|AHF Receives "Friend of Hungary" Award|
During his welcome speech at the Sándor Palace, János Áder thanked the guests for their loyal friendship, and for raising interest in Hungary while boosting its reputation. “A country is more than just an area that can be identified on a map,” Áder said in his address to the Foundation’s members. “It has a spiritual aura that can impact our economic, cultural and political lives... You believe in the destiny-shaping power of direct experiences, excellent performances and personal aura, and you know that mutual respect is the key to trust in cooperation in work and sober understanding in disputes. And the more respect we can give one another, the greater its strength,” President Áder said.
Sylvester E. Vizi, Széchenyi-award winning neuroscientist and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Friends of the Hungary Foundation, followed President Áder in addressing the audience assembled in the Sándor Palace’s Hall of Mirrors. The former chairman of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences spoke about the fact that conference attendees had arrived from all over the world, on their own dime, in order to show their friendships, and to show their love for Hungary and Hungarian culture. Dr. Vizi also emphasized the fact that, for the first time, in addition to visitors and Foundation members with Hungarian roots, the Friends of Hungary have the opportunity to welcome those who have simply fallen in love with Hungary and its culture.
Sylvester Vizi presented the award to Co-President Gyula Elemér Balogh who accepted the award on behalf of the Federation and to 5 other Board and AHF members who were on the podium including AHF Chairman Ferenc Koszorus, Jr., Zsuzsanna Dreisziger-Stricz, Katalin Kádár Lynn, Prof. András Ludányi, the Honorable Anikó Gáal Schott, and chair of the AHF Youth Committee, Bertalan Kolus.
Mr. Balogh gave thanks to the Foundation for this wonderful award and opened his remarks with a moving quote from a letter sent by Viktor Orbán at the 100th Anniversary of AHF which talked about faithfulness to your country, Fidelissimus ad Mortem. He then described the mission that AHF's Founders had, about working and sacrificing together, about helping immigrant Hungarians adjust to life in the US. He described ten major accomplishments and events in the life of the Federation, starting with building and donating the George Washington statue to Hungary (in Budapest) to show the warm relations between Americans and Hungarians.
He mentioned the millions of dollars in donations that AHF gave to Hungarians to reconstruct after World War II and and to help relocate to the US in 1956. He mentioned the support AHF gave to the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington DC.
In 2010-2013, together with the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány (AMKA) in Hungary, AHF contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the farmer and individual victims of the floods and Red Sludge. In 2013 AHF helped to build the Hungarian Roots to Revival Festival, which was part of the Smithsonian Institution's popular annual Folklife Festival visited by over 1.4 million persons and over 40 million on TV.
In 2014 AHF sponsored the Peace Forum to improve American Hungarian relations which was held at the 5th anniversary and Thanksgiving celebration of AMKA, and had over 225 attendees. In 2016 on the 60th anniversary of the 1956 revolution against the Soviet Communist dictators, AHF spoke out against former President Clinton's outrageous remarks about Hungarians liking dictatorships.
He concluded with remarks about the importance of involving young people in the Federation, about collaborating with the Foundation on creating and sponsoring future 3rd and 4th generation Hungarian EXPOs, and about selflessness and giving back to the country of our ancestry. He then introduced Ferenc Koszorus, Jr. the past President and current Chairman of the Board, and lauded him on his extensive work on behalf of the Federation.
Mr. Koszorus thanked [magyarul] the Foundation for the award given to the American Hungarian Federation, a 110 year old NGO, for its decades of work on behalf the Hungarian community. He described the wide range of activities, including: teaching and preserving Hungarian culture; standing out for democracy, human and minority rights (including the right to autonomy); objecting to discrimination (such as the Benes Decrees); standing up for the good name and image of Hungarians in various fora; objecting to false statements about history; helping to improve American-Hungarian relations; supporting NATO, considering Russia's policies. As our web site demonstrates AHF is a unique and independent organization that remains true to its principles and proud traditions, which have served the Federation well for 110 years.
