Each year on the Hungarian national holidays of March 15th and October 23rd, the Republic of Hungary honors individuals whose years of effort and extraordinary service have benefited Hungary. This year’s honorees include: Sally Painter, Principal, Dutko Worldwide; Gail Scott, Diplomatic Correspondent for Washington Life and Washington Diplomat; James Morrison, Diplomatic Columnist for The Washington Times, and Maximilian N. Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition.
The ceremony took place on March 16, 2009, at the Hungarian Embassy. Ambassador Ferenc Somogyi opened the commemoration of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution by reading letters from Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and U.S. President Barack Obama.
As he introduced each honoree, Ambassador Somogyi stressed the importance for Hungary of good friends in the United States, whose knowledge of both countries provides invaluable help in furthering Hungarian-American relations.
Max Teleki, who received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic Hungary, has served as President of the Hungarian American Coalition since 2004. Earlier, he served on the Board of Directors of the Coalition. In the 1990’s, he was one of the first participants in the Coalition’s “White House Internship by Ameritech” program.
In his remarks about Mr. Teleki, Ambassador Somogyi quoted the Order: “For facilitating the unity of the Hungarian American community and the preservation of their traditions, for his role in deepening U.S.-Hungarian relations, and for his work on behalf of Hungarians living beyond the borders, the President of the Republic of Hungary awards Maximilian Teleki, President of the Hungarian American Coalition, with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic Hungary”.
In his response, Max Teleki expressed his appreciation. “I thank President Sólyom and the Ambassador for this honor, and I thank my friends, colleagues and family both in Hungary and the Untied States for supporting HAC and me personally, I look forward to continuing to work toward maintaining the close ties that bind both nations, and lastly, I thank my wife Wendy who supports me beyond measure.”