian American Coalition. We are forever grateful for this band of fearless founders for setting us on a path where we all have been able to make a difference in important matters and historic moments.”

After her remarks, Mrs. Lauer Rice presented Ambassador Szabolcs Takács with a maquette of the Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue, thanking the Embassy of Hungary for providing the initial $10,000 grant to support the statue.

After Ambassador Takács’ remarks commending the Coalition’s wisdom, strength, passion, and durability in the past 30 years, Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice also presented a statue maquette to the Hungary Foundation (HF) who was a ‘Patron of the Arts’ level of sponsor supporting the project with $25,000. On behalf of HF, Chairman of the Board Ambassador April H. Foley accepted the trophy, also complimenting the Coalition’s achievements in the past 30 years.

Coalition President Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice presenting Ambassador April H. Foley with a maquette of the Hungarian Freedom Fighter statue
Photo credit: Kevin Allen Photography/ Hungarian American Coalition

After the presentation of trophies, a short video was played to celebrate Coalition Chairman Emerita Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, who turned 80 this year. The evening concluded with toasts delivered by Governor George Pataki, former Governor of New York; Mrs. Susan Hutchison, former Director of the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences; and Mr. Max Teleki, Coalition President Emeritus.  

Other distinguished guests included: Ambassador Radovan Javorčík, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States; Ambassador Māris Selga, Ambassador of Latvia to the United States; Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi, Senior Advisor, Transatlantic Strategy at the International Republican Institute; Ambassador Tibor P. Nagy Jr., former United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and his wife Mrs. Eva Jane Nagy; Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Other prominent guests included: Mr. Adam Krzywosądzki, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland; Dr. Lee Edwards, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Mrs. Anna Smith Lacey, Executive Director of the Hungary Foundation; and Ms. Zita Mirk, Hungarian Diaspora Liaison at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC. Also in attendance: Coalition board members Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, Chairman Emerita of the Coalition; Mr. Max Teleki, President Emeritus of the Coalition and Mrs. Wendy Teleki; Zsolt Szekeres, Treasurer and his wife Ms. Katica Avvakumovits; Coalition Vice President Ms. Csilla Grauzer, Honorary Consul of Hungary in Minnesota and President of the Minnesota Hungarians; George Pogan, Secretary; Mrs. Anne C. Bader; Ms. Piros Pazaurek, Honorary Consul of Hungary in Daytona Beach, Central Florida; and Mr. Julius Varallyay.

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