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HATOG 6 Final Report

Hungarian Americans Together VI

Conference on Best Practices in Preserving and Passing On Our Hungarian Heritage

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Hosted by:

  • Hungarian American Coalition
  • Honorary Consulate General of Hungary in San Francisco
  • Hungarian Catholic Mission, Woodside Priory
  • Free Magyar Reformed Church of San Francisco and Vicinity

 

Co-Chairs:

  • Eva Voisin, Honorary Consul General
  • Katalin Vörös
  • Helen Szablya, Honorary Consul General
  • Géza Kádár

 

San Francisco Bay Area, March 2-3, 2013

 

Background

Sixth in the series of the Hungarian Americans Together conferences, the first West Coast HATOG was initiated by the Hungarian American Coalition with the goal of building an ever more active network of Hungarian Americans through enhanced communication and collaboration. By sharing best practices, the Hungarian-American organizations in the US hope to develop better strategies for preserving and strengthening our Hungarian heritage and culture.

Begun in Washington DC, the HATOG process has now reached California after successful conferences in Pennsylvania (Ligoneer), New Jersey (New Brunswick), Ohio (Cleveland), and Illinois (Chicago). The next meeting will be in Atlanta, GA, in October 2013.

 

Agenda

Saturday, March 2

8:00–9:00 Registration
9:00–9:30

Invocation: Father Maurus Németh

Welcoming remarks, introduction of  conference attendees

Moderators: Max Teleki, Eva Voisin 

9:30–10:00

State of the Community; Strategies for “Passing It On…”

Presenters: Andrea Lauer Rice, László Hámos

10:00–10:30

Hungarian Heritage Month, Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Presenter: Ágnes Fülemile

Moderator: Edith K. Lauer

10:30–11:00

Hungarian Language Instruction and Hungarian Studies

Presenters: Katalin Kollár Tóth, Nelly Szilágyi,Katalin Vörös, Soma Fuller, Levente Lovász

Moderator: Katalin Vörös

11:00–11:15 Break
11:15–11:30

Hungarian Scouting

Presenter: Szilvia Gilbert

Moderator: Gitta Ungvári

11:30-–11:45

Hungarian Dance

Presenter: Katalin Lázár

Moderator: Katalin Vörös

11:45–12:00

Hungarian Music

Presenter: János Horváth

Moderator: Katalin Vörös

12:00–12:45

Cultural Outreach through Television and Film

Presenters: Réka Pigniczky, József Kassai (Duna TV), Endre Hules, George Csicsery

Moderator: Réka Pigniczky

12:45–1:30 Lunch
1:30–2:00

Hungarian Heritage Center

Presenter: Victoria Szabó-Lengyel

Moderator: Szilvia Gilbert

2:00–2:30

Hungarian-American Religious Institutions

Presenters: F. Maurus Németh, Ildikó Zentai, Rev. Gábor Magyari-Köpe, Ferenc Raj, Jay Roller, Arliss Ungar

Moderator: Eva Voisin

2:30–3:00

Hungarian American Business Associations

Presenters: István Böröcz, Sylvia Tóth, Cecily Wallace, Helen Szablya, Eva Voisin

Moderator: István Böröcz and Helen Szablya

3:00–3:15 Break
3:15–3:30

The Role of the Hungarian Institutions and Diplomacy

Presenters: Eva Voisin, Helen Szablya

Moderator: Eva Voisin

3:30–4:00

Use of Communications and Media: Technology, Social Media, Newspapers, Books, Radio, Local, Regional and National Networks

Presenters: Andrea Lauer Rice, Helen Szablya, Katalin Kádár Lynn, Katalin Vörös

Moderator: Andrea Lauer Rice

4:00–5:30

Discussion at Large

Moderators: Max Teleki, Eva Voisin

6:30–9:30

Dinner and Presentation

Zina's Hungarian Folk Singing Circle

Free Magyar Reformed Church of San Francisco and Vicinity

 


Sunday, March 3

9:00–11:00

Wrap-up Session: Review of conference, accomplishments, to-do list, HATOG VII

11:00–12:00 Catholic Mass at Woodside Priory, F. Maurus Németh
12:00–2:00 Lunch, Hungarian Catholic Mission

 

 

    

 

      

 

List of Participants

73 Hungarian American leaders representing 29 organizations from 6 states were present:

 

Balassi Institute, Hungarian Cultural Center in New York — Ágnes Fülemile

Balázs Scholar Committee at Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA — Jay Roller, Arliss Ungar

Berkeley Magyarok — Katalin Vörös

Cleveland Hungarian Heritage Society — Ted Horvath

Endre Hules Productions, Los Angeles, CA — Endre Hules

Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble — Katalin Lázár

56Films — Réka Pigniczky

First California Hussar Regiment — Ferenc Bakonyi

Free Magyar Reformed Church of San Francisco and Vicinity — Rev. Gábor Magyari-Köpe

