Hungarian American Coalition Holds Fourth Annual Meeting White House Briefing, Mikulas Dinner Precede Annual Event

The Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) elected its Officers and Board at the Coalition’s fourth Annual Meeting, held Saturday, December 3, at the Kossuth House in Washington, D.C.

The Coalition elected the following officers: Edith Lauer, President; Vice Presidents Gabor Bodnar, Bishop Andrew Harsanyi, Rev. Istvan Mustos, Dr. Balazs Somogyi, and Bishop Dr. Francis Vitez. Also elected were Secretary, Dr. Andras Ludanyi and Treasurer, Zsolt Szekeres. Of the Coalition’s 29 Board Members, 22 attended the Annual Meeting representing organizations from as far away as Denver, Seattle and Hawaii. New Board Members elected to three-year terms are the Hungarian Club of Colorado represented by Mr. Eugene Megyesy, Jr., and Mr. Arved Teleki, as individual member.

Following the Annual meeting, the new Board considered several resolutions concerning the Coalition’s future projects. Among them, the Coalition Board accepted the request of Duna TV, Hungary’s satellite television station, for a cooperative fundraising project. The project aims to secure air time on U.S. public access cable channels and provide Duna TV programs to cable subscribers in the United States.

In other Board decisions taken yesterday, the Coalition will continue to develop its Washington-based information center and communications activities. The Coalition will also co-sponsor, with the Hungarian Communion of Friends and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, the fifth Human Rights Workshop, aimed at preparing young Hungarian-Americans to effectively represent human rights issues in their local communities. The 1995 workshop will be held at Shepherd’s College in West Virginia.

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All those who wish more information are encouraged to contact the Hungarian American Coalition’s Washington office: 818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 850, Washington, DC 20006, USA; telephone (202) 296-9505, telefax (202) 775-5175.

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This weekend’s Coalition-sponsored activities began Friday afternoon, at a White House Briefing organized especially for Coalition Members. Speakers were: Alexis Herman, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Public Liaison; Daniel Fried, Director of Central and Eastern European Affairs, National Security Council; Carlos Pascual, Deputy Assistant Administrator at the Bureau for Europe and the Newly Independent States of the Agency for International Development (AID); Stephen Flanagan, Associate Director of the Policy and Planning Staff, Department of State; and Swanee Hunt, newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Austria.

Following each speaker’s formal presentations, Coalition members put questions to the Administration officials. Topics discussed included the Administration’s approach to collective human rights for national minorities; requirements for an accelerated entry of Hungary into NATO; and ways to effectively include the input of Hungarian American organizations into U.S.-sponsored aid projects to Hungary. At the conclusion Mrs. Lauer expressed the appreciation of the Coalition for the White House Briefing. At the same time she urged the presenters to utilize the special knowledge of the Coalition’s members regarding Hungary and delivering U.S. assistance programs to Hungary.

As in previous years, the 1994 Coalition’s Annual Meeting coincided with the Coalition’s traditional Mikulas Dinner. This year, the festive and elegant dinner was hosted at the German Embassy House, where the 75 dinner guests were greeted by the following message from the German Embassy: “…This is an appropriate year for us to celebrate together, for 1994 marks a special anniversary shared by both Germans and Hungarians. It was five years ago this fall that Hungary made the conscious choice of opening her borders which allowed East Germans to gain entry to Austria. Everybody then knew the meaning of these words of vision: ‘Europe’s freedom will be decided on Hungarian soil.’ These words were written not in 1989 but in 1849 in the Proclamation of the Peoples of Europe by the Hungarian liberal and freedom fighter, Lajos Kossuth, 140 years before the iron curtain fell.” The dinner guests included Gábor Horváth, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Hungary; Balázs László, Consul General in New York City; Honorary Consuls László Bojtos, Mrs. Emese Komjáthy-Pring; Eugene Megyesy, Jr.; Mrs. Helen Szablya; Mr. Pál Toldalagi; Mrs. Eva E. Voisin, Esq., as well as Ms. Michelle Marinelli from the office of Congressman Tom Lantos.

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