Washington, DC – Eight mayors from Hungary completed their three-week seminar in the United States, departing New York on Saturday. The delegation’s Public Policy Seminar and Training Program was sponsored by the Hungarian American Coalition, together with the US Embassy in Budapest and the Voluntary Visitors program of the US Department of State.
The Seminar’s purpose was to familiarize the Hungarian city and local leaders – many of whom have had very little exposure to the United States – with public policy issues in the American context, build relationships within the US government in their respective fields of expertise, and take part in intensive English-language training.
The Training Program began with a 12-day stay in Cleveland, OH, where the mayors were immersed in English language and American culture. In addition to attending intensive English classes at Ashland University for six hours a day, the mayors participated in briefings with the Mayor of Cleveland and non-governmental associations, celebrated Independence Day with their American host families, and met with members of Cleveland’s large Hungarian-American community.
In the second phase of the program, the mayors spent 8 days in Washington, D.C. Participants received an overview of the American federalist system and the role of local governments. Meetings included the International Trade Commission of the Department of Commerce and the National League of Cities, and discussions of how non-governmental organizations participate in housing, city services, and cultural issues.
Field trips to Baltimore, Greenbelt and to Annapolis, Maryland’s capital, gave the participants insight into local government at the city level, and how states get involved in foreign trade independently of the federal government.
Other Washington events included a briefing with His Excellency András Simonyi, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States; a reception at the Hungarian Reformed Federation (an organizational member of the Hungarian American Coalition); and a cocktail party at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Max Teleki, member of the Coalition’s Executive Committee.
The program concluded with a two-day stay in New York City.