Helena History Press, St. Helena, CA and Budapest — Katalin Kádár Lynn

Holy Names University, Kodály Center, Oakland, CA — János K. Horváth

Honorary Consul General of Hungary for Northern California, San Mateo, CA — Eva E. Voisin

Honorary Consul General of Hungary for WA, OR and ID, based in Seattle, WA — Helen Szablya

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Ethnology, Budapest — Balázs Balogh

Hungarian American Association of Washington State — Nelly Szilágyi

Hungarian American Coalition, Washington, DC — Ted Horvath, Géza Kádár, Andrea Lauer Rice, Edith Lauer, George Pogan, Maximilian Teleki

Hungarian Catholic Mission — Father Maurus Németh, Ildikó Zentai

Hungarian AmericanChamber of Commerce in the US — Eva E. Voisin

Hungarian Diaspora Council — László Hámos

Hungarian Freedom Fighters Federation Inc., San Francisco Bay Area Chapter — András Rékay

Hungarian Heritage Foundation of the San Francisco Bay Area — Victoria Szabó-Lengyel

Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, New York — László Hámos

Hungarian School of Hungarian Scout Troops 73 & 43, San Francisco Bay Area, CA — Kata Kollár Tóth

Hungarian Scout Troops 73 & 43, San Francisco Bay Area, CA — Gitta Ungvári

Hungarian Scouts Association in Exteris — Szilvia Gilbert

San Jose Magyars Soccer Team — János and Katalin Kelemen

Seattle–Pécs Sister City Association — Helen M. Szablya

Sonoma–Tokaj Sister City Committee — Cecily Keleti Wallis, Sylvia Tóth

Walnut Creek–Siófok Sister Cities Organization — István Böröcz

Woodside Priory, Portola Valley, CA — Soma Fuller, Levente Lovász

Zala Films, Oakland, CA — George Paul Csicsery

Zina’s Hungarian Folk Singing Circle, San Francisco, CA — Zina Bozzay

 

 

Saturday, March 2

The following is a summary of the proceedings by topic, based on notes taken by Géza Kádár, Jr.

After the invocation by Father Maurus Németh, Eva Voisin welcomed the participants. Max Teleki delivered an overview of the work of the Hungarian American Coalition.

 

“Pass It On”

Andrea Lauer Rice (HAC Board Member, President of Lauer Learning, and creator of “Pass It On,” a strategy for reaching out to the next generation of Hungarian Americans) analyzed the current make-up of the Hungarian American community, noting that the vast majority do not speak Hungarian and are likely not involved with a formal organization. Based on this, she claimed there is a real need to reach out to this under-served community by using online resources and tools. Her organization created the www.thegulyaspot.com website to act as a community site to collect and help disseminate English-language resources that will help teach the next generation about the culture, history and language of Hungary and Hungarians in America. This is a work in progress, but she encouraged the participants to add materials to the site. She also led a discussion on the need to establish and document best practices in preserving and passing on the Hungarian heritage.

 

Also presenting under this agenda item was László Hámos, a founding HAC Board Member, President of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, and US representative in Hungary’s Diaspora Council. He reported on the goals of the Diaspora Council: these are, as regards the 1.5 million Hungarian Americans, best summarized as revival, reconnection, and rejuvenation. He reported on the newly established Kőrösi Csoma Sándor internship program, which will conduct a survey into the Hungarian American community to have a better comprehension of the resources and potential of Hungarian American communities nationwide.

Mr. Hámos also reported on the recent establishment of a new organization, the Washington-based Kossuth Foundation. The Kossuth Foundation is the successor-owner of the Kossuth House, the former headquarters of the Hungarian Reformed Federation of America (HRFA), a fraternal benefits company. The recent merger of HRFA with GBU, also a fraternal benefits company, allows the Kossuth Foundation to operate the Kossuth House with the same objectives as professed by HRFA throughout its 100+ years of history in helping the development of the Hungarian American community.

Mr. Hámos also mentioned the establishment of another foundation by the Hungarian government, the New Hungary Initiative Foundation. This foundation will also be housed in the Kossuth House in Washington, DC. Mr. Hámos concluded his remarks by thanking the attendees and presenters for the great work being done on the West Coast.  

 

Hungarian Heritage Month in Washington, DC

Ágnes Fülemile, Ethnographer and Director of the Hungarian Culture Center in New York City, described ongoing preparations for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival this summer. This year’s festival will feature Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival, and will run from June 26-30 and July 3-7, 2013.

 

Hungarian Language Instruction and Hungarian Studies

Katalin Vörös spoke about the state of Hungarian Studies at American universities. She explained that these programs promote the teaching of the Hungarian language to academics who need a more advanced command of Hungarian for academic/professional work. The programs are not intended to teach language to beginners but for researchers who need the language for background.  

 

Ms. Vörös introduced Katalin Kollár Tóth, of the Hungarian School of San Francisco who reported on the Hungarian language instruction at the Woodside Priory in Portola Valley, CA. Eighty children attend the weekly language instruction. The program has ten volunteer teachers, and the instruction is exclusively in Hungarian. The program operates in collaboration with the Hungarian Scouts of San Francisco. It’s not a language school per se, but to teach reading and writing, observe traditions and holidays, and to pass on our Hungarian culture to the next generation.

