The Coalition’s Projects and Accomplishments in 2014

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
  • Implemented the expanded “Congressional Internship Program” (CIP) funded by the 2013 grant of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.  The Coalition was able to sponsor twelve Hungarian university students to serve as interns in 2014.
  • The selected students were:  Noemi Banhidi (Global Entrepreneurship Week, Washington D.C.); Agnes Bendsak (Design Museum Boston, Boston, MA); Zita Mirk (Hungarian American Coalition, Washington D.C.); Vadas Eszter (Hungarian American Coalition, Washington D.C.); Anita Mustos (Hungarian American Coalition & Global Entrepreneurship Week, Washington D.C.); Matyas Tamasi (Hungarian American Coalition & Global Entrepreneurship Week, Washington D.C.); Kinga Turanyi (Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, Washington D.C.); Blanka Bartos, Meridian Center International, Washington D.C.); Vince Berenyi, (The Office of Congressman Andy Harris, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C.) Adel Ferencz (Global Entrepreneurship Week, Washington D.C.); Peter Heltai (The Office of Congressman Andy Harris, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C.) and Eszter Pazmandi (International Market Analysis, Washington D.C.)

  • Provided support for the organization of the “Hungarian Americans Together Conference VIII” in Boston, MA held on September 28-29, with the participation of more than 70 attendees, representing seventeen states as well as Hungary.  The conference was organized by the Hungarian Society of Massachusetts, the Honorary Consulate General of Hungary in Boston, with support from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation and the Hungarian American Coalition.  Funding for the conference was provided by a generous grant from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.  Members of the organizing committee were Dr. Agnes Virga, Honorary Consul Gabor Garai and HAC Vice President, Andrea Lauer Rice.

  • Hosted the Coalition’s Tenth Annual Gala Dinner on May 29th at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., under the Honorary Chairmanship of His Excellency János Áder, President of Hungary.  With 161 guests present this was the best-attended Coalition Gala ever. Honorees were Congressman Tom Lantos (posthumous), Bishop László Tőkés and the Hungarian Communion of Friends.  Prior to the Gala Dinner, the Coalition sponsored a concert by world famous soprano Andrea Rost at the Warner Theatre to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the proclamation of Hungary as a free, democratic republic.

  • Co-sponsored the Holocaust in Hungary exhibit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in January.  This moving historical exhibit documented the tragic events that took the lives of 550,000 Jews in Hungary during the Holocaust.  Co-sponsors included the Carl Lutz Foundation, Budapest; the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice and the Permanent Mission of Hungary to the United Nations. The exhibit was made possible by a grant from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.

  • Presented the Holocaust in Hungary exhibit on May 19th at the US Congress in the Rayburn House Office Building.  The exhibit was sponsored by the Carl Lutz Foundation, Budapest; the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice; and the Hungarian American Coalition in conjunction with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, with support from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation and the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C. The opening ceremony featured commemorative remarks by Congressmen Andy Harris, and Jim McGovern, Ambassador György Szapáry, Dr. Katrina Lantos-Swett, Dr. Tamás Fellegi and Coalition President Maximilian Teleki.

  • Took over the administration of the “Bognar Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund” as part of the Coalition’s comprehensive leadership training and educational portfolio in the spring of 2014.  With the help of the program’s founders, Dr. Bela and April Bognar, 39 students received stipends for the 2014-2015 academic year.

  • Awarded twelve students the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship Awards for the 2014-2015 academic year.  The recipients are: Vince András Berényi, a student at Emory University Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, GA; Tünde Cserpes, a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Illinois in Chicago; Dorottya Demszky, enrolled at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ; Lilla Fördős, pursuing a Master’s Program at Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Washington, DC; Edith Frenyó, an S.J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC; Gergely Horváth, attending the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY; Jennifer Mezei, admitted to Coker College in Hartsville, SC; János Perczel, a PhD student in Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA; Júlia Standovár, admitted to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York, NY; Sabine Topolánszky, a second-year graduate student at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, DC; Domonkos Vámossy, enrolled at Whitworth University in Spokane, WA and Kitty Veress, a graduate student in the Security Studies Program of Georgetown University, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington, DC.

