The Consulate General of Hungary in Chicago hosted a Regional Diaspora Meeting in Cleveland, OH on October 14. The weekend was complete with celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and the 125th anniversary of America’s oldest Roman Catholic Church, Saint Elizabeth’s on Buckeye Road, in Cleveland.
Nearly two dozen Hungarian-American organizations participated in the day-long discussion on the future of the Hungarian diaspora in the U.S. The program included presentations by Dr. Péter Szilágyi, Deputy State Secretary for Hungarian Communities Abroad, H.E. Zita Bencsik, consul general of Hungary, and Mrs. Anna Smith Lacey, executive director of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation. HIF Board Member, Edith Lauer also participated in the meeting.
In her welcoming remarks, Consul General Zita Bencsik underscored the importance of a pro-active, two-way engagement between the Hungarian American organizations and Hungary’s official representation in Chicago.
The open forum held at the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum, which received several important upgrades through HIF grants, aimed at better understanding the needs of the Hungarian America community and to review the general dynamic of the diaspora’s growth. Representatives came from all across northeast Ohio and from neighboring states as well to share their ongoing projects and future plans.
Dr. Szilágyi presented the Hungarian government’s various outreach programs, including the Mikes Kelemen Program, theKőrösi Csoma Sándor Program, the Julianus Program, the annual Diaspora Council and the grant opportunities offered by the Bethlen Gábor Fund all aimed at supporting the preservation of Hungarian cultural heritage abroad and fostering stronger relations between Hungary and the Hungarian American community, the largest Hungarian community outside of the United States.
HIF Executive Director Anna Smith Lacey discussed the wide-ranging grant and funding opportunities that HIF offered in the past and will continue to do in the future, including sponsoring flagship Hungarian cultural programs, supporting grassroots educational programs in the Hungarian American community, fellowship and scholarship opportunities for young Hungarians and capacity-building events for diaspora representatives. She also emphasized that HIF will continue to prioritize projects that foster cooperation between various organizations, that are focused on youth outreach and education, that target non-Hungarian audiences, and that involve larger non-Hungarian educational and cultural institutions and organizations as project partners and those that have a long term vision and growth potential.
At the event, Andrea Mészárosné was honored with the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary for her tireless work in preserving and promoting Hungarian culture in Cleveland.
Participating organizations included:
- Honorary Consulate General in Cleveland
- Honorary Consulate General in Minnesota
- Bocskai Rádió
- Cserkész Barátok Köre
- Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Museum
- First Hungarian Reformed Church
- Magyar Bethánia Baptista Gyülekezet
- Kapossy Rádió
- Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség
- Saint Emeric Roman Catholic Church
- Hungarian Cultural Garden
- Hungarian Society
- Cleveland-i Regős Csoport
- Westside Hungarian Evangelical Church
- Lorain Hungarian Reformed Church
- Cleveland Hungarian Development Panel
- United Hungarian Societies
- Cleveland Hungarian Scouts
- Cleveland Hungarian School
Photos courtesy of Bocskai Rádió.