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					September 2003                                                                                                        Vol. 12, No. 2

                              HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION
                               ON THREE-WEEK VISIT TO WASHINGTON
                                       English Classes Round Out Public Policy Seminar

                                                                     On July 7-27, a delegation of 22 members of the
                                                                     Hungarian Parliament visited Washington, D.C., to take
                                                                     part in an intensive seminar focused on U.S. policy
                                                                     toward Hungary and Europe. The program was co-
                                                                     sponsored by the United States Department of State’s
                                                                     Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the
                                                                     Hungarian American Coalition.
                                                                     The legislators – all members of the FIDESZ party –
                                                                     participated in briefings and exchanges with U.S. govern-
                                                                     ment institutions and non-governmental organizations.
                                                                     “These exchanges in Washington will give us a whole new
                                                                     basis for our future discussions [with U.S. officials] in
                                                                     Budapest,” said Gábor Tamás Nagy, a Member of the
Hungarian Parliamentarians with Marine Corps at Iwo Jima Memorial
                                                                     Foreign Affairs Committee of the Hungarian Parliament.
                                                                                                                    (continued on page 2)
          Hungarian Official Weighs Survey of
          Hungarian-American Communities
           Annual ITT-OTT Conference Draws                                  Hungarian American Coalition Leaders
              150 to Shores of Lake Hope                                         Meet with George H. Walker,
                                                                            U.S. Ambassador-Designate to Hungary
 The Hungarian Communion of Friends (Magyar
 Baráti Közösség-MBK) held its annual conference for
 150 participants at Lake Hope State Park in Zaleski,
 OH, August 16-23.
 This year’s program featured Dr. József Bálint-
 Pataki, Director of the Office of Hungarians Abroad,
 the Budapest-based government institute. Dr. Bálint-
 Pataki addressed current relations between the
 Hungarian government and Hungarian minorities in
 surrounding countries and abroad.
 In the ensuing discussion, audience members urged
 Dr. Bálint-Pataki to support a comprehensive socio-
 logical survey of Hungarian-American institutions.
 “The Hungarian government has never undertaken
 such a survey, and it is long overdue,” said András
 Ludányi, an MBK Board Member. “If we are to                            From left to right: Charles Vámossy, Ferenc Koszorus, Jr.,
 develop effective programs to enhance our                              Emese Latkóczy, Amb. George H. Walker, László Hámos,
 institutions, we need up-to-date information about the                                        Peter Soltész
 realities of Hungarian-American life.”
                                             (continued on page 2)                          (See article, page 4)
Parliamentary Visit (continued from page 1)

“We met with at least three or four State Department       Chesapeake Bay, a river-rafting trip on Pennsylvania’s
officials who, in the next few months, will be taking up   Youghiogheny River, and a visit to the Bethlen Home,
new posts in Budapest.”                                    owned by the Hungarian Reformed Federation.
Among the offices they visited: the Department of          The program concluded with a weekend visit to New
State; Congressional Budget Office; Senate Committee       York City, facilitated by the Hungarian Human Rights
on Foreign Relations; Homeland Security Council;           Foundation, where the legislators toured the city sites
National     Security     Council;    Small     Business   and had an opportunity to meet local Hungarian-
Administration; the U.S. Trade Representative;             Americans in a relaxed setting.
Department of Defense; Department of the Interior –
Indian Affairs.                                              Many thanks to Coalition members and supporters for
                                                             their invaluable contributions to the success of the
In addition to formal presentations, the meetings            program, including:
included opportunities for frank give-and-take on             The 25 host families who generously opened their
current issues in Hungarian-U.S. relations.                      homes to the parliamentarians (and those who
“We were able to meet with people and form direct                offered to)
working relationships, and I expect that from now on          Rev. Stephen Török, President and CEO of the
the dialogue will be a more regular and frequent one,”           Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, for
said László Kövér, Member of Parliament and                      providing classroom space at the Kossuth House
Executive Vice Chairman of FIDESZ. “At the very                  during the entire seminar
least, we will avoid misunderstandings.”                      H.E. Ambassador András Simonyi and Mrs.
                                                                 Simonyi for hosting the opening reception for the
Delegates also participated in twice-daily intensive             parliamentarians and their hosts, and for providing
English language classes, focused on the political and           logistical support
economic vocabulary relevant to each day’s briefing.          The Hungarian Consulate–New York, which
As a unique aspect of the program, participants were             provided logistical help in New York City
housed not in hotels, but at the homes of American            The Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, which
families in the Washington area. This arrangement                facilitated the program in New York City
gave the Hungarians further opportunity to practice           Hosts of receptions and dinners: Mr. András
their English, receive help with English homework, and           Ábrahám, Mr. and Mrs. László Hámos, Mr. and
to commute using public transportation.                          Mrs. Sándor Károlyi, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Koszorus,
                                                                 Mr. Imre Németh, Rev. Imre Bertalan, The Bethlen
                                                                 Home (Ligonier, PA), Mr. Anthony C. Beke and
     “Our experiences have made us enthusiastic                  Mr. Endre Csomán, the William Penn Association,
supporters of your program which is certain to produce           and the Hungarian Cultural Club of Washington
     very positive returns for the U.S.-Hungarian             Those who generously donated to help defray
                relationship over time.”                         project expenses: the William Penn Association, the
                – Letter from a Host…                            Hungarian Reformed Federation of America, Dr.
                                                                 Daniel McDonald of the Potomac Foundation, Mr.
                                                                 and Mrs. John Lauer, Mrs. Andrea Lauer Rice, Mr.
Weekend activities, organized by the Hungarian                   and Mrs. Sándor Károlyi, Mr. Daniel Odescalchi,
American Coalition, included a fishing trip on the               Mr. Szabolcs Szekeres and Mr. Maximilian Teleki.

