Letter from the President

Dear Coalition Members:

As the busyfall season begins for all of us, I would like to advise you about my activities on behalf of the Coalition since our 2012 Gala in May.

Apart from preparations for the Gala, we spent the first half of the year focusing on the US presidential elections, engaged in outreach to both Governor Romney’s and President Obama’s campaigns.

In May and June, I met with staff from the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee, and the Romney and Obama teams. These meetings included private and group discussions with Wess Mitchell of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and with Ian Brzezinski, both advisers to the Romney campaign. On June 18, I met with other members of the Romney campaign at an event which I organized with the Central East European Coalition (CEEC). (The CEEC is comprised of 18 American ethnic organizations representing over 20 million Americans.  The Coalition is a founding member of CEEC.)

On June 20, I left for Hungary where I spent more than a month, working on a variety of matters both planned and unexpected. After the first two weeks of business, I was joined by Wendy and our three children for a wonderful family vacation, including a Teleki family reunion in Eger, which is held every four years.

In Hungary, I had opportunities to hold discussions with Hungarian officials as well as members of the U.S. Embassy Mission. Other meetings included a June 28 visit at the Tom Lantos Institute, where I serve on the Executive Committee and at the International Center for Democratic Transition.

On one evening, I attended a regular discussion, convened periodically by Edith Lauer, at which Hungarian officials dealing with U.S.-Hungarian relations can meet with Coalition members. Those present included Attila Kocsis and Orsolya Milován of the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice; Pál Hatos, Director of the Balassi Institute; Klára Breuer, Chief of Staff for Foreign Minister János Martonyi; László Galántai of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and HAC members Zsolt Szekeres, Julius Várallyay and András Ludányi.

On July 2, the Common Sense Society (CSS), a Coalition organizational member, sponsored an event entitled:  “Visions of America: The State of US Presidential Politics,” at which CSS President Marion Smith and I discussed the above topic, followed by a lively exchange with the audience.

On July 17, my family and Zsolt Szekeres’ family was invited to a private dinner with U.S. Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis and her family.  The dinner was followed by a meeting the next morning, at which the Ambassador and I discussed the status of bilateral relations and a variety of regional issues.

Upon my return to Washington, on July 25 the CEEC sponsored a policy forum on Capitol Hill entitled "The Impact of Russian Soft Power in Washington and its Spillover Effects.”  Panelists included Ariel Cohen, Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Susan Corke, Director of Eurasia Programs at Freedom House; Jeff Trimble, Deputy Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau; and Irena Van Deusen, Managing Editor, Voice of America Russian Service.  The event was moderated by Dr. Nino Japaridze of the Georgian Association in the U.S., with introductory remarks by Alice Kipel of the Belarusan-American Association.  Both are representatives of the CEEC.

In other news:  The Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences has discontinued funding for all projects including the Coalition’s excellent Congressional Internship Program (CIP).  Consequently, we face the major challenge of finding new sponsors to underwrite the program.  I am therefore having meetings with prospective supporters to ensure the funding of the CIP program. This year, the CIP program is still able to sponsor four interns.  In addition to Dorottya Igricz, who did her internship at Washington-based NGOs, we have Lilla Fördos working at the German Marshall Fund; and Boglárka Bata, Executive Director of the Eger-based Carpathian Foundation, who has done in-depth research in Washington, New York and Cleveland on non-profit fundraising and endowment building.  Our newest intern, Daniel Szabo, will begin his Washington internship after Labor Day.

As you recall, at our last Annual and Board Meeting in December 2011, I talked about the necessity to secure the Coalition’s financial future by building an endowment fund.  In recent months, I have made plans for a meeting of Coalition donors and supporters to create a Financial Advisory Committee, which will establish the endowment fund.  I am happy to report that Governor George Pataki has agreed to host the first meeting, scheduled for September 10 in New York.  I will call for an Executive Committee meeting to report on the results of this very important meeting.

On August 20, László Hámos and I were among eight participants invited to a discussion with Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough at the White House. The topics included current issues affecting Hungarian minorities.  We will have a second such meeting prior to the UN General Assembly next month.

Since the publication of the Coalition’s story – “The First 20 Years – Dedicated Advocacy and Community Leadership” – we have sent the book to all our members.  In addition, we have presented it to attract new members and generate support for our programs.  I would like to ask all of you to think of potential Coalition members among your friends, and we will be glad to mail a book to them with a letter asking for their support.

This fall will mark the 56th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.  Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi is planning to come to Washington in mid-October to be part of the commemoration.  The Coalition will assist Minister Martonyi in publicizing the commemoration as well as the events planned in your own communities.

Our traditional December Coalition weekend in Washington is still far away, but please note that the Mikulas Dinner will be held Friday, December 7, and our Annual and Board Meeting on Saturday, December 8. 

I hope you had a restful summer holiday and look forward to seeing you at our next Annual and Board meeting.




Max Teleki


Recent Posts