Leslie Laszlo Megyeri was born in Rozsnyo, Hungary during World War II. His father was a station master for the Hungarian railroad when Leslie was born. The father took the family to Budapest after the war because Rozsnyo became part of the Slovak Republic. This was the first time Leslie became a refugee because many Hungarians were expelled from that part of Hungary. Leslie attended elementary school and gymnasium in Kispest, a district of Budapest. As a teenager, he became a Freedom Fighter. His father was an ardent anti-Communist and was arrested and jailed for his beliefs.
After the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, Leslie became a refugee for the second time. With his family, he went to Ireland and joined the Irish Army. That enlistment helped him to learn English quickly. In 1959, the family moved to Logan, West Virginia which had a vibrant ethnic Hungarian community of several generations of Hungarian coal miners. Eventually, the family moved to Washington, DC so Leslie could attend George Washington University. He earned three degrees there and became an attorney. He continued his education and became a certified public accountant and later earned a master’s in business administration. He also served in the U.S. Army, graduating from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a LtC.
Leslie is a distinguished American citizen who has not only dedicated his life to preserving and celebrating the history, language, traditions, and values of Hungarian-Americans but who was recognized by the Hungarian government for building bridges between the two nations. On August 21, 2007, the Ambassador of Hungary, Andras Simonyi, decorated Leslie with the Gold Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for his outstanding actions during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, his promotion of Hungary’s membership to NATO and his achievements among Hungarian Americans. From 1982 to 1995, Leslie worked for various Committees of the U.S. Congress. From 1995-2000, he was an immigration attorney and helped many Hungarians obtain their citizenship and counseled American Hungarians on regaining their Hungarian citizenship. In 2000, he became the legal advisor of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (HRFA) in Washington, DC and in 2008, he was promoted to President of HRFA.
During his time as a professional staff member of various Congressional Committees including the Subcommittee on Defense, Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on National Security, Government Operations Committee, and Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, he also served as a member of the Central and Eastern European Coalition where he lobbied for the admission of Hungary into NATO and participated in many White House conferences on ethnic matters. He prepared position papers and press releases on various political issues and published several articles in professional journals as well. He personally contributes to Hungarian causes, fosters consensus building, and is proud of his long and dedicated service to HAC.