News | Press Releases 2007

Hungarian American Coalition Honors Former Ambassador George Herbert Walker III

Washington, D.C. – On May 4, the Hungarian American Coalition (Coalition) hosted its Annual Gala Benefit at the Decatur House in Washington, DC to honor the accomplishments of Ambassador George Herbert Walker III, who served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary from 2003 to 2006.

Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice, Vice President of the Coalition, welcomed the distinguished audience, including the Ambassador’s wife, Mrs. Carol Walker, their family members and friends, as well as Ambassador Andras Simonyi and Mrs. Nada Simonyi, H.E. Mr. Janos Horvath, Member of the Hungarian Parliament and Mrs. Linda Horvath, Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman, Victims of Communism Foundation and Mrs. Lee Edwards, Mr. Philip T. Reeker, former Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy, Budapest, and Mrs. Solveig Reeker, Mr. Karl Altau, Director of the Joint Baltic American National Committee, and many Coalition Board members who came from all accross the United States.

Ms. Rice stressed the Coalition’s commitment since its founding 16 years ago to programs such as the White House Internship, the Congressional Internship as well as the Coalition’s Scholarship programs. The proceeds of the Gala Benefit will enable the Coalition to offer to an ever growing number of young Hungarians what is often a life-defining experience to observe first-hand American government institutions and to study at American universities.

The event was co-chaired by three outstanding business leaders from St. Louis, Missouri: Mr. Michael Neidorff, CEO of Centene Corp., Mr. Julius Joe Adorjan, Honorary Consul General for Hungary in St. Louis, and Mr. Zsolt Rumy, CEO of Zoltek Coorporation. In his remarks, Mr. Neidorff described the outstanding contributions his good friend, Ambassador Walker has made in both business and non-profit spheres in Missouri.

Coalition President Maximilian Teleki delivered the keynote speech recognizing Ambassador Walker. He described Ambassador Walker as someone who “has been unusually even-handed in building official and personal ties, and in giving advice when it was sought, to both the government coalition and members of the opposition in Hungary. Throughout his service, he has demonstrated the best of American character: fairness and openness; a genuine interest and willingness to help others; and a sincere desire to find solutions to difficult problems. Ambassador Walker also recognized that in this historically and culturally complex area of the world, enforcing internationally recognized national minority rights takes on keen importance. These rights, after all, are in the best traditions of American foreign policy, and the very touchstone of any society that calls itself fair, democratic and free. Ambassador Walker’s genuine sensitivity and thoghtfulness regarding the historic Hungarian communities in East and Central Europe well served our interests in promoting democracy in the region.”

The Coalition’s special award was presented by Maximilian Teleki and Mrs. Edith Lauer, Chair Emerita, with the following inscription: “In appreciation of George Herbert Walker III, Ambassador to Hungary, 2003-2006, for representing the best traditions of the United States in supporting the forces of freedom, democracy and solidarity for the benefit of the American and Hungarian nations, and whose record of service and integrity has earned the enduring gratitude of Hungarian-Americans.”

In his acceptance speech, Ambassador Walker acknowledged Mr. Teleki’s leadership and the Coalition’s work, in strengthening ties between the US and Hungary, which he said were of vital importance. Ambassador Walker also mentioned the 5 million Hungarians living beyond the borders of Hungary as a result of “that obnoxious treaty of Trianon which unfairly burdened the Hungarian people and still does to this day.” And he added that today, Hungary is member of a strong and united Europe, and a trusted member of the transatlantic alliance ensuring a prosperous future for generations to come.

Hungary’s President, Laszlo Solyom, and former US President, George Herbert Walker Bush, saluted Ambassador Walker in letters sent to the Gala Dinner participants.

Members of the Chairman’s Committee included: the Honorable Nancy G. Brinker, Ms. Julia Ernst, Mrs. Ina Ginsburg, H. E. Ambassador György von Habsburg, Ms. Susan Hutchison, Mr. John N. Lauer and Mrs. Edith K. Lauer, Mr. and Mrs. Imre Lendvai Lintner, the Honorable Aniko Gaal Schott, Mr. C. Barton Rice Jr. and Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice, H.E. the Ambassador of Hungary and Mrs. Náda Simonyi, Mrs. Helen M. Szablya, Mr. Maximilian Teleki and Mrs. Wendy Jagerson Teleki, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Varga. Major sponsors of the evening included: Diebold Inc., the Charles Simonyi Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, the William Penn Association, the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, the Pannonius Foundation and numerous other donors.

Andrea Lauer Rice closed the evening by thanking all guests for supporting the Coalition’s Scholarship Fund, for continuing to recognize the Coalition’s programs of education and information, and for taking part in a special evening that honored a great American.

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