The Coalition’s Projects and Accomplishments in 2009

The Hungarian American Coalition is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization founded in 1991. Its mission is to identify and promote the interests of the Hungarian-American community. Its goals are:

  • To foster appreciation of Hungary’s history and culture;
  • To protect and preserve the human and minority rights and cultural heritage of Hungarians throughout the world;
  • To encourage educational and cultural interaction between the people of the U.S. and Hungary;
  • And to support democratic institutions and economic development in Hungary.
Education and Culture
  • Organized and supported the opening of a 5-day-long traveling exhibit, “Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest,” at the Rotunda of the Senate Russell Office building of the Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The exhibit, sponsored by Senator George Voinovich and Senator Robert Casey, honored the memory of Carl Lutz, Swiss Consul in wartime Hungary whose intervention saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from the Nazi death camps. Co-sponsors of the exhibit where the Carl Lutz Foundation, Budapest, the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, the Mensch International Foundation, the embassies of Hungary and Switzerland.

  • Provided a $10,000 grant to Madách Publishers of Bratislava, Slovakia, to support Hungarian culture in Slovakia.

  • Hosted an Annual Gala Benefit on April 16 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, to honor John C. Whitehead, Former Deputy Secretary of State and former Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs. Mr. Whitehead received the Coalition award recognizing five decades of distinguished service to the Hungarian-American community. Mr. Whitehead was lauded by, among others, George H. Walker, former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, and George Pataki, former Governor of New York State.

  • The Coalition received a donation in the amount of $150,000 from Dr. Charles Simonyi to extend theCharles Simonyi Research Scholarships until 2011 to support outstanding Hungarian researchers. The grant agreement was signed by Dr. József Pálinkás, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Károly Manherz, State Secretary for Higher Education and Science, and Dr. Csaba Pléh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Magyary Zoltán Higher Education Public Foundation, and the Hungarian American Coalition.

  • Funded the 2009 Posonium Literary Awards, established in 2000 by Edith and John Lauer of Cleveland to recognize the outstanding contributions of Hungarian authors and artists to the cultural heritage of the historic Hungarian community of Slovakia. Three Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented toIstván Jakab, Árpád Tőzsér and László Zeman. The recipient of the Posonium Fine Arts Award wasFerenc Jaksics. Special Achievement Awards were given to Péter Huncik and Attila MizserAttila Simonreceived the Best First Book Award. Special Homeland Awards were granted to Lajos Gyüre and Zoran Ardamica.

  • Participated at the reception to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hungary’s NATO membershipat the Hungarian Embassy. Remarks included speeches delivered by Hungary’s Minister of Defense Imre Szekeres, and Coalition Chair Emerita Edith Lauer, who recalled the Coalition’s efforts on behalf of Hungary’s NATO membership.

  • Participated at an anniversary reception, hosted by the Central and Eastern European Coalition (CEEC), of which HAC is a founding member, to commemorate the accession to NATO of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in 1999, and of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania in 2004. The reception featured Ambassador Kurt Volker, U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to President Carter.

  • Participated at the ceremony held at the U.S. Capitol where Bishop László Tőkés, a leader of the Hungarian community in Romania and a member of the European Parliament, received the Truman-Reagan Freedom Medal from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Coalition Chair Emerita Edith Lauer introduced Bishop Tőkés to those present. On the same day attended to the launch of theOnline Global Museum on Communism, which will serve as a source of documented information for all, including people in countries that continue to censor or limit access to the internet.

  • Issued a statement denouncing the recently passed anti-minority language law in Slovakia, together with the National Committee of Hungarians from Slovakia and the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation. The statement calls upon American policy makers to urge Slovakian leaders to repeal the discriminatory provisions of the State Language Law and to recreate the law in a form that guarantees genuine equality for minority languages and the state language alike, in conformity with Slovakia’s international obligations.

  • Attended the peaceful demonstration under the slogan, “We stand up for our rights,” at the DAC stadium in Dunaszerdahely (Dunajská Streda), Slovakia, organized by the Hungarian Coalition Party (MKP) and several civic organizations, to protest the recently passed Slovak Language Law.

