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AHF Receives "Friend of Hungary" Award


05/12/2017
- AHF receives "Friend of Hungary" award: The Friends of Hungary Foundation held its 4th World Conference from May 5th to the 7th in Budapest. The Foundation is a non-profit organization formally established in 2011 with the aim of promoting the successful activities of Hungarians worldwide. Over 200 notable Hungarian expatriates, leaders, and friends of Hungary from 24 countries attended this conference. The Hungarian President János Áder hosted members of the Friends of Hungary Foundation with First Lady Anita Herczegh at the presidential palace.

János Áder thanked the guests for their loyal friendship, and for raising interest in Hungary while boosting its reputationDuring 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 Hungary Foundation, followed President Áder in addressing the audience assembled in the Sándor Palace’s Hall of Mirrors.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.

In Budapest’s stunning Vigadó Concert Hall, the Friends of Hungary Foundation presented its first "Friend of Hungary Award" to two individuals and to the American Hungarian Federation.In Budapest’s stunning Vigadó Concert Hall, the Friends of Hungary Foundation presented its first "Friend of Hungary Award" to two individuals and to the American Hungarian Federation.

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.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. 

The American Hungarian Federation (AHF) established the Colonel Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom to honor outstanding individuals and recognize their life's achievements, dedication to freedom and democracy, promotion of transatlantic relations, and meritorious contribution to society. The award, AHF's highest honor, is open to Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike.
AHF established the Colonel Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom to honor outstanding individuals and recognize their life's achievements, dedication to freedom and democracy, promotion of transatlantic relations, and meritorious contribution to society

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.

Mr. Balogh gave thanks to the Foundation for this wonderful award.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.

Sylvester Vizi presented the award to Co-President Gyula Elemér Balogh who accepted the award on behalf of the FederationIn 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.

In Budapest’s stunning Vigadó Concert Hall, the Friends of Hungary Foundation presented its first "Friend of Hungary Award" to two individuals and to the American Hungarian Federation. Frank Koszorus, Chairman, and Gyula Balogh, Co-President.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.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 concertThe 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.

Left-to-right: AHF Chairman Frank Koszorus; Hungarian Minister of Finance Mihaly Varga; and Chairman of the Friends of Hungary Foundation Szilveszter E. ViziOn 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.


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Negyedik alkalommal találkoztak a világban élő magyarság képviselői BudapestenNegyedik 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]


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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:

Dear Editor:

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.

Dual citizenship is not uncommon in Europe and elsewhere. Romania, for example, grants dual citizenship to ethnic Romanians living in Moldova.

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.
President, American Hungarian Federation

---

Dear Editor:

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.

Bryan Dawson
Arlington, VA

---

Dear Sir:

As a 40+ years subscriber to The Post, and a member of the American Hungarian Federation, I would like to response to your Editorial: "Hungary's strongest leader targets the media," [July 19], is based on erroneous assumptions and little understanding of Hungary’s history and psychic. Equating Hungary’s support for Hungarian minorities and of the granting of dual citizenship as being chauvinistic and catering to extremism is further from the truth. Granting dual citizenship is a common practice. The neighboring countries Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic grant dual citizenship to their ethnic brothers living in neighboring countries. One example is Romania granting dual citizenship to ethnic Romanians living in Moldova. The fact that The Post never raised this issue before regarding the named countries why now when it comes to Hungary? Am I wrong if I detect a bias attitude in this?

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.

Geza Cseri
Mc Lean VA
President, CIC, Inc. and former Science and Technology Advisor
to the Allied Supreme Commanders of NATO


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.

How Hungary Shrank: Ostensibly in the name of national self-determination, the Treaty dismembered the thousand-year-old Kingdom of Hungary, a self-contained, geographically and economically coherent and durable formation in the Carpathian Basin and boasting the longest lasting historical borders in Europe. It was imposed on Hungary without any negotiation by vengeful leaders who were ignorant or ignored the region’s history, and mercilessly tore that country apart. By drawing artificial borders in gross violation of the ethnic principle, it also transferred over three million indigenous ethnic Hungarians and over 70% of the country's territory to foreign rule.AHF Statements on Trianon
[read more about Trianon]

DISCLAIMER: The American Hungarian Federation does not necessarily endorse the content or opinions expressed by its individual members
and member organizations. © American Hungarian Federation®, All Rights Reserved