The Embassy of Hungary and the Consulate General of Hungary hosted Regional Diaspora Meetings in Washington, DC and New York City over the weekend of March 11-12.
Over 40 Hungarian-American organizations participated in the day-long discussions 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. Réka Szemerkényi, ambassador of Hungary, H.E. Ferenc Kumin, consul general of Hungary, Mr. László Hámos, US representative to the Diaspora Council, and Mrs. Anna Smith Lacey, executive director of the Hungary Initiatives Foundation.
The open forum, which aimed at better understanding the needs of the Hungarian America community and to review the general dynamic of the diaspora’s growth, was the first of its kind organized in Washington by Ambassador Szemerkényi and the third such event hosted by the Hungarian Consulate General in New York. Representatives came from all across the United States to share their ongoing projects and future plans.
Dr. Szilágyi presented the Hungarian government’s various outreach programs, including the Mikes Kelemen Program, the Kőrösi 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.
Ambassador Szemerkényi and Consul General Kumin both underscored the importance of a pro-active, two-way engagement between the Hungarian American organizations and Hungary’s official representations in Washington and New York.
Mr Hámos gave an overview of the annually recurring Diaspora Council and discussed in detail the challenges and opportunities of Hungarian American organizations, while presenting the wide avenues of engagement that are now available for organizations to provide feedback and important input for Hungary’s diaspora policy.
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.
The program featured several projects that HIF has been a key sponsor of, including the Memory Project, the HATOG conference, the AMIT conference (Amerikai Magyar Iskolák Találkozója), the ReConnect Hungary Program, and others.
The meetings were followed by celebrations of the 1848 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence in both locations.
The participating Hungarian American organizations included (among others):
- Körösi Csoma Sándor Magyar Iskola – Montclaire (NJ)
- Külföldi Magyar Cserkészszövetség
- Szent István Magyar Katolikus Egyházközség – Passaic (NJ)
- New York-i Első Magyar Református Egyház – NYC (NY)
- Association of Hungarian American Academicians – NYC (NY)
- New York Hungarian Scientific Society –NYC (NY)
- New York-i Magyar Ház – NYC (NY)
- Hungarian Cultural Society of Connecticut – Cheshire (CT)
- Magyar Ház és Klub – Wallingford (CT)
- Arany János Magyar Óvoda és Iskola – NYC (NY)
- Magyar Szülői és Tanári Egyesület – NYC (NY)
- New York-i Magyar Emlékmű Bizottság – NYC (NY)
- Amerikai Magyar Iskolák Találkozója – NYC (NY)
- Clevelandi Magyar Felvidék Egyesület – Cleveland (OH)
- Fairfieldi Magyar Református Egyház – Fairfield (CT)
- New York-i Magyar Tudományos Klub – NYC (NY)
- New York-i Szent István Magyar Templom Egyházközség – NYC (NY)
- Pannonia American Hungarian Club, Inc. – Fairfield (CT)
- Magyar Studies of America, Inc. – Fairfield (CT)
- Hungarian American Coalition – Washington (DC)
- American Hungarian Federation – Washington (DC)
- Kossuth Foundation – Washington (DC)
- Washingtoni Magyar Iskola – Washington (DC)
- Central European California Cultural Institute – San Francisco (CA)
- American Hungarian Educators’ Association – Washington (DC)
- 4. sz. Bátori József cserkészcsapat – Washington (DC)
- American Hungarian Heritage House, Wash. (DC)
- Hungarian Club of Georgia (GA)
- Hungarian Community Church of Georgia (GA)
- Hungarian Human Rights Foundation – AMDT (NY)
- Hungarian Scientific Club of Washington – Washington (DC)
- Magyar Iskola, Washington (DC)
- Mákvirágok óvoda (Altamonte Springs, FL)
- Miami Magyar Ház (FL)
- North Carolina Hungarian Athletes (NC)
- North Carolina Hungarians (NC)
- Hungarian Community Church – Daytona Beach (FL)
- Sarasotai Magyar Fesztivál főszervezői (FL)
- Sarasotai Magyar Keresztény Egyház (FL)
- Talpra Magyar Sport Napok szerv. (Orlando, FL)
- The American Foundation for Hungarian Youth and Culture, Inc. (Naples, FL)
- Washingtoni Magyar Református Egyház (DC)
- Washingtoni Szent István Magyar Katolikus Közösség (DC)
Photos credit: Embassy of Hungary, Consulate General of New York