ITT-OTT Conference             (continued from page 1):
                                                           Later in the week, the Hungarian American Coalition
The conference then shifted to the realities of            held a roundtable discussion to sum up current debates
Hungarian life in Romania, with a presentation by Rev.     in Central Europe which affect minorities: dual
Béla Kató, Associate Bishop of the Kolozsvár (Cluj)        citizenship legislation, the Status Law, and
Reformed Church District and recently elected              consequences of joining the European Union. Leading
President of the Board of the Sapientia Hungarian          the discussion were Rev. Kató and Coalition members
University of Transylvania. Rev. Kató gave concrete        Péter Kovalszki, Edith Lauer, András Ludányi and
examples of the problems facing the Hungarians of          Zsolt Szekeres.
Transylvania today, and the mechanisms that can solve
them.                                                      Other conference speakers included:
                                                                                                  (continued on page 3)

2 – Hungarian American Coalition – September 2003
-       Rozália Kóka, folklorist and storyteller, expert on                        cussions with guests from Hungary and the Carpathian
        the culture and history of the dispersed Székely                           Basin and Hungarian-American leaders; music and
        community from Bukovina                                                    cultural programs; children’s activities; and family-
-       Dr. Ilona Kovács of Hungary’s Széchenyi                                    style picnics and campfire at the nearby lake. This
        National Library, who is currently expanding the                           year, leaders also organized parallel English-language
        library’s Hungarian-American archives as a                                 workshops for non-Hungarian speakers.
        Fulbright Scholar at Rutgers University
-       Dr. Erzsébet Kiss, Professor of Ethics at Duke                              The Magyar Baráti Közösség is an organizational member
        University, addressing the ethical aspects of                                of the Hungarian American Coalition. In addition to the
        majority-minority relations.                                                 annual Itt-Ott conference, MBK publishes a semi-annual
                                                                                        journal, runs a scholarship fund, and raises funds to
-       Eszti Pigniczky, leader of the folklore ensemble of                         support church and community life in Hungarian villages
        the Hungarian Scout Troop of Cleveland, OH.                                   in Transylvania. For more information, please contact
                                                                                               Dr. Balázs Somogyi, MBK President,
Popularly known as Itt-Ott (Here and There), the MBK
conference – held every year since 1967 – includes dis-