  • Awarded the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship for the 2009-2010 academic year.

  • Funded the Károly Simonyi Prize presented by the Károly Simonyi Board of Trustees at the University of Szeged. The prize for excellence in physics was granted to Dr. Tamás Tél. The prize for excellence in technical education and research was presented to Dr. György Gergely. The Károly Simonyi Prize supports the development of scientific endeavors of Hungarians living in Hungary and beyond the borders and was established by Dr. Charles Simonyi in honor of his late father, Professor Károly Simonyi, who was an internationally known electrical engineer and author of Physics: A Cultural History.

  • Funded the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Magyary Zoltán Foundation for the granting of theCharles Simonyi Research Scholarship Awards. The grant amount of 3,000,000 HUF was given to three outstanding Hungarian researchers: Dr. László Kollár, Dr. István Simon and Dr. Pál S. Varga. The annual award was first established in 2000 by Dr. Charles Simonyi, to encourage and support scientific research by Hungarian scientists. This year marked the 10th anniversary that the award was presented to serve the goal of encouraging research by Hungarian scientists.
  • Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.

  • Celebrated the inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a non-partisan inaugural event at the Kossuth House, the headquarters of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America on January 19th. The event gave leaders of Hungarian-American organizations and the broader community a singular opportunity to meet and network with members of the incoming Administration and Congress. Over 100 guests attended.

  • Coalition President Maximilian Teleki received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic Hungary 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.

  • Hosted, participated, and provided administrative support for the fourth Hungarian Americans Together Conference (HATOG IV), organized in Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum in downtown Cleveland, to find ways of cooperation among Hungarian-American organizations with shared missions; to learn about each other’s needs and programs; to continue building a network of communication; and to continue to develop a strategy for strengthening and saving Hungarian American institutions to promote our Hungarian heritage, culture and mutual interests.

  • Provided information on issues of interest to Coalition members to the Obama-Biden Transition Team through the inauguration, and afterwards to officials of the National Security Council, the State Department, and members of Congress. Max Teleki attended a White House concert and reception as guest of President and Mrs. Obama.

  • Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary.

  • Disseminated “Noticed in the Press,” a selection of newspaper articles from American and Hungarian newspapers on topics of interest to Coalition members and supporters.

  • Issued a newsletter focusing on the Slovak law on the state language.

  • Organized the October visit to Slovakia of former Governor of New York, George E. Pataki, who delivered a lecture at the Selye Janos University, a Hungarian-language institution in the town of Komarno. Governor Pataki spoke up forcefully on behalf of the human rights of the Hungarian minorities. In Pozsony, Gov. Pataki met with Mr. Pál Csáky, President of Hungarian Coalition Party (HCP), and with the party’s leadership at its headquarters, after which he held a a press conference attended by Slovak and Hungarian media. Gov. Pataki was accompanied by Max Teleki, President and Zsolt Szekeres, Board member of the Hungarian American Coalition, and László Hámos, President of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation.

  • In October 2009 organized a week-long visit of Coalition President Max Teleki, who, among other activities attended the meeting of the International Board of Advisors of the International Centre on Democratic Transition, and held meetings with government officials, Members of Parliament, media and supporters. During his stay he also participated in a Congressional Internship Program Alumni meeting attended by almost all former Coalition interns.

  • President Max Teleki traveled to Hungary for the second time to attend the Constellation Energy Institute’s 4th Energy Forum, to speak at the Corvinus University of Budapest, and to meet with government and opposition leaders.

  • Organized the traditional end-of-year Coalition events on December 2009, in Washington, DC. The events include a White House Briefing, the annual Mikulás Dinner, and the Board and Annual Meetings.

  • Organized the Washington, DC visit of Dr. János Martonyi, Hungary’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was also this year’s keynote speaker at the Mikulás Dinner.

  • Continued to update the Coalition’s home page (
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