The presentation of awards was followed by a Gala dinner and concert. The concert, titled “Let Music Belong to Everyone!,” was an homage to famed composer and ethnomusicologist Zoltán Kodály in honor of the 135th anniversary of his birth, and the 50th anniversary of his passing. The concert was arranged by Róbert Velkey in consultation with Kodály’s widow, Sarolta Péczely, who was also in attendance.
On May 4, representatives of the American Hungarian Federation along with other American participants to the Friends of Hungary Foundation Conference were invited to a briefing at he U.S. Embassy by David Kostelanick, Charge d'Affaires. The Honorable Aniko Gaal-Schott, Frank Koszorus, Jr., and Professor Andras Ludanyi, members of AHF, attended the briefing that focused on U.S./Hungarian bilateral relations, the continuity of U.S. policy toward Hungary, and steps that can be taken to strengthen ties between the two NATO allies.
- Special thanks to the Friends of Hungary Foundation and Hungary Today for additional photos and text.
Join and Support Us Online!
Negyedik alkalommal találkoztak a világban élő magyarság képviselői Budapesten. Az Alapítvány híd a Kárpát-medence és a Diaszpóra magyarsága között. Küldetése, hogy Magyarország eseményeiről és a magyarok eredményeiről értékközpontú, de pártatlan tájékoztatást nyújtson. A Magyarország Barátai Alapítvány a negyedik Magyarország Barátai Konferencián osztotta ki először a Magyarország Barátja Díjat. A díjazottak: Reinhard Olt újságíró, Lipták Béla, az Amerikai Magyar Lobbi vezetője, valamint az Amerikai Magyar Szövetség szervezete. [tovább magyarul]
12/1/2016 - The American Hungarian Federation Chairman of the Board attends 6th Hungarian Diaspora Council (Magyar Állandó Értekezlet or Máért... AHF Chairman, Frank Koszorus, Jr., traveled to Budapest to attend the 6th Hungarian Diaspora Council meeting held on November 30, 2016. The Council is devoted to safeguarding the Hungarian Diaspora's physical cultural heritage. [read more]
11/18/2016 - AHF Chairman receives Gábor Bethlen Award: AHF Chairman, Frank Koszorus, was honored for his service to the Hungarian-American community and decades long work on autonomy and minority rights for Rumania's 1.5 million-strong Hungarian community in Transylvania. Hungarian Parliamentary Vice-President, Sándor Lezsák presented the award and reflected on Mr. Koszorus' and AHF's work. [Read more and see his comments in Hungarian]
4/7/2010 -- AHF article on Autonomy for Romania's Hungarian Communities published in Foreign Policy Review...The article entitled, "Autonomy: The Path to Democracy and Stability in Romania," makes a compelling case for the recognition of autonomy as a means of strengthening democracy and stability in Romania. [read more]
7/20/2010 - AHF co-sponsors Free Summer Camp for 100 Children of Hungarian Flood Zone Victims... The camp was held from July 20 to July 26 in the Somogy Megyei Gyermek Tábor in Fonyódliget, a town on the shores of Lake Balaton. The 100 children, aged 7 to 14, were selected from three villages that were affected by the flood. [read more] and DONATE!