Update on Church Property Restitution in Romania                                   third floors of the school building, the ground floor has
  Test Case: The Hungarian Reformed Kollégium                                      continued to house a clinic and cafeteria, neither of which
                    in Cluj                                                        has a legal right to be there.
The Hungarian American community has followed the                                  In addition, the restitution of the second and newer school
bewildering church property restitution process in                                 building, long claimed by the Church District, has been
Romania with growing concern. The story of a well-                                 effectively prevented by local authorities who instituted
known Hungarian secondary school, the Kolozsvár (Cluj)                             legal action against the government decision for
Reformed Kollégium, indicates that even official                                   restitution.    That building remains occupied by the
decisions to return property are not enough to constitute                          Romanian Sincai School.
actual restitution.
The Kollégium campus is a five-building complex,                                         HUNGARIAN WRITERS AND ARTISTS
connected by walkways and playgrounds.               The                                         IN SLOVAKIA
                                                                                           RECEIVE POSONIUM AWARDS
reestablishment of this historic school in 1990 received
widespread and much-needed support from the                                          Seven Hungarian writers and two artists received the
Hungarian-American community at large.                                               Posonium Literary and Fine Arts Awards in
                                                                                     Bratislava, Slovakia, on June 9, 2003. The Posonium
Years of procedural wrangling followed, during which the
                                                                                     Awards, a project of the Hungarian American
local authorities even collected property taxes from the
                                                                                     Coalition, were founded by Edith and John Lauer to
Reformed Church District for a building it owned but was
                                                                                     give long-overdue recognition to Hungarian writers
not permitted to occupy. As pressure intensified for
                                                                                     and artists for outstanding contributions to the
action on the church restitution issue, many Coalition
                                                                                     literature, art, and cultural heritage of the Hungarian
members participated in a letter-writing campaign urging
                                                                                     minority in Slovakia. The Fine Arts awards are
Prime Minister Nastase to act in this long-standing
                                                                                     sponsored by György Mátyásfalvi, Budapest
The oldest building of the complex was finally “turned
over” to the school in December of 2002. While this                                  Since the establishment of the awards in 2000, a
building is in deplorable condition, faculty and students                            committee of respected writers has selected the
                                                                                     winners in several categories of achievement. The
worked through Christmas vacation to get it ready for the
                                                                                     2003 Grand Prize was awarded to Lajos Grendel for
students in January 2003.
                                                                                     The Magic of Facts, a study of writer Miklós Mészöly.
However, Cluj authorities were unwilling to either                                   Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to László
register the Hungarian Reformed Church District as the                               Dobos, writer, essayist and founder of literary
legal owner, or to vacate the building completely of its                             institutions; Judit Mayer, translator and publisher; and
various rent-paying occupants. Thus, although the 260                                György Dénes, poet and editor.
Kollégium students were able to occupy the second and
                                                                                     The Posonium Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement
    Newsletter Editor: János Szekeres, Graphic Designer: Ajna Pfenninberger.         Award was granted to János Nagy, sculptor, and
    We are grateful to all those who contributed articles or information to this     József Nagy, painter and graphic artist.
    Newsletter. “Nothing printed here is to be construed as an attempt to aid or
    hinder the passage of any legislation before the Congress of the United
                                                                                          September 2003 – Hungarian American Coalition – 3
    Hungarian American Coalition Leaders                               Coalition leaders also stressed the plight of Hungarian
         Meet with George H. Walker,                                   minorities as one of the primary concerns of
    U.S. Ambassador-Designate to Hungary                               Hungarian-Americans. As a positive example, they
                                                                       cited the meeting organized by the U.S. Embassy in
On September 10, five leaders of the Hungarian                         Hungary last year, which brought together the U.S.
American Coalition met at the State Department with                    political officers from Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and
Ambassador-Designate George Herbert Walker, who                        Serbia to discuss the Hungarian minority issue and
has been appointed by President George W. Bush to                      expressed the hope that such a conference would again
serve in Hungary.                                                      be held this fall in Budapest.
In their discussion with Ambassador Walker, Coalition                  “Personally, I was very impressed by Ambassador-
leaders offered the Coalition’s cooperation in the                     Designate Walker's openness and eagerness to grapple
Embassy’s “public diplomacy.” They mentioned the                       with the complex issues he will face as America's chief
recent visit by the Hungarian parliamentary delegation                 representative to Hungary,” said Mr. Vámossy. “We
to Washington, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department                     assured him of the Hungarian-American Coalition’s
of State and the Coalition, as a way to promote a better               support and offered him our help. He graciously
understanding of the U.S. position in Hungary, enhance                 accepted it and we look forward to a productive
Hungarian-American dialogue and facilitate even-                       relationship with him.”
handed U.S. policies in Hungary.                                       Ambassador Walker's induction will take place
                                                                       September 30th, and he will take up his post in October.

            Please visit the Hungarian American Coalition’s website at its NEW address:
        for complete information on past and present Coalition activities, membership information, and useful links.

Hungarian American Coalition
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 280
Washington, DC 20036


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