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.
- Hosted an Annual Gala Benefit on May 11, marking the Coalition’s 20th Anniversary, at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC, to honor Dr. János Horváth, Doyen of the Hungarian Parliament, and theWilliam Penn Association. The Coalition recognized Dr. János Horváth for his lifelong dedication to defending and building democratic institutions in Hungary and in the United States, inspiring generations on both sides of the Atlantic. The William Penn Association, celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, was recognized for building a thriving fraternal community that has touched the lives of generations of Hungarian-Americans, by supporting churches, schools and community institutions.
- Several members of the Board of the Coalition participated in a series of events in Budapest, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and the extended family of Congressman Tom Lantos visited Hungary. On June 28, the week of events began with the First Annual Conference on Democracy and Human Rights co-hosted by the Tom Lantos Institute, the International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT), and the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Coalition President Max Teleki serves on both the Board of the ICDT and the Executive Committee of the Board of the Tom Lantos Institute. On June 29, to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Ronald Reagan, a statue of the former President was unveiled in front of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. Coalition members also attended the “Freedom Dinner”, hosted by the Government of Hungary at the Museum of Fine Arts. On June 30, Secretary Clinton inaugurated the Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute in the Hungarian Parliament.
- Assisted in organizing the Cleveland visit of President of Hungary Dr. Pál Schmitt: Several Hungarian American Coalition leaders, including Coalition Chair Emerita Edith Lauer, Honorary Consul László Böjtös, and Ted Horvath, took an active role in organizing various events for Dr. Schmitt on his first U.S. visit as President. His program included visits to St. Erzsebet Catholic Church, Hungarian statues and Cultural Gardens, a swearing-in ceremony for new Hungarian citizens hosted by Coalition member, The Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society, and a festive President’s Luncheon for 160 people.
- Participated in the work of the Sub-Committee of the Diaspora Committee of the Hungarian Standing Conference (MÁÉRT), organized by the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice of Hungary. The first meeting took place in March, the second in November, 2011, in Budapest. Zsolt Szekeres was requested to write a draft strategy for harnessing the potential of Hungarians living in the diaspora to develop Hungary’s economic relations world-wide. The document was circulated among the members of the Sub-Committee.
- Approved five grants to assist in the rebuilding efforts in the vicinity of Devecser, in northwest Hungary for the following funding targets: purchase of new musical instruments for the Devecser music school; co-financing the rehabilitation of the school roof; funding for two years the fees of a school psychologist to attend the schoolchildren; employing a full-time Roma social worker to help the school teachers with mentoring and providing support services; and funding the cost of a full-time internship program for 24 months, to place bilingual Hungarian-American volunteers to help the mayor’s office network with potential investors, assist with development programs, and provide administrative support.
Education and Culture
- Provided a $10,000 grant to Madách Publishers of Bratislava, Slovakia, to support Hungarian culture in Slovakia.
- Sponsored two concerts of Hungarian piano virtuouso, Gergely Bogányi,at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington D.C., and at Mixon Hall of the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio. In both venues, Bogányi played works by Ferenc Liszt, in this 200th anniversary year of his birth, and by Frederic Chopin.
- Funded and administered the Coalition’s Congressional Internship Program (CIP). This year five interns from Hungary and neighboring countries were given the opportunity to get acquainted with the workings of the U.S. Congress and to build contacts in the US in their professional areas of expertise. The program was funded by a donation last year in the amount of $150,000 from the Charles Simonyi Fund for the Arts and Sciences.
- Madeselected books and periodicals available on Amazon.com, the popular online retailer of books. These are: five issues of “Hungarian Review” (from 2010 and 2011), the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal Magyar Szemle; the travel guide book “Out and About in Hungary”; the book “56 Stories”, and its Hungarian version “56 történet”, a collection of personal testimonials from participants in and observers of the 1956 Revolution of Hungary.
- Funded the Károly Simonyi Prize presented by the Károly Simonyi Board of Trustees at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. The prize for excellence in physics was granted to Dr. Zoltán Gábos, while the prize for excellence in technical education and research was presented to Dr. Márta Kurucz Kovács. 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.
- Awarded the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year. This year’s awardees were: Edit Frenyo, an S.J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC; Beata Krasznai, admitted for the Master of School Counseling Program at Cleveland State University; Krisztina Olah, a graduate student of John Carroll University and a scholarship winner of the Calasanctius Training Program (CTP); Dorottya Irén Győri, a rising junior at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, in international business major; Eszter Győri, a rising senior at Sewanee, majoring in International and Global Studies with focus on Africa and a minor in Environmental Studies; and Zita Monori, who has been selected for the 2010 Klein Family Scholarship to study at Sewanee as a full-time student.
- Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.
- Issued astudy on the implementation of the Red Sludge Disaster Fund to determine the specific areas of education that would best profit from the fund, taking into account the social and economic circumstances and the new situation presented by the ecological disaster.
- Issued a monthly e-mail newsletter highlighting the events of the given month as part of the information campaign on the Coalition’s 20th anniversary.
- Co-sponsored a panel discussion on the draft Hungarian constitution at the Heritage Foundation, which took place on the eve of the Hungarian Parliament’s debate of the constitutional drafts submitted by the government and by opposition political parties. The panelists included Maximilian Teleki Coalition President.
- Received and disseminated a message from U.S. President Barack Obama for the 20th anniversary of the Hungarian American Coalition; and another presidential message on the occasion of Hungary’s National Day on August 20. The Coalition also received and disseminated a message from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the People of Hungary on this occasion.
- Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary.
- Approved the application request of three new organizational members: the Széll Kálmán Foundation, the Common Sense Society and the Ilona Hooper Foundation of Budapest, Hungary.
- Organized the March and November 2011 visit of Coalition President Max Teleki, who, among other activities, held meetings with government officials, members of Parliament, media and Coalition supporters. During his stay he also participated in a Congressional Internship Program Alumni meeting attended by former Coalition interns.
- Participated in the founding meeting of the Hungarian Diaspora Council organized by the Hungarian government in Budapest.
- Organized the traditional end-of-year Coalition events in Washington, DC: the White House Briefing and the annual Mikulás Dinner on Friday, Dec. 2, and the Board and Annual Meetings on Saturday, Dec. 3. The keynote speakers at the Mikulás Dinner were H.E. Dr. Pál Schmitt, President of the Republic of Hungary and H.E. Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, Ambassador of the United States to 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.
- Developed a new format and a more user-friendly home page for the Hungarian American Coalition. (www.hacusa.org)