Hungarian Embassy and Hungarian American Coalition co-sponsor historic seminar: “Hungary and the Fall of Communist Dominoes”

Ten years to the day of the first free elections in a Warsaw Pact country, the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian American Coalition held a seminar in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. “The Hungarian people made a historic decision in free elections, which resulted in the establishment of a democratic Parliament,” recalled Hungarian Foreign Minister,Janos Martonyi, in his opening remarks.

The seminar, entitled “Hungary and the Fall of the Communist Dominoes,” consisted of two panels. First, the focus was on The Events of Transition to Democracy in Central Europe and Hungary, 1989-1990. The panelists, all involved in the democratic changes in Hungary included Ambassador Mark Palmer U.S. Ambassador to Hungary between 1986-90; Col. (Ret.) Ruth Anderson, Defense and Air Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest from 1988-91; and Geza Jeszenszky, Ambassador of Hungary to the U.S. since 1998, who served as Foreign Minister of Hungary between 1990-94. This panel was moderated by Mrs. Edith Lauer, Chairman of the Board of the Hungarian American Coalition.

In the second panel the perspective shifted to U.S. Foreign Policy Towards Central Europe and Hungary, with insights offered by American policy experts: Mr. Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of State during the events of 1989-90; Mr. Robert L. Hutchings, Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council from 1989-92; Mr. Stephen J. Flanagan, Associate Director and Member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State between 1989-95; and Mr. Thomas O. Melia, who served as Program Director of the National Democratic Institute between 1988-92. The panel was moderated by Mr. Frank Koszorus, Jr., member of the Board of the Hungarian American Coalition and attorney at Collier, Shannon, and Scott of Washington, DC.

The seminar, which was attended by appr. 80 people, was followed by a reception. Oklahoma Congressman, Ernest Istook, offered short remarks about the remarkable contributions of Hungarians to freedom, science and the arts.

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