Washington, D.C. – On November 6, 2013, the 3rd annual Diaspora Council meeting was held at the Hungarian Parliament. More than 70 leaders and representatives of organizations worldwide participated, including 21 Hungarian American attendees, 14 of which were Hungarian American Coalition members.
During a day of meetings and presentations diaspora representatives heard interesting and inspiring speeches from various leaders of the Hungarian government.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán put into context recent Hungarian history, attributing the nation’s achievements during the past three years to reaffirming that Hungary is built on a Christian value system and is committed to building a work-based economy. “Hungary has given its response to the crisis of Western civilization, and we believe it’s the right response,” he stated. “Even our opponents have started to acknowledge that Hungary is on the right path.” Mr. Orban stressed the importance of a strong economy as the basis for national identity and pride. He encouraged members of the diaspora to exercise their vote in next year’s parliamentary elections and thereby “fully rejoin the nation’s blood circulation.”
Deputy Prime Minister for Hungarian Communities Abroad, Zsolt Semjén, described the government’s vision of the Hungarian nation as a three-legged stool comprised of Hungarians living in Hungary, in the Carpathian Basin and in diaspora communities around the world. He stressed the equal importance of all three for the creation of a strong and united Hungarian nation.
Several representatives from the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Internship Program (KCSP) that sent 50 young Hungarians to work for 6 months with diaspora organizations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere presented on their experiences. Many of the KCSP interns and their mentors attended the diaspora meeting and were thrilled to hear that due to the overwhelming success of this program. Mr. Semjén’s announcement that the program would not only continue but double in size to 100 interns was greeted with enthusiastic applause.
Presentations were also made about the Julianus Program, designed to create a database of Hungarian churches, museums and statues outside Hungary. In addition, the newly created Mikes Kelemen Program will focus on collecting valuable Hungarian books and artifacts and returning them to Hungary.
Topics of discussion also included the importance of Hungary’s outreach to its sizeable diaspora: of registering on the National Register (Nemzeti Regiszter) website, of applying for Hungarian citizenship for those interested, and the details of how to register and vote in the upcoming election.
Following a lunch break in the Parliament and a press conference by Mr. Semjén, the Diaspora Council divided into the various regional areas for further discussions. In the U.S. section László Hámos was re-elected to a two-year term as the President of the American Diaspora Council and will be assisted during that period by Andrea Lauer Rice of Atlanta, Georgia.
After voting unanimously to accept the Closing Statement, representatives of the Diaspora Council attended a reception in the Parliamentary Delegation Room hosted by László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary.
“This conference clearly represents an ongoing effort by this government to redefine the relationship among Hungarians living within her borders and throughout the world. It is an opportunity for all Hungarians to act in the spirit of patriotism. I feel incredibly proud to be part of this global family, and look forward to working with my colleagues in the spirit of fellowship and unity in the years to come” said Maximilian Teleki, President of the Coalition.
Ágnes Csiffary, President, Metroplex Magyar Cultural Cirlce, Dallas, TX
András Demeter, President, Chicago Hungarian Cultural Circle
Csilla Grauzer, President, Minnesota Hungarians Inc.
László Hajdú-Németh, Representing the American Hungarian Foundation, New Brunswick, NJ
László Hámos, President, Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, New York, NY
Dr. Peter Kovalszki, President, Magyar Baráti Közösség – Hungarian Communion of Friends
Andrea Lauer Rice, Representing the Atlanta Hungarian Meetup
Imre Lendvai Lintner, President, Hungarian Scout Association in Exteris
Kálmán Magyar, Representing the American Hungarian Educators Association
Miklós Perehazy, President, United Magyar House, Los Angeles, CA
Bishop Béla Poznan, Calvin Synod
Dr. Balázs Somogyi, President, Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut
Éva Szabó, President, Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society
Bishop Sándor Szabó, Reformed Church of America
Maximilian Teleki, President, Hungarian American Coalition, Washington D.C.
Ottilia Varga, Representing the Kossuth Club, Sarasota, FL
Ágnes Virga, President, Hungarian Society of Massachusetts
Attila Weiser Jr., President, Colorado Hungarian Club
Julianna Babics, Representing the Triangle Hungarian Club – North Carolina Hungarians
Csaba Siffel, Representing the Hungarian Community Church of Georgia
László Varju, Representing the Chicago Hungarian Cultural Circle