Atlanta Hungarian Meetup Represented at the Second Annual Session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council

Leaders of Fifteen Organizations Met and Set Goals to Promote Hungarian-Hungarian Relations Worldwide

Budapest – October 8, 2012 – Representing the Atlanta Hungarian Meetup Group, Andrea Lauer Rice and fifteen delegates from western Hungarian American organizations met recently at the second session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council, to continue discussions about ways to strengthen relations between Hungarians in the diaspora and their homeland. The three-day meeting was filled with working sessions, presentations from diaspora leadership, and networking events.

The Hungarian Diaspora Council was initiated by the Hungarian Government to enable the Hungarians of the diaspora national community to gather together to express their opinions, and share common initiatives and goals in the interest of promoting Hungarian-Hungarian relations worldwide. The Council represents a historic cooperation among the Hungarian organizations of the diaspora -- representatives of the churches, civic and cultural organizations and associations, and the Hungarian Scout Associations.
“I was honored to represent the Atlanta Hungarian Meetup at this event. Traveling to Budapest and attending this session at the Hungarian Parliament was a wonderful experience.  It was an impressive display of the Hungarian Government’s commitment to the Hungarian Diaspora community and its promise to continue working with our communities to strengthen national identity,” said Lauer Rice, vice president of the Hungarian American Coalition and founder and chief executive officer of the multimedia educational firmLauer Learning.

During the session, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed the economic and political challenges Hungary has faced since 2010, emphasizing that the country’s economic goals include reducing Hungary’s debt, increasing  exports, and strengthening the chances of lower middle-class Hungarians becoming successful members of society.  He also expressed a commitment to reverse the demographic loss in Hungary and increased support for reconnecting Hungarians in the diaspora to the homeland.
Specific government initiatives, according to Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén, include giving citizenship, with voting rights, to all Hungarians – with a specific focus on second and third generations – who wish to become Hungarian citizens; and establishing a voter registration system by the 2014 national elections for Hungarians who reside outside Hungary.  

Mr. Semjén presented several important programs initiated and supported by the government.  These include the Julianus program, an effort to collect data on objects of Hungarian cultural heritage in the diaspora; the maintenance of the National Register’s list of individual and organizational members; continued communication in both Hungarian and English with those registered; and outreach to Hungarians who no longer speak the language but maintain their Hungarian identity.

Among the 15 organizations represented in the Diaspora Council the Hungarian American Coalition had 10 organizations present, including Chair Emerita, Edith K. Lauer; Bishop Béla Poznán (Calvin Synod), Bishop Sándor Szabó (Hungarian Reformed Church of America), László Hámos (Hungarian Human Rights Foundation), Imre Lendvai-Lintner (Hungarian Scouts in Exteris), Balázs Somogyi (Connecticut Hungarian Cultural Society), László Varjú (Chicago Hungarian Cultural Council) Ágnes Virga, (Massachusetts Hungarian Society), Csilla Grauzer (Minnesota Hungarians. Newly invited organizations included the Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society, represented by Edith Lauer; the Hungarian Communion of Friends, represented by Peter Kovalszki; and the William Penn Association, represented by Barbara House.

The Lauer Learning founder said that it was exciting to participate in the Hungarian Diaspora Council meeting, and represent the interests of the Atlanta Hungarian community, “which, like many Hungarian communities across the country, is growing significantly.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, members of the Hungarian Diaspora Council collaboratively agreed on a number of goals including the launch of the Julianus program, continuing a focused effort to lessen the impact of the often politically motivated attacks against Hungary, continuing to monitor the situation of Hungarian communities in the Carpathian basin, and focusing special attention on countries experiencing recent influxes of Hungarian immigrants.

updated: 4 years ago