Hungarian American Coalition Holds 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala

Washington, DC – On October 7, 2021 the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) held its 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala and Concert honoring the Coalition’s founding individual and organizational members and featuring musical performances by opera singer Levente Molnár and the Béla Bartók Choir and Chamber Orchestra.

At its 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala, the Coalition celebrated three decades of dedicated advocacy, community building and leadership training and its founding members, who had the vision to create the Coalition and help it become the largest Hungarian American umbrella organization. His Excellency János Áder, President of Hungary, was Honorary Chairman of the event. All Gala proceeds will support the Coalition’s educational programs: the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship; the Bognár Family Hungarian Scholarship and the John N. Lauer Leadership Training Program. The full video of the Virtual Gala is available on our YouTube channel.

The Virtual Gala began with a video that provided a retrospective of Coalition Gala Dinner honorees from 2005-2020 with photos and video footage.

Speakers and guests at the center of operations for the Hungarian American Coalition
30th Anniversary Virtual Gala at the Cleveland Hungarian Museum

After the video, Master of Ceremonies and Coalition Rising Chair Endre Szentkirályi introduced Ambassador Szabolcs Takács, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States who delivered a toast.

In his remarks, Ambassador Takács thanked Coalition members for their tireless work and commitment and congratulated the organization on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its founding by saying that “Leaders, representatives of the Hungarian government, and the Hungarian nation as such, very much value the organization as a long-time and committed advocate of Hungarian issue and of the interest of Hungarian communities in the United States. Over the past three decades, this unwavering commitment to represent Hungarian Americans and help understand American thinking and Hungary has been a great assistance to our diplomatic work”.

Guests at the Boston Watch Party hosted by Coalition Vice President Dr. Ágnes Virga

Welcoming remarks were delivered by Master of Ceremonies and Coalition Rising Chair Endre Szentkirályi, who thanked the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society, a member organization of the Coalition for allowing the use of the Cleveland Hungarian Museum for this special occasion and also expressed gratitude to Coalition Vice President Dr. Ágnes Virga, and Board member Dr. Eva E. Voisin for hosting watch parties in Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA.

Next, a special musical performance was featured by the Béla Bartók Choir and Chamber Orchestra.

Coalition Chairman Emerita Mrs. Edith K. Lauer delivering her remarks at the
Cleveland Hungarian Museum

After the concert, Coalition Chairman Emerita Mrs. Edith K. Lauer gave a historical overview of the beginning of the organization, listing the original and continuing goals of the organization. She recalled major projects and accomplishments, as well as some memorable stories in the life of the Coalition.

She said: “I am sure I am not alone in feeling that our lives have been greatly enriched by serving a common cause greater than ourselves. In the past 30 years, together with my husband John, we traveled often and much, to Hungarian inhabited regions and were truly inspired by the many people we met. Even after 30 years, much work remains to be done. I am deeply grateful for the privilege of having been part of the Coalition and I am genuinely proud that my daughter Andrea continues to build the organization into the future.”

Next, a video was shown that paid tribute to the Coalition’s founding individuals and organizations.

After the video, Coalition President Andrea Lauer Rice summarized the Coalition’s many accomplishments over the past three decades and reflected on the Hungarian American community’s perseverance during the pandemic. She also announced the upcoming unveiling of a new Freedom Fighter statue in Georgia to commemorate the 65thanniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

She finished her remarks by thanking Coalition leaders and said: “I looked up the traditional gift one gives on the occasion of a 30th anniversary. (…) There are two stones mentioned, one is the pearl – the symbol of honesty, purity and wisdom. The other is the diamond, symbolizing durability, strength and passion. All of these qualities are ones I would use to describe the leaders of the Coalition over the years.

Guests at the San Francisco Watch Party hosted by Coalition Board Member Dr. Eva Voisin

world-renowned Hungarian baritone Levente Molnár. He sent a heartfelt message of thanks to the Coalition for its three decades of devoted service, and together with his wife and daughter sang a beautiful Hungarian prayer.

The evening concluded with a video collage on the Coalition’s accomplishments in the past 30 years. Finally, Dr. Endre Szentkirályi thanked Coalition Program Coordinator Noémi Bánhidi in Budapest, Coalition member Ildikó Nagy in New York and Zsolt Molnár, technical producer and senior administrator Bocskai Rádió in Cleveland for their technical support.

We are grateful to all our sponsors who made this event possible, especially: Centene Corporation, Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, and Dr. Jeanette Gecsy Grasselli Brown.

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