As I look back on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the Hungarian American Coalition, I am truly gratified that we accomplished a great deal during this past year given the importance of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Revolution for all of us. This commemorative year has united our community and reminded the world of the important role the 1956 Revolution in played during the Cold War and in the establishment of freedom in East and Central Europe decades later.
In addition to the countless commemorative events by nearly every member organization, Coalition leaders participated in several high profile events for the 50th anniversary of 1956: These were: the commemoration in February at the State Department, hosted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; the March Congressional Event, hosted by Congressman Lantos with Congressional Leaders of both parties, and President Bush; the celebrations held in Budapest during President Bush's visit to Hungary in June; and finally the White House dinner and screening of the film, "Children of Glory". This event hosted by the President and Mrs. Bush, was attended by a small group of Hungarian Americans, many of whom were Coalition Board Members, and other special guests. It was both memorable and symbolic of the relations between both countries and the Coalition's leadership role in our community.
Together with Lauer Learning the Coalition published and distributed, "56 Stories: Recollections of the Hungarian Revolution", which was released in Hungary and in the US on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of 1956. This remarkable achievement was a collective effort, but the force behind this wonderful success belongs to our two Board Members Andrea Lauer Rice and Edith Lauer. Their dedication to this project and their passion for this subject brought to life stories for individuals who would have otherwise not been able to share their dramatic personal accounts with so many in our community and in Hungary.
In the spring of 2007 we are planning our 3rd Gala-Fundraiser in honor of Ambassador George Herbert Walker III. In addition to this annual effort we will be reaching out to other potential donors to support specific projects and the establishment of an endowment fund to support Coalition operations.
Lastly after serving as the Coalition's President for two years, I accepted the nomination for a second two year term. The Coalition continues to enjoy the respect and admiration as an effective advocacy player in Washington and Budapest on behalf of the Hungarian-American community. This organization's leaders and founders have built a reputation and a set of expectations after 15 years of hard work. We are seen as a forward thinking, objective and dynamic civic-organization. I truly believe that it is our collective responsibility to ensure that each year is better than the last.
I hope you are pleased with this year's work. I also realize that we have a great deal of work ahead in the coming year, and I truly hope that I can count on your support and participation.
As I stated when I took on this responsibility two years ago, we must build on our many successes, and continue our struggle for the basic rights and dignity of the whole Hungarian Nation. I trust you feel that our Coalition is still worthy of this noble mission.
May each of you and your families have a safe and wonderful holiday season.