As the new year begins, I would like to take the opportunity to both introduce myself to those of you who do not know me, and to share with you my hopes and our goals for the year.
I joined the Hungarian American Coalition in 1994, first as a Staff Aide, and in 1995 became HAC’s first White House Intern. During this period I was attending Graduate School at The Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), at Johns Hopkins University here in Washington D.C. Since that time I have remained engaged as a HAC Member, Board Member and Executive Committee Member.
I accepted the nomination to become President at this past Annual Board Meeting, with a tremendous sense of gratitude for the faith that has been placed in me. I stand both on the shoulders of HAC’s Founders, and on the shoulders of many of you who have made this organization thrive for nearly 15 years.
Personally, this generational change represents a hopeful look forward, but with an ongoing respect for the Coalition’s common mission and tradition.
As we move forward we must build on our many successes, and continue our struggle for the basic rights and dignity of the whole Hungarian Nation.
I am truly excited and optimistic about this coming year. HAC has an ambitious agenda for 2005 that includes:
Continuing to engage the U.S. Administration and Congress on issues such as:
o The plight of Hungarians in Vojvodina;
o The Property Restitution Legislation, sponsored by Congressman Tom Lantos, that we are working diligently to have introduced, and hopefully passed in the very near future;
o The Visa Waiver Issue; and
o The problem of anti-Americanism in Hungary.
Administering the 2005 “School Directors Public Policy Program” this summer, which we anticipate to be as successful as the previous programs in this series, which brings Hungarian leaders on working visits to the U.S. (last year’s Mayoral Delegation, and the Parliamentary Delegation visit in 2003);
Building our Membership base of individuals and organizations;
Increasing Membership communication and responsiveness;
Sponsoring the U.S. Tour of “The Béla Bartók Choir & Orchestra” in October;
Organizing an aggressive Fundraising Initiative that encompasses both short-term needs and long-term sustainability;
Award and administer the “Dr. Elemér Kiss Scholarship Program" award for the 2005 academic year.
Lastly, it is with great pleasure that I can officially announce the “HAC Congressional Internship Program” which is generously sponsored by The Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences.
With the passage of time our tasks may change, but our mission remains the same: To promote public understanding of issues of interest to our members.
We will keep you informed of our progress toward these goals and objectives for 2005. Please check our web page regularly and share your thoughts with us, because without you, our Coalition is not a “Coalition.”