|AHF Celebrates 110 Years of Service|
11/6/2017 - AHF Celebrated 110 years of service to the community! AHF held its 110th Gala Anniversary of the American Hungarian Federation's incorporation in Cleveland Ohio, and over a century of service at the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, DC on October 21. The program was a nostalgic look back at the Hungarians' immigration to the US and the extraordinary service of many persons who came to the aid of those coming to their new home.
The wonderful performance of the musical production entitled "Coming to America" brought tears to many of those who remembered the sacrifice and travails of leaving their war-torn homeland and coming to the United States.
Additional highlights of the evening were remembrances of 40 persons who made significant contributions to the Federation, and the 12 Awards for Service given to those who made major contributions to the Federation, and to the Hungarian nation.
Board Member and Program Chair Zsuzsanna Dreisziger gave a moving message about the preservation of traditions and memories, about the power of belonging and working together, about determination and the will to do, about perseverance and faith that was needed by the founders of the Federation, and the necessity to provide a helping hand at times of hopelessness.
She then introduced His Excellency, Dr. Péter Szilágyi, Deputy State Secretary for Hungarian Communities Abroad, Prime Minister's Office, who gave an erudite message about connecting the American and Hungarian communities, and presented AHF with a beautiful parchment commendation for the 110th Anniversary of the Federation from the Office of the Prime Minister, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Sémjen and State Secretary János Árpád Potápi.
Mr. Balogh then introduced Ákos L. Nagy President of the Federation, who greeted many of the dignitaries on behalf of the Federation as well as the three past AHF presidents who were at the Gala. He listed the many AHF member organizations whose representatives were present, and gave an outline of the Federation's mission which can be summed up as follows: preserve Hungarian culture and institutions in America, integrate newly arrived Hungarians into American society, foster good relations between America and Hungary, and speak out for the rights of all Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin, especially those in the successor countries.
The overall musical program was designed by Ms. Zsuzsanna Dreisziger, with special thanks for contributions and performance to Laszló Hajdu Németh, Magyar Kálmán Jr, Áron Székely, Seres Zsuzsa, George Petrán, and Major Olga who provided a truly memorable experience and exquisite singing and folk music.
Special thanks to AHF Board members Dr. István Horváth President of the Hungarian American Athletic Club, who paraphrased a moving letter from a Hungarian immigrant, and Paul Kamenar AHF General Counsel who gave a friendly welcome address to the immigrants.
Dr. Judit Kerekes, Professor at CUNY, gave the presentation "The Future Belongs to our Youth" and described the work of the American Hungarian School Association and the Hungarian Scouts Association in Exteris.
The Awards for Service ceremony were presented after dinner, first those who were no longer with us. One awardee was the talented artist and sculptor, Gabriella Koszorus-Varsa. Her award was accepted by her son Ferenc Koszorus, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chair of the International Relations Committee of the American Hungarian Federation who reflected on his own experience with the Federation 6 decades ago:
"Having seen organizations come and go, it is an honor and especially exciting for me to address you on this momentous occasion. Why?
Because my involvement with the American Hungarian Federation goes back a long time. Indeed, when my family left Europe for these shores in 1951, it was the Federation that assisted us.
And then after I returned from law school to Washington DC, in the late 1970’s, I joined the Federation, and its Washington chapter founded by among others, my father, and served (and continue to serve) as Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the International Relations Committee.
I believe it is due to the scope and breadth of the goals and activities of the Federation coupled with its ability to attract passionately committed, creative and highly qualified individuals from all walks of life – people who join not for titles or awards but to serve." [download his full remarks]
The awards and acceptances are given below:
Judit Csonka read congratulatory letters from Congressmen Andy Harris, Co-Chair of the Hungarian Caucus; and Chris Smith, Chair of the Helsinki Commission.
Special thanks to:
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The American Hungarian Federation® (AHF) (Amerikai Magyar Szövetség / AMSZ), an all volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1906 in Cleveland, Ohio. The largest Hungarian-American umbrella organization in the United States, AHF is also among the oldest ethnic organizations in the country. AHF was established as an association of Hungarian societies, institutions and churches to "defend the interest of Americans of Hungarian origin in the United States."
Over the past 100 years, AHF's mission has broadened to include support of people of Hungarian descent on both sides of the Atlantic and in the successor states of the Carpathian Basin. The American Hungarian Federation strives to unite the American Hungarian community through work that supports common goals. AHF is a national, non-partisan, independent umbrella organization representing the interests of its member organizations and the Hungarian American community.
The 1907 Kohányi Szózat (Appeal)
“Amerika egy millió magyarja, nemcsak hogy követeljük, de keresztül is visszük azt, hogy Magyarország népénekugyanabban a szabadságban, ugyanabban az igazságban, ugyanabban a jólétben legyen resze, mint a mely szabadság, igazság, es jólét abban az Amerikában van amelynek lakósai, polgárai vagyunk.”
“We, America’s 1 million Hungarians, do not just demand, but will work to ensure that the people of Hungary may partake in the same freedom, the same justice, the same prosperity as we, citizens of America, partake.”
AHF 100 YEARS DISPLAY
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.