The Coalition’s Projects and Accomplishments in 2015

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;
  • To support democratic institutions and economic development in Hungary.
Education and Culture
  • Implemented the expanded “Congressional Internship Program” (CIP) funded by a grant from the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.  In 2015, the Coalition was able to sponsor the internship program of twelve Hungarian university students.  The selected students were:  Zsófia Anna Tábori , Benjámin Babicz and Ábel Bagdy (Global Entrepreneurship Network, Washington, D.C.); László Baksay (FP1 Strategies, Washington D.C.); Veronika Annamária Tóth and Mária Cservák (International Market Analysis, Washington, D.C.); Dániel Hámos (Congressman Andy Harris, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C.); Enikő Margit Horváth and József Rostás (Coalition, Washington, D.C.); Anett Matkó (The European Institute, Washington, D.C.); Noémi Dalma Nagy (PinnacleCare Health Advisory in Baltimore, MD);  Lőrinc Thurnay (Center for Open Data Enterprise, Washington, D.C.)
  • Provided support for the organization of the Hungarian Americans Together Conference IX in Sarasota and Venice, FL, held on May 15-17, with the participation of more than 60 attendees from ten states, and guests from Hungary.The conference was organized by the Hungarian Christian Society (HCS)/Petofi Club.  Funding for the conference was provided by a generous grant from The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.  Members of the organizing committee were President of the Global Friendship Foundation Erika Klatyik; Coalition Vice President Andrea Lauer Rice; Hungarian Christian Society President Noemi Szilagyi; Leader of the Napraforgok Folk Dance Music Camp Ottilia Varga and Kossuth Club of Sarasota Leader Eva Kisvarsanyi.
  • Donated $10,000 to assist the civilian population in Sub-Carpathia (Western Ukraine).  Ethnic Hungarians, numbering approximately 160,000, and other nationalities in the region were in dire need of financial support and material goods given the disastrous economic conditions as the devaluation of the hryvnia and run-away inflation.  The Coalition’s donation was given to two organizations: The Kárpátalja Aid Initiative of the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, spearheaded by its President Imre Kozma and by Hungary’s First Lady Anita Herczegh and the Hungarian Scout Association of Sub-Carpathia.
  • In September, hosted the Coalition’s Eleventh Annual Gala Dinner at the House of Sweden in Washington, D.C., under the Honorary Chairmanship of H.E. János Áder, President of Hungary. This year’s honoree was J. Joe Adorjan, prominent businessman and Hungarian Honorary Consul in St. Louis, Missouri.  Mr. Adorjan is the founder of the Hungarian-Missouri Educational Partnership, which provides scholarships to outstanding Hungarian students getting their M.B.A. degrees at participating universities in the state of Missouri.  Gala Dinner co-chairs were long-time Coalition friends Ambassador George Herbert Walker III and Michael F. Neidorff.
  • Attended in Királyhelmec, Slovakia, a Day of Remembrance to honor posthumously Hungarian writer and politician, László Dobos.  On October 17, 2015, the Mécs László Society and the Lórántffy Zsuzsanna Association for the Development of Bodrogköz honored the city’s most prominent son with a morning symposium that featured fellow writers and politicians who lauded his many achievements.  In the afternoon the Dobos statue was unveiled by Ádám Szesztay, Hungarian Consul to Kassa, Slovakia, writer József Mács and Edith Lauer. Afterwards, the Mayor of Kiralyhelmec hosted a dinner-reception at the Town Hall.  On behalf of the Coalition Zsolt Szekeres and Edith Lauer, together with Katica Avvakumovits and John Lauer paid their respect and laid a wreath at Dobos László’s statue.
  • As part of the comprehensive leadership training and educational portfolio the Coalition continued the administration of the Bognar Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund.  With the help of the program’s founders, Dr. Bela and April Bognar, thirty students received stipends for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Four of the scholarship recipients are Hungarian students admitted to universities in the US; four scholarship recipients are enrolled in Hungarian universities; four scholarship recipients are studying at colleges in the Sub Carpathian region of Ukraine; seventeen scholarships were awarded to Hungarian students admitted to universities in the Transylvania region of Romania; and one student won a scholarship to support her studies in the Vojvodina region of Serbia.

