On December 8, 2001, the Hungarian American Coalition held its eleventh Annual Meeting at the Kossuth House in Washington, DC. Those reelected for three-year terms as individual Board members include Ms. Anne Bader, Dr. Stephen Fuzesi, and Mr. George Pogan. Newly elected to the Board were Maximilian Teleki and Ms. Eva Voisin. The organization voted to renew the membership of the Magyar Club of Cleveland and the Hungarian Americans for Human Rights in Delvidek. It also welcomed as a new member the Magyar Amerikai Baratsagert Alapitvany (Foundation for Hungarian American Friendship).
The Board voted to amend the Coalition By-laws to create the new category of “Guest member.” It approved the proposed “Karpatalja Project,” that will fund three school-related construction projects in the villages of Batar and Raffajna, and in the city of Beregszasz (Beregovo), in Carpatho-Ukraine.
With Mr. Charles Vamossy serving as moderator, the Board continued its discussions of organizational changes necessary to strengthen the Coalition as an institution. Board Members were asked to increase their involvement, communication, and support of the organization. The topic of succession planning for future leadership was discussed in preparation for the 2002 elections, as Edith Lauer, Chairman, will retire next December after eleven years at the helm of the Coalition.
On December 7th, forty-five Coalition members participated in a White House Briefing arranged by J.D. Estes, Deputy Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. Briefers included Ms. Heather A. Conley, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, State Department; Mr. Walter Andrusyszyn, Director for European and Eurasian Affairs, National Security Council; and Mr. Eugene Young, Hungary Desk, State Department. Topics of discussion ranged from Hungary’s role in NATO and its purchase of military equipment, the recent remarks of US Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker on anti-Semitism in Hungary, the Hungarian Status Law on Preferences, to the deepening concern about anti-Hungarian rhetoric in Romania and Slovakia, and the need for pro-active US policy in support of restoring autonomy for the province of Vojvodina in Yugoslavia.
That evening, Coalition members and guests attended the traditional Mikulás Dinner hosted by His Excellency Mr. Géza Jeszenszky and Mrs. Jeszenszky at the Hungarian Embassy. Acting as Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Eugene Megyesy, Jr. introduced the Coalition’s Guest of Honor, Dr. Ibolya David, Minister of Justice of the Republic of Hungary. In her remarks Dr. David presented an overview of the remarkable achievements accomplished by Hungary during its difficult transition to a democratic, free-market society. She highlighted the contributions of the present government, and also acknowledged the role played by Hungarian Americans in general, and the Hungarian American Coalition in particular in providing meaningful assistance to Hungary during its transition. Edith Lauer, Coalition Chairman, summed up the projects and accomplishments of the Coalition in 2001.
Also present at the Mikulas Dinner were Mr. Csaba Lorincz, Deputy State Secretary of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, Ambassador and Mrs. Martin Butora of the Republic of Slovakia, Ambassador Laszlo Molnar and Consul General Szabolcs Kerek-Barczy of Hungary, Andras Marton, Director of the new Hungarian Cultural Institute in New York City, several Hungarian Honorary Consuls in the U.S., and Dr. Daniel McDonald, President of the Potomac Foundation.