Washington, DC The Hungarian American Coalition (the “Coalition”) participated in a conference held in the Hart Senate Office Building on May 15, 2002. Coinciding with President Bush1s summit meeting with Russian President Putin, the conference titled, “U.S. Russian Relations and its Implications for Central and East Europe, ” was sponsored by the Washington-based Central and East European Coalition (the “CEEC”).
The conference included two panels: “Security and a New Europe” and “U.S., Russia, European Union – Economic Interests.” Paul Goble (Voice of America), Steve Flanagan (National Defense University), and Frank Cevasco (Hicks and Associates) served on the first panel and discussed the new role of NATO in the 21st century and the need for NATO enlargement. In his opening remarks, Coalition board member Frank Koszorus, Jr., who served on the organizing committee of the conference and as moderator of the first panel, referred to the various components of security in the region, not the least of which is the respect for minority rights. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Congressman Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) then summarized America1s contribution to Central and East Europe.
The second panel included George Ingram (Campaign to Preserve U.S. Global Leadership), Radek Sikorski (American Enterprise Institute) and Michael Castellano (office of Congressman Sander Levin, D-MI). They discussed U.S. foreign assistance programs to Central and East Europe, the elimination of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and the granting of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to those countries yet to attain that status. Speakers for both panels entertained questions from an audience of over 100 people. Among the attendees were congressional and committee staff members, Administration representatives, and members of the media, diplomatic corps and the ethnic American communities, including Coalition Chairman Edith K. Lauer and board member Anne C. Bader.
A reception followed the conference, honoring several Members of Congress for their leadership and dedication to Central and East European issues. The honorees were: Senator Jesse Helms (accepted by Patricia McNerney, Minority Chief of Staff, Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) and Representative Constance Morella (R-MD). Other CEEC honorees were Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Representative William Lipinski (D-IL). The Coalition also honored its special advisor Jan Nowak Jezioranski with a Special Award of Appreciation for his long-standing support and dedication to issues related to Central and East Europe. Mrs. Lauer was among those who thanked Mr. Jezioranski for his many contributions.
The Coalition is a nationwide nonprofit organization which promotes public understanding and awareness of Hungarian-American issues.