The Hungarian Communion of Friends

This organization promotes Hungarian traditions and values, and also provides support for Hungarians living abroad.

The organization that is best known for its annual, week-long conference named ITT-OTT, promotes  Hungarian traditions and values, and also provides support for Hungarians living abroad.

The Hungarian Communion of Friends (Hungarian: Magyar Baráti Közösség, abbreviated as MBK) is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of promoting and supporting independent, non-denominational religious life, Hungarian traditions, charitable work by and among people of Hungarian extraction, and cultural-educational endeavors that further establishes Hungarian values. It is one of the most important Hungarian organizations in the United States, with a branch in Europe.

MBK was founded in 1967 in Louisiana by two Hungarian-American students, Louis Éltető and Andrew Ludányi. The community, which became more active and managed to increase the number of its members over the years, was registered officially in 1977 in Oregon as a religious and cultural organization. Most of its members reside in the United States, but it also has significant support in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and several European countries.

During the Cold War, MBK was one of the determining and significant movements of the American-Hungarian public life. The organization maintained relations with  official bodies and scientific institutions in Hungary, and made it possible for Hungarian scientists, writers, poets and artists to visit the United States. Some of the core members of MBK held leading positions in the World Federation of Hungarians (Magyarok Világszövetsége).

Directly or through its foundations, The Hungarian Communion of Friends provides significant support to Hungarians living abroad, for example by its grant and scholarship programs. Besides this, MBK took crucial role in publishing Hungarian books abroad. Among others, MKB published the English translation of the works of István Bibó, and cooperated with the Atlantic Research and Publications Inc. led by Béla Király.

The organization is best known for its annual, week-long conference named ITT-OTT (Here and There) that is held at Lake Hope State Park in Ohio. For over thirty years, the conference has been offering high level lectures and discourse while also providing an opportunitiy for families to vacation together. It provides a public forum for the discussion of questions related to Hungarians living outside the borders of Hungary. The next conference will be held August 16-23, 2014 (details: http://www.itt-ott.org/conference/)