7/14/2010 - AHF co-sponsors delivery of 10,000 pounds of Flood Relief Supplies: On July 13, 2010, AHF, in partnership with its sister organization, the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Közhasznú Alapítvány, a non-profit Hungarian foundation, and the Kincsem Hungária Szövetkezet delivered more than 10,000 pounds of relief supplies into the Hungarian Flood region. [read more] and DONATE
02/08/2017 - AHF continues its outreach to the new administration, submits letter to Secretary of State Tillerson urging the United States to adopt a new approach to bilateral relations with Hungary. The letter urges the administration to "advance U.S. strategic interests and goals in the region as well as promote American values and hold out its accomplishments in a manner that will inspire positive reforms, including the treatment of Hungarian minorities in Hungary’s neighboring countries. [read more]
6/3/2010 - The American Hungarian Federation issues statement Supporting Hungarian Dual Citizenship Law, Rebukes Unjustified and Baseless Criticism: "Slovakia, home to more than 500,000 ethnic Hungarians (10% of the population), has condemned this law. The Slovak condemnation is hypocritical, unjustifiable, and only consistent with the pattern of xenophobia and scapegoating for political expediency." [read more]
01/24/2017 - AHF submits letter to President Trump on improving American-Hungarian relations and urging his Administration to adopt a new approach to our bilateral relations with Hungary. The letter noted, "misunderstandings have resulted in flawed and self-defeating policies that tend to foster disillusionment with the U.S. among Hungarians and thereby damage U.S. strategic interests." [read more]
10/10/14 - AHF submits letter to President Obama: "...although we believe that vigilance is necessary to preclude backsliding when it comes to democracy, we are justifiably puzzled and deeply concerned that you lumped Hungary in with Egypt and some of the worst dictatorships of the world in assessing the state of civil society freedoms. We... respectfully call upon you to retract that part of your statement that unjustifiably places Hungary in the same category with Egypt and other such repressive countries. Doing so would help alleviate the concern, confusion and disbelief found in our community about the United States views of Hungary, a democratic ally. It would also serve to advance the goals of the United States in the region." [read more]
10/22/14 - AHF submits letter to US Asst. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland: "The appearance of selective enforcement and the use of anti-corruption measuresas a “big gun” for political purposes that are unrelated to corruption, coupled with the other issues noted in this letter merely befuddle and alienate the Hungarian people and undermine U.S. goals...Corruption cannot, must not be tolerated. It needs to be eradicated wherever found. If not halted, it will undermine democracy and the free market system. We, therefore, support U.S. anti-corruption initiatives. However, in order to be effective, selective prosecution should be meticulously avoided." [read more]
5/18/2016 - AHF and PAC address Bill Clinton's Hungary remarks: The Presidents of the American Hungarian Federation and the Polish American Congress issue a joint statement objecting to the collective characterization by former President Bill Clinton of the Hungarian and Polish people as tired of democracy and desirous of “authoritarian dictatorship.” [read more]
11/14/14 - AHF meets with National Security Council and State Department Officials - On Friday, November 14, 2014, Frank Koszorus, Jr., President of the American Hungarian Federation, and Paul Kamenar and Imre Nemeth, members of the Federation's International Relations Committee, met with Nathaniel Dean, Director for Central and North European Affairs at the National Security Council, Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Ivan Weinstein, Desk Officer for Hungary at the Department of State. [read more]
1/20/2015 - Politics.hu publishes Op-Ed by AHF President, Frank Koszorus, "What is the endgame for U.S.-Hungarian relations?"In a Tweet on January 12, 2015, US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Andre Goodfriend quoted Stephen I, the first king of Hungary (975–1038), who urged his son Emeric to welcome foreigners.The Tweet...clearly made in response to the Hungarian Prime Minister's recent policy statement... that Hungary and Europe should, with the exception of political asylum, curb economic immigration.
12/17/14 - AHF Meets with Kathy Kavalec, Director, U.S. Department of State, Office of Russian Affairs: On December 17, AHF met with Kathy Kavalec, Director, U.S. Department of State, Office of Russian Affairs, to discuss Russia's policies and activities in Central Europe, including Hungary, and U.S. response thereto. "Our Federation believes that good bilateral relations between the United States and Hungary and a strong and united NATO are in the interest of both countries and necessary to meet the formidable challenges posed by Russia in the region," said the Federation's president Frank Koszorus, Jr. "Winning instead of alienating public opinion is critical to advance these goals," he added.