  • Assisted members of the University of Pécs Medical School (UPMS) staff to participate in a ten-day research trip sponsored by the US Embassy in Budapest and the Department of State’s US Voluntary Visitors Program.  Visited cities included Washington DC, San Francisco, CA, and Atlanta, GA.  The aim of the program was to learn how migration health is integrated into the US public health and social care system. During the trip, the UPMS Team sought to review and learn about US migration health policy and the Center for Disease Control guidelines; review and study US government policy in preventing trafficking of human beings, including on-going counter trafficking projects; and study and learn the setup and management of special health needs of underserved population (migrants, ethnic minorities etc.) with a focus on TB care and vaccination programs. The Coalition was instrumental in helping the formulation and presentation of the project by the UPMS team composed of Prof. Dr. István Szilárd, Dr. Péter Németh, Zsófia Klaudia Freund, Dr. Szabolcs Fekete and Dr. Zoltán Katz.

  • Publicized and distributed six 2014 issues of the Hungarian Review the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal, Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolanyi.  These important editions provide a comprehensive overview in English of the current political and cultural situation in Hungary.
Information and advocacy
  • Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.

  • Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary.

  • Organized the 10 day visit of Coalition President Max Teleki to Budapest, from November 12 through 22.  Meetings were held with:  Gergely Gulyás, Vice President of the Hungarian Parliament, Zsolt Németh, President of the Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, László Szőke, Director, Foreign Affairs, office of President János Áder, Károly Szadai, Personal Assistant of President Áder, Dr. István Stumpf, Judge of Hungary’s Constitutional Court, Levente Magyar, Minister of State for Economic Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bence Rétvári, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Human Capacities and other government officials.  Mr. Teleki spoke at several venues, including the Antall József Knowledge Center, the Széll Kálmán Foundation and the Central European University on current political developments in Hungary and the United States.  He held meetings with US embassy officials, leaders of Hungary’s business and academic community, the leadership of the Tom Lantos Institute and the Federation of Jewish Communities.  He also hosted a reception for CIP alumni and Coalition supporters.

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

  • Continued to update the Coalition’s home page (www.hacusa.org).
Hungarian American Community Affairs
  • Organized the traditional end-of-year Coalition events on December 2014, in Washington, DC.  The events include a White House Briefing, the annual Mikulás Dinner, and the Annual and Board Meetings.  The keynote speaker at the Mikulás Dinner was the Dr. György Schöpflin, Member of the European Parliament.

  • Attended the 4th Annual Diaspora Council meeting on November 19, 2014 at the Várkert Bazár.  The Coalition was represented by Edith Lauer, Chair Emerita.

  • Attended a conference marking the 25th Anniversary of the historic  “Pan-European Picnic”, held in Sopron, Hungary on August 18 -19.  The conference commemorated the dramatic turn of events in western Hungary, which precipitated the end of Communist rule in Eastern Europe.  On August 19, 1989, with its Communist regime still in place, Hungary temporarily opened its border to Austria to allow thousands of East German refugees, who had massed there at a “Pan-European picnic”, to escape to the West.  This decision set in motion, over the next few months, the complete disintegration of the Iron Curtain. Coalition members Zita Mirk and Zsolt Szekeres represented the Hungarian American Coalition at the conference.

  • Participated in the preparation and implementation of the Hungarian government sponsored “Kőrösi Csoma Sándor” internship program, by providing pre-departure briefings to participants and assisting government officials with preparatory tasks.  Coalition member organizations hosted and mentored many of the US assigned interns, including Csenge Konkoly who served under the Coalition’s supervision in the Washington Metropolitan area.
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