Hungarian American Coalition Receives $150,000 Grant for Congressional Internship Program

Washington, DC – The Charles Simonyi Fund for the Arts and Sciences has renewed and increased its grant to $150,000 to underwrite the Hungarian American Coalition’s (HAC) Congressional Internship Program (CIP) until 2011.

This signature program of the Coalition was established in 2005 for the purpose of bringing outstanding young Hungarian Americans and English-speaking Hungarians from Hungary and the neighboring countries to learn about and gain first-hand experience at the U.S. Congress and various Washington-based institutions. Internship participants are expected to complete a Coalition research project that enables them to become familiar with the greater Hungarian American community. After they are selected, interns receive a pre-internship training session in Budapest, and once in Washington, Coalition President, Max Teleki, supervises their four months-long internship experience.

Through assignments to Congressional offices, think tanks and non-government organizations CIP participants learn about the workings of both the U.S. government and the non-profit world. It is hoped that their experience will help them establish contacts in the US in their chosen field, and also will motivate them to enter public service in their country of origin.

Host institutions have included: the office of Congressman Tom Lantos; Congressman Dennis Kucinich; the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES); Heritage Foundation; William Penn Association and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation.

Twenty four students have completed HAC’s Congressional Internship program since 2005. The results in professional development are truly impressive: Marton Aichelburg has co-founded with another former intern, Benedek Varsanyi, Civic Enterprises, a Hungarian NGO, to provide tutoring by senior citizens to troubled youth www.civicenterprises.org; Gergely Boszormenyi-Nagy, who works at the Perspective Institute (Budapest) (www.nezopontintezet.hu) has recently been widely quoted as an expert on the Hungarian elections; Anna Stumpf serves as American Desk Officer in the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has created the Common Sense Society, where university students and young professionals gather to discuss issues such as freedom in Hungarian politics, the importance of entrepreneurship, the transatlantic relationship, energy security, or the role of religion in society. (www.commonsensebudapest.com)

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