Successful AHF Meeting on April 2nd, 2005 in Washington, D.C. Over 40 Members came together representing organizations from all over the country at the Marriott Crystal City to review the past year and plan for the future. The Meeting, chaired by Dr. Paul J. Szilagyi, was organized by the Executive Committee. Members were welcomed by AHF President Stephen Varga who introduced Rev. Imre Bertalan, Jr., for the invocation. The new found energy was apparent both at the dinner / reception the evening before and at the meeting.
Sandor Murray provided a financial report, noting that donations have risen significantly. AHF has also donated to a number of important causes from university scholarships to the Torn from the Flag project (a documentary film about the 1956 Freedom Fight) by AHF member Klaudia Kovacs. Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi presented highlights of the last year's activities as well as an overview on AHF communications and use of technology. He remarked that AHF was on the right track as both visitors to the Website and additions to the AHF mailing list continue to grow dramatically. Membership has also grown as the Hungarian American community becomes increasingly aware of AHF's activities and direction. New members have also taken advantage of the AHF Website's online eCommerce system to pay member dues.
Atilla Kocsis provided a status report on the National Headquarters, which is located in the National Press Building. AHF 1st VP, Frank Koszorus, summarized both recent and upcoming activities for the Political Affairs committee. He read the most recent public statement signed by AHF and a cross-section of the American Hungarian community and others condemning former President Ion Iliescu’s shocking statement on March 25th blaming Hungarians of Tirgu Mures (Marosvasarhely) for the violence in March 1990 when ethnic Rumanians brought in by trucks viciously attacked ethnic Hungarians who were seeking rights denied them by the dictator Ceaucescu In keeping with AHF's goals of media outreach, the statement was written in English, Hungarian, and Rumanian. See "Related Downloads" on the right to download the letter.
Tibor Purger provided a synopsis on AHF participation in the Szabadka Forum and offered an excellent analysis on its outcomes and future developments. He noted that AHF participated in a truly historic occasion as the forum held in Szabadka (Subotica in Serbo-Croatian) marked the first time ethnic Hungarian political parties met without the support or participation of the Hungarian government in Budapest. Read more and view the joint declaration by clicking [here].
One of the highlights of the meeting included Rev. Dr. Stephen Szilagyi's stirring presentation on his organization's charitable activities. SARA has already provided over 30 million dollars of medical supplies and countless services to the poor in former Hungarian territories such as Carpatho-Ukraine (Karpatalja) and now around the world. In addition to distributing medical supplies, SARA develops a network of doctors, dentists, and other service providers to provide medical care and surgery to those who cannot afford it. AHF presented to Rev. Dr. Szilagyi its second "Tako Geza Award" given to individuals of outstanding character and contributions to the Hungarian people.
Acclaimed poet-performers Mihaly Czinkota and Kinga M. DeChapelle recited some of their poems reflecting on the tragedies and triumphs of the 1956 revolution. Their uniquely choreographed presentation echoed each others thoughts and provided a bi-lingual glimpse into their words and ideas.
Dr. Paul J. Szilagyi introduced a new project code-named "Fulgur" or "lightning" in Latin. Fulgur was the title of a children's book about Hungary and its historic borders. Like its namesake, the Fulgur project aims to develop programs to support the survival of Hungarian communities in former Hungarian territories. Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi promoted the idea of supporting ethnic Hungarian organizations through sponsorship of technology and other innovations that can contribute to effective communication and coordination in former Hungarian territories. He commented there is a lack of centralized information and community outreach and that AHF can help provide that. Rev. Imre Bertalan Jr. added that Fulgur can also target ethnic Hungarians in the United States through educational opportunities and information dissemination. Dawson-Szilagyi added that the lack of full-time elementary education as well as a strong national presence in Washington that could offer internship and other government related educational opportunities are a major concern. Those interested in participating, are invited to join us!
Finally, AHF Director Attila Micheller formally announced AHF's plans to commemorate the 1956 Revolution's 50th Anniversary and called on members to join in the "1956 Commemoration Committee." Renowned artist and sculptor Gyuri Hollosy, gave a presentation of his work and ideas for a 1956 memorial. His sculptures are already standing in Liberty Square Boston, Cleveland, Akron and New Brunswick. Member organizations around the country are joining in this important milestone. AHF is seeking ways to support these local organizations, coordinate activities to increase media impact, and ways to make a permanent mark in Washington DC. AHF formed a 1956 Commemoration Committee and all are invited to join us and participate. If you are a local organization making plans for this event, please let us know how we can help!
Next AHF National Meeting on April 2nd, 2005 in Washington, DC in the Marriott Crystal City at Reagan National Airport. Members receive special room rates. [join us!]. All members and prospective members are invited to join AHF and participate in this important meeting that continues discussions on the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1956 Revolution as well as strategy on building upon the significant success of the past year.
Marriott Crystal City at Reagan National Airport
Refer to American Hungarian Federation for discount. Discounted rooms on first-come, first-served basis. For more information contact Dr. Paul Szilagyi at (305) 919-7159.
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