5/9/2014 - AHF Submits Letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concern that the US Embassy's public (as opposed to private) statement about Hungary's history concerning the treacherous year of 1944 may have the unintended consequence of alienating Hungarians at a time when NATO needs to be unified and resolute in confronting the challenges posed by Ukraine and Russia. [more]
5/11/2012 - Budapest’s Central European University hosted a one-day conference to mark the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Hungary and the United States on May 9th. The conference, co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Budapest, was opened by Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Bay Fang. [more]
01/04/11 - AHF Issues its First Statement on Hungarian Media Law: "A Rush to Judgment: The Reaction to the Hungarian Media Law." [more]
5/11/2010 - "Meggyőzni Washingtont..." American Hungarian Federation president calls for even-handedness in media coverage on Hungary in Heti Válasz interview following Fidesz's landslide victory in recently held parliamentary elections. "Miben tudna segíteni az amerikai magyar emigráció az óhazának, amikor a jobbközép győzelmét ismét fanyalogva fogadja az amerikai sajtó?" [tovább]
11/7/2010 - Báthory Award for American Hungarian Federation President
Frank Koszorus, Jr. On the recommendation of the Bolyai Committee (BKB), the Hungarian National Council of Transylvania (EMNT) bestowed the Bathory Award upon 15 awardees, including Frank Koszorus, Jr., President of the American Hungarian Federation.
6/11/2008 - Sen. Schumer suggests return of Russia's hegemony in Central and East Europe... AHF (and Central and East European Coalition) sends letter and calls on community to express its concern. On June 3, 2008, Senator Schumer (D-NY) published an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled "Russia Can Be Part of the Answer on Iran." In this article, Sen. Schumer suggests that stronger economic sanctions would help deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The effectiveness of the sanctions, according to Sen. Schumer, will require Russia's cooperation. [read more]
UPDATE: 7/25/2008 - American Hungarian Federation Participates in CEEC Meeting with Senator Schumer: Discusses Russia "Hegemony" statement.
1/11/2013 - AHF again responds to Senator Ben Cardin, Co-Chair of the US Helsinki Commission. In his December 20, 2012 statement, the Senator was unfairly critical of Hungary. "...we are concerned that (1) your assertions concerning Hungary omit relevant facts; and (2) your statement fails to raise the discrimination and intolerant policies toward ethnic Hungarians in some of the countries bordering Hungary. The statement therefore leaves the impression... of bias, which could result in cynicism toward the Helsinki Commission and its valuable and necessary work." [read more]
7/22/2010 - AHF reacts to The Washington Post Editorial: "...the editorial, 'Hungary's Strongest Leader Targets the Media,' [July 19], seems to equate the prevailing sentiment in Hungary in support for minority rights and the new passport law with extremism. Nothing is farther from the truth." AHF letters reminded editors about the current extremism [see Slovak Language Law] in neighboring countries and explained that the legacy of Trianon continues to affect the lives of millions of ethnic Hungarians today. The letters also pointed out the fact that dual citizenship is a common and globally accepted practice even in those same countries that would discriminate against an ethnic Hungarian exercising his rights. AHF feels The Post missed the point and mixed unrelated issues. However, we appreciate the fact the The Post's editorial included a link to AHF's page on the Treaty of Trianon.
Letters included those from members Frank Koszorus, Jr., AHF President; Bryan Dawson, AHF Executive Chairman; and Geza Cseri, former Science and Technology Advisor to the Allied Supreme Commanders of NATO. The Post published a Letter to Editor from Geza Jeszenszky, former Ambassador to the United States and Foreign Minister.
All four letters appear in that order below:
Based on erroneous assumptions and a casual understanding of the challenges confronting Hungarians, the editorial, "Hungary's strongest leader targets the media," [July 19], seems to equate the prevailing sentiment in Hungary in support for minority rights and the new passport law with extremism. Nothing is farther from the truth. Consequently, the editorial appears biased and falls short of the high standard The Post sets for itself.
Remembering the Treaty of Trianon, which transferred over three million ethnic Hungarians to foreign rule, is neither polarizing nor a concern of only the right, as the editorial also suggests. Rather it is an issue today because some of Hungary's neighbors discriminate against their Hungarian minorities. Slovakia, which adopted a language law prohibiting the use of Hungarian in public, or Romania, which refuses to re-establish a former Hungarian university, are examples. If these countries respected minority rights, Trianon would be relegated to the history books.