  • Awarded six students the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship Awards for the 2015-2016 academic year.  The winners are: Dorottya Demszky, enrolled at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ; Tünde Cserpes, a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, IL; Ágnes Katona, a student at Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA; János Perczel, a PhD student in Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA; Zsófia Raskó, a student at University of Houston in Houston, TX; and Domonkos Vámossy, enrolled at University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Coalition Vice President, Andrea Lauer Rice, and award-winning documentary filmmaker, Reka Pigniczky, launched an oral history project in April entitled, Memory Project: Hungarian American Visual History Archive.  For 4 months, they collected 30-minute oral histories throughout the community.  Initial visits were made to Cleveland, OH, San Francisco, CA, Sarasota, FL and New Brunswick, NJ.  Once the initial phase has been completed, they started to train others in the community to create their own oral history interviews and load them to a website site to broaden the reach of the project.  The project is being run by the California EU Cultural Initiative (CECI) and is funded by The Hungary Initiatives Foundation.

  • Publicized and distributed six 2015 issues of the Hungarian Review the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal, Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolányi.  These important editions provide a comprehensive overview in English of the current political and cultural situation in Hungary.

  • Publicized the Cold War to Warm Cooperation, a book by Coalition Board member Endre Szentkirályi.  The bilingual volume, published in 2014, presents an important new perspective on the history of Hungarians in America and tells the story of Cleveland-area Hungarian-Americans who have served in the U.S. military since 1950.
Information and advocacy
  • Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.

  • Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary.  On March 18 Chair Emerita Edith Lauer and Treasurer Zsolt Szekeres met with the US Ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell.  The Coalition officials provided an overview of the Coalition’s mission and past activities and presented the Ambassador a copy of the organization’s publication, The First 20 Years.  Ambassador Bell talked about her intention to positively affect bilateral relations and expressed openness to suggestions for areas of potential cooperation with members of the Hungarian American community.

  • President, Maximilian N. Teleki continued to meet on a regular basis with officials at the State Department and the National Security Council as well as with the Hungarian Ambassador, Réka Szemerkényi.  Subjects of discussion have included: continued efforts to improve US-Hungarian relations; the war in Ukraine and its impact on Ukrainian domestic security, as well as the plight of Hungarian Minorities in Western Ukraine; the broader implications for Central European security – from the Baltics to the Black Sea.

  • President Maximilian N. Teleki issued a statement in May to present the Coalition’s position on U.S. – Hungary relations and clarify any misunderstandings stated in the press about what kind of organization the Coalition is and how it operates as a fully independent advocate for a positive US – Hungary relationship.

  • 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 in December, in Washington, DC.  The events include a White House Briefing, the annual Mikulás Dinner, and the Board and Annual Meetings.  The keynote speaker at the Mikulás Dinner was Zsolt Németh, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee. 

  • Attended the Immigrant Heritage Month in June, a nationwide effort to gather and share inspirational stories of immigration in America.  The event was organized and co-hosted by the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Council (NDECC) in partnership with 19 organizations, including the Coalition.

  • Attended the dedication of the Hungarian Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in August 2015.  The chapel was consecrated by Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington in the presence of Dr. László Kövér, Speaker of the Hungarian National Assembly and his delegation.  The Coalition was represented by Edith Lauer Chair Emerita and János Szekeres, Program Coordinator.

  • Attended the 5th Annual Diaspora Council meeting on December 2, 2015 at the Hungarian Castle Gardens.   More than 70 leaders and representatives of organizations worldwide participated, including over 25 Hungarian American attendees, many of which were Hungarian American Coalition members.  The Coalition was represented by Coalition Board Member Peter Kovalszki.

  • Participated in the preparation and implementation of the Hungarian government sponsored “Kőrösi Csoma Sándor” internship program, by providing pre-departure advice and consultation to participants.
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