AHF eNews November 5th, 2004

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Special October 23rd Event Coverage:

10/23/2005 - Cleveland Commemorations... About 30 Hungarian-American leaders met with Viktor Orbán and advisors in a closed dinner session at the home of Honorary Consul Laszlo Bojtos. Participants had the chance to exchange ideas on how to better coordinate and strengthen the Hungarian-American community.

Ohio State Representative Peter Ujvagi (D) and AHF Vice-President Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi both called for a new way of doing business based on cooperation and better coordination of efforts. "Effective coordination is the only way to exercise the community's collective power to influence media and government leaders," emphasized Dawson-Szilagyi.He added that we must "turn the way we did business in the past upside down. We must realize that media is the key to getting our message heard. We must communicate in a way that the world will understand - that includes using English. We must also realize that to survive, it is imperative to reach out to the next generation. Most importantly, it is time we learn to set aside differences and work together for the common good." Monika Elling, Global Marketing Director for the highly successful Hungarian international wine distributor, Monarchia, agreed and added that the Hungarian government must do more to encourage Hungarian firms to expand their markets internationally and in the United States. Viktor Orban alluded to this in his keynote address the following day when he remarked that the US offers a competitive advantage for Hungarian firms given the large population of Hungarian Americans and Hungarian-American-owned businesses.

It was standing room only as almost a thousand filled the meeting hall of St. Emeric's (Imre) Catholic Church in Cleveland to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Revolution in a patriotic flair that showed so clearly the profound love these immigrants have for not only their motherland Hungary, but for their adopted home in the United States. The popular center-right political figure, Viktor Orbán, arrived to a standing ovation. 1956 "was a very vivid part of our lives, and one we'll never forget," said Jack Korossy, who was 14 when he saw Soviet tanks rumble into Budapest. As president of United Hungarian Societies in Cleveland, Korossy helped to organize this weekend's commemorations.

The Hungarian Girlscouts, or "Cserkeszek," re-enacted the Hungarian radio broadcasts calling for Western help that never came which resulted in the re-invasion of Hungary by some 200,000 Soviet troops thus crushing the hopes of a free Hungary. Soon after came a delightful dance presentation by local young Hungarians highlighting traditional Hungarian folk dress, song, and music.

Viktor Orbán opened his speech saying "Two Hungarians are talking to each other, and they both apologize. One is sorry because he is leaving Hungary, the other, because he is staying." He said that such dialogue expresses the passion of the Hungarians in the 20th century. According to Orbán, the traditions of commemorating the 1956 uprising are richer in the United States than in Hungary because Hungarians in communist- ruled Hungary were taught to forget the past.Whenever a Hungarian is harassed anywhere in the world, the whole nation must stand up for him. Orbán brought up the example of the divided village of Szelmenc, where the Slovakian-Ukrainian border cuts across the village.

Thanks to the efforts of the Hungarian-American community in asking Congress to help unite the the village that has been divided by an iron curtain since 1944, Ukraine and Slovakia promised to open a border crossing in Szelmenc. At this point, Orbán switched to English in his speech to thank the members of the Hungarian American Caucus, and its co-chairs, Rep. Ernest Istook and Tom Lantos.

The surprise of the day came when Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) personally greeted the audience and delivered a stirring speech in which he thanked Hungary and her people for their "strong belief in dignity and human rights" and their historic fight against tyranny that was the first "rip in the iron curtain." He added, "Thank you Hungary, thank you Hungarian People. God Bless Hungary and God Bless Viktor Orbán." Kucinich presented Sandor Nagy, President of the Center for Hungarian American Congressional Relations (CHACR) with a Congressional Proclamation that is entered into the Congressional Record honoring the aniversary of the 1956 Revolution and Orban's visit.

Adding to the list of dignitaries was Theresa Coaxum, assistant to Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), a member of the Hungarian American Congressional Caucus (see CHACR for more). Ms. Coaxum commented that it was "wonderful" to see young people learning about their history and heritage. She also thanked Hungary for helping to bring an end to communist dictatorship in Central and Eastern Europe. Both the Kerry and Bush campaigns sent congratulatory statements to the Hungarian American comunity.

Following his speech, Orbán presented St. Emeric's church with a flag commemorating Hungary's 1000 years of nationhood. One side bore the Hungarian Coat of Arms with the Holy Crown of St, St. Stephen and the words "Magyar Millenium." The flag's reverse side was blank. Orbán commented that while one side commemorated Hungary's last 1000 years, the blank side was waiting for the next generations to make their own mark. Before returning to Hungary that evening, Viktor Orbán met with the young members of the Hungarian Scouts Association and their leaders.
- Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi, AHF News Service.
Thanks for contribution from CHACR.

Featured Link: Do you think you know something about famous Hungarians? Think again! See "Nobel Prize Winners and Famous Hungarians" on www.thehungarypage.com

Featured Member

haf logo In keeping with its new mission to attract the next generation of Hungarians, AHF is pleased to welcome the HungarianAmerica Foundation as its newest member! The Foundation's goal is to promote Hungarian culture and traditions, foster Hungarian-American relations, and contribute to the mutual understanding of our two countries and peoples. They strive to achieve these goals through a number of cultural, educational, and social projects. An extremely active organization in the Washington, DC area, HAF sponsors weekly social events, Hungarian language programs and films, and professional networking events. It recently rolled out its HUNEX portal which seeks to connect employers with the best and brightest job seekers in our Hungarian American community. [more]

International News

Sanyo to set up new HUF 4.5 billion plant for producing photovoltaic batteries, air conditioners

Japan's Sanyo Electric Co. said Tuesday it would spend some 4.5 billion forints (US$23.3 million, euro18 million) to build two new factories in Hungary.

Japanese electronics group Sanyo has decided on the construction of a new JPY 2.5 billion (HUF 4.5 billion) plant in Hungary, next to its already operational production unit in Dorog (north of Budapest). With the investment, the headcount at Sanyo Hungary Kft will increase from the current 1500 to 2000, Sekino said. The Hungarian unit is already the largest producer in Europe of lithium-ion batteries, and with the new project, will become the biggest maker of photovoltaic modules in Europe.

Hungarian Newspaper Closing Condemned by European Journalists

(AXcess News) Budapest - The European Federation of Journalists has condemned the decision of a Swiss publisher to close one of Hungary's leading independent daily newspapers. The expected disappearance of Magyar Hirlap has raised new questions about the growing influence of foreign investors over newspapers in Hungary and other former communist countries.
Roughly 80 journalists worked overtime Friday in an attempt to save both their jobs and a daily newspaper that has become a symbol of change.

Magyar Hirlap, which first hit the newsstands in 1968, won acclaim for its in-depth coverage, sharply-worded editorials and non-partisan stance in the often-politicized newspaper market in Hungary.

Even former Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a right wing leader who was often the target of Magyar Hirlap's criticism, said he wanted the newspaper to continue [Read More]

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