Perhaps next time The Post will examine the facts a little more closely.
Frank Koszorus, Jr.
I was confused by the editorial, "Hungary's strongest leader targets the media," [July 19]. The merits (or lack thereof) of government media controls has little or nothing to do with passports or citizenship which are matters of national identity, not nationalism. Dual-citizenship is a common practice throughout the world as is autonomy and respect for local, historic communities. Is the U.S. nationalist for allowing Americans to live abroad and keep their passports? Is the US extreme for accepting dual citizenship with Britain, France or Mexico? Is Hungary extreme for accepting dual citizenship for ethnic Slovaks living in Hungary? Slovakia accepts dual citizenship for some, but will not extend the same rights to ethnic Hungarians who have lived in their own communities for over 1,100 years. As such, it is clearly discriminatory. Unfortunately, the law to rescind Slovak citizenship for ethnic Hungarians who exercise their right to apply for Hungarian citizenship on Saturday, July 17, 2010.
Is the concern for the basic human rights of an ethnic minority an extremist, extreme right-wing position? Are Catalonians extreme for wanting to speak Catalan with the postman in Catalonia? How about speaking French in Quebec? Spanish in Miami? Italian in Switzerland? Slovakia, under a truly nationalist government that include Jan Slota who called Hungarians, “the cancer of the Slovak nation,” passed a law making it illegal to converse in Hungarian with a Hungarian postman in a post office in an 1100-year old Hungarian village.
For the 40 years of communist rule, it was taboo to discuss topics such as Trianon and asserting rights for ethnic minorities as to not disturb the “socialist brotherhood of nations.” Does the Post long for the brotherhood’s return? As the link you provided explained so well, any objective observer would see Trianon as a huge miscarriage of justice that continues to affect the lives of millions today. It is not a right-wing, extremist issue, it is an issue of human and minority rights that should transcend the political spectrum. The firm re-establishment of democracy in Hungary allows for a full examination of these topics, however uncomfortable for the West who bears the responsibility for creating these minorities and ethnic strife in the first place.
When it comes to the Treaty of Trianon, you are telling to the Hungarians to forget it. How can you forget that your arms and legs are cut off, and millions of your brothers are under foreign rule, because that is what happened at Trianon. The Treaty unjustly, with malice, deprived Hungary of 65% of her inhabitants and 72% of her territory, an area as large as Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio or Kentucky combined. The dismemberment also created 16 million ethnic minorities, including millions of Hungarians. This treaty totally altered the political balance of Central Europe which then led to the Balkanization of the area and created the political and economy hardships and turmoil to the country and the area. There are no extremists on this issue since practically the whole nation laments the injustice of Trianon.
If there is revisionalism in Hungary, it is fueled by Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia because of their oppressive and discriminatory policies. Slovakia, by the Benes Decrees and its language law prohibiting the use of Hungarian in public, or Romania, which refuses to re-establish a Hungarian university, or the continuous physical beatings of ethnic Hungarians by the Serbs in Voivodina are examples.
I hope that in the future, The Post will be more mindful of the facts and reality.
Key Dates in Hungarian-American Diplomatic Relations: Diplomatic relations between Hungary and the United States were formally established in 1922, although unofficial contacts have been present ever since the War of Independence. Colonel Commandant Michael Kováts, a Hungarian nobleman is regarded as the founder of the American Cavalry, and was one of the first heroes to lay down his life for American independence near Charleston, South Carolina. Friendly relations between the two nations were further enhanced through Lajos Kossuth’s visit to the United States in 1851 – whose bust is one of the few foreign nationals present in the Capitol Rotunda. Kossuth was the second foreign national – after the Marquis de LaFayette – ever to be given the honor of speaking before a joint session of Congress.
AHF Statements on Trianon