The Coalition’s Projects and Accomplishments in 2016

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 “Coalition Internship Program” (CIP) funded by a grant from the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.  In 2016, the Coalition sponsored the internship program of ten Hungarian university students.  The selected students were:  Kitti Scheuring, Fruzsina Tőkés, Károly Gergely and Sarolta Borzási (Global Entrepreneurship Network, Washington, D.C.); Áron Giró-Szász (The European Institute, Washington, D.C.); Dániel Joós and Dorottya Bobák (International Cybersecurity Dialogue, Washington, D.C.);  Mária Béres (Center for European Policy Analysis, Washington, D.C.);  Tamás Forrai (Blue Medium Inc., New York, NY); and Alexandra Tari (Experience Corps, Washington, D.C.).
     
  • Granted $1,000 to support “Memory Project: a Hungarian American Visual History Archive”, an initiative by Coalition Vice President Andrea Lauer Rice and Réka Pigniczky, award-winning documentary filmmaker and Coalition member.
     
  • Participated in June 2016, in the 9th annual Roll Call of Nations organized by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.  Representatives of 20 countries and 27 ethnic and human rights groups gathered at the Victims of Communism Memorial to place wreaths in honor of the victims of Communist tyranny since 1917.
     
  • Continued the administration of the Bognar Family Hungarian Scholarship Fund.  With the help of the program’s founders, Dr. Bela and April Bognar, forty-one students received stipends for the 2016-2017 academic year.
     
  • Awarded nine Hungarian university students the Dr. Elemér and Éva Kiss Scholarship Awards for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The winners are: Dorottya Demszky, pursuing a Master’s Program in Linguistics at Princeton University in Princeton, NJ; Roberta Gréta Ilcsik, studying Biology at the University of Houston Natural Sciences and Mathematics College in Houston, TX; Krisztina Kiss, a student at Mannes College the New School for Music in New York, NY; Valentina Magyar, enrolled at Pennsylvania State University in Old Main, State College, PA; Jennifer Mezei, a sophomore at Coker College in Hartsville, SC; János Perczel, a PhD student in Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA; Krisztina Sárközi, attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA; Noémi Sárog, admitted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, NY; and Domonkos Vámossy, a PhD student in Economics at University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA.
     
  • Publicized and distributed six 2016 issues of the Hungarian Review the English-language affiliate of the bi-monthly journal, Magyar Szemle, edited by Gyula Kodolányi and John O’Sullivan.  These important editions provide a comprehensive overview in English of the current political and cultural situation in Hungary.
     
  • Commemorated in October the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight. The following Coalition member organizations and supporters presented memorable programs for this special anniversary year across the United States:
    Hungarian Society of Massachusetts, the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society; San Francisco Bay Area Hungarian community; William Penn Association; Bethlen Communities; Hungarian American community in Seattle, WA; United Magyar House of Los Angeles; American Hungarian Heritage House; the Hungarian Scouts of Washington DC; Minnesota Hungarians; Hungarian American Cultural Center (HACC), Detroit; and the Hungarian Club of Chicago
     
  • Coalition leaders attended commemorations held in Washington, D.C., including President Maximilian N. Teleki, Chair Emerita Edith Lauer and Vice President Andrea Lauer Rice, who were present at a ceremony organized by the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC to unveil the statue of the “Budapest Lad” on October 16 and a Gala Dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington DC, hosted by Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi.
     
  • Opened a commemorative exhibition on 1956 on October 17, together with the Embassy of Hungary and the Hungarian American organizations at the United States Capitol, where Coalition President Maximilian N. Teleki was among the speakers.
     
  • Digitized the English version of the book entitled 56 Stories, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.  56 Stories is a collection of personal testimonials from witnesses to the revolution. The book was published ten years ago, in 2006, by Lauer Learning, an educational, multimedia company focusing on Hungarian and American educational issues. The goal of this project was to ensure that not only the personal stories but the very spirit of 1956 are passed on to future generations. The book is available at the Coalition’s website.
     
  • Supported with a grant of $3,200 the participation of two students in the Genius Olympiad held at SUNY, Oswego, NY, on June 12.
     
  • Supported the ArtStart4u talent center, an initiative headed by opera singer Molnár Levente, for the purpose of developing a “talent center” for Hungarian youth, with special attention to Hungarian children from the Carpathian Basin.
     
  • Approved institutional support for the Dévai Szent Ferenc Alapítvány – Bőjte Csaba, a Hungary-based foundation supporting Father Bőjte Csaba’s orphanages in Romania.
     
  • Approved institutional support for Fűzfa Egyesület, an association established in Romania, whose goal is the establishment of an endowment fund to support the Bethlen Gábor Kollégium (BGK) of Nagyenyed (Aiud), Romania, through donations and sponsorships.
     
Information and advocacy
 
  • Operated an Office of Information in Washington, D.C. since 1991.
     
  • Maintained contact with US Embassy officials in Hungary. Coalition President, Max Teleki maintained regular contact with Amb. Colleen Bell and US embassy officials in Budapest.  A meeting with Amb. Bell was held on August 10 in Budapest followed by talks with Edward Loo, Deputy Chief of Mission and David Van Cleve, Political Counselor.
     
  • Coalition 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.
     
  • 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
 
  • In March Dr. Balázs Somogyi, Coalition board member and founder of the Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut, was honored with the Middle Cross of the Order of Merit.  The award was presented by János Áder, President of Hungary, at an award ceremony in the Dome Hall of the Hungarian Parliament. Balázs Somogyi was honored in recognition of his outstanding service in the Hungarian American community – for his dedication to support and preserve Hungarian cultural heritage.
     
  • Hosted the Coalition’s Twelfth Annual Gala Dinner in May 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 Dr. János Martonyi, Hungary’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs.  For this occasion, the Coalition produced a video interview with Dr. Martonyi; the full length version of the video is available at the Coalition website.
     
  • Attended and sponsored events of the Immigrant Heritage Month (IHM) in June, a nationwide effort to gather and share inspirational stories of immigration in America.  On June 13, Coalition President Maximilian N. Teleki, Coalition Founding Member Dr. Péter Újvági, attended the Immigrant Heritage Month Congressional Celebration.
     
  • Attended and co-sponsored a short Pilgrimage with Father Csaba Bőjte, a Franciscan monk and founder of the Children of Saint Francis Foundation of Déva (Romania) to the Our Lady of Hungary chapel on the day of Saint Stephen, August 20th, in Washington D.C.
     
  • In October Ms. Csilla Grauzer, Coalition board member and Honorary Consul of Hungary in Minnesota was honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit.  The award was presented by Dr. Ferenc Szebényi, Consul General of Chicago on behalf of Dr. János Áder, President of Hungary at the first MIDWEST Regional Diaspora Meeting held at the Consulate General of Hungary in Chicago. Csilla Grauzer was honored in recognition of her outstanding service to Hungarian culture and the preservation of Hungarian identity throughout Minnesota, as well as her dedication to various humanitarian initiatives.
     
  • Attended the First Regional Diaspora Meeting on November 4, 2016 hosted by Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, D.C.  This meeting was convened for Hungarian Diaspora organizations that belong to the Washington, DC consular district.
  • Attended the 6th Annual Diaspora Council meeting on November 30, 2016 in Budapest 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 Chairman of the Board Eva E. Voisin.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Organized the traditional end-of-year Coalition events in Washington, DC.  The events included a White House Briefing, the annual Mikulás Dinner, and the Board and Annual Meetings.  The keynote speaker at the Mikulás Dinner was The Honorable Dennis A. Ross, U.S. Representative (R-FL).
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