 

Representing the Hungarian American Association of Washington State, Nelly Szilágyi described the Hungarian school and language program she runs there. Ms. Szilágyi has taught at the school for over 14 years. She said this is the first time that she has attended a conference like this and she is delighted to be sharing her thoughts on “how we try to pass on language and culture in Washington State.”

 

Describing the Hungarian student exchange program at the Woodside Priory were two scholarship students from Hungary, Soma Fuller and Levente Lovász. Benedictine monks in exile from Communist Hungary founded the Woodside Priory School, a private boys boarding school, in 1957. Since then, the school has become coeducational and in recent years it sponsors two scholarship students from Hungary each year. This program, started by Father Christopher Hites, has been run by Father Maurus Németh since 1999. Scholarship students are selected based on merit. There are currently 14 countries represented at the Woodside Priory. According to the student presenters, the Priory’s community is like an international house and it has been an exceptional experience for them.

 

Hungarian Scouting

Szilvia Gilbert from the Hungarian Scouting Association in Exteris gave an informative and inspirational presentation of her involvement in Bay Area scouting.

 

Hungarian Dance

Katalin Lázár described the activities of the Eszterlánc Hungarian Folk Ensemble of the San Francisco Bay Area and the Mazsolák Children’s Dance Group.

 

Hungarian Music

Prof. János Horváth teaches music and conducts a choir at Holy Names University in Oakland. He reported that he uses the Kodály method of music instruction, which uses original native folk tunes as the basis for the music curriculum. His challenge, and that of other music educators, is how to put it into local music-education systems. Kodály’s work was inspired by the need for building a Hungarian national identity. The first Kodály music school was in Kecskemét. Horváth said he has come to believe that “the nutritious food for the healthy soul is music.” At least this is the principle for the serious teaching of music, he said. The Kodály Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, has received funding from the Ford Foundation and the Flora Hewett Foundation, which also supports a summer school program at Holy Names. Information about this program can be found online at www.hnu.edu/Kodaly/blog.

 

Zina Bozzay, leader of the Hungarian Singing Circle for the San Francisco Bay Area, told the gathering that her group is organized for, and delights in, singing the living folk tradition of Hungary. Her Singing Circle finds its source recordings in the archives in Hungary. The ‘Táncház method,’ which her group follows, is on the best practices list for learning and teaching folk singing. The Singing Circle practices at least once a month, and emphasizes authenticity: they learn songs exclusively from original source material. The Singing Circle performs at local festivals and events and reaches out to other singing societies, with the goal of sharing the wonderful tradition of authentic Hungarian folk music with a wider community. Zina Bozzay and her Hungarian Singing Circle performed several folk songs at the HATOG Saturday dinner hosted by the Hungarian Reformed Church in Redwood, to the delight of all attendees.

 

Cultural Outreach Through Television and Film

George Csicsery, founder and owner of Zala Films in Oakland, CA, shared highlights from his 40-year filmmaking career and described the Hungarian-themed films he has produced. His award-winning documentary, describing the whimsical genius of Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős, was a Gold Plaque Award winner at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2005. It will be shown in the Hungarian Academy in Budapest in June. His film recounting the history of Hungarian Scout Troop 214 is perhaps the best documentary on the history of Hungarian Scouting. Csicsery said he is now working on a film about a Hungarian nun, Margaret Schlachta, who saved Jewish children during the Holocaust. Also in the works is a documentary about the horrors of the Recsk communist prison camp in 1950.

 

Réka Pigniczky, creator and co-owner of 56Films, is a journalist and documentary filmmaker, born and raised in the US. She moved to Hungary after 1989, she said, “but we returned to the US last year because it was also important for us to be American: my role is to help clarify the Hungarian American identity, for Hungarians both in the US and in Hungary.” Réka is a co-organizer of the San Francisco Festival of Hungarian Films, as well as a short course on contemporary Hungarian Cinema, which will take place in November at San Francisco State University.

 

József Kassai, a program editor from Hungary’s Duna TV, described the Budapest-based public-service channel available via satellite in the US and online at www.dunatv.hu. The program he is currently heading is entitled “Five Continents—One Nation.” He described a new Duna TV initiative: Hungarians from all over the globe can send photos or video clips of their current events to Duna TV for airing as part of a current-affairs program, bi-monthly for half an hour. The website for these submissions is www.otkontinens.hu.

 

Endre Hules is a film director, writer, and actor in Los Angeles. He described his current film, which is a story of two brothers. One brother never leaves Hungary and struggles for much of the last 20 years. The other one escapes to the West and returns after 20 years to find his brother still dancing with the same woman whom they both had loved in their youth. To Westerners, the brother who escapes and then returns to Hungary is the hero of the film. However, in Hungary the hero is the one who stayed behind. By highlighting this difference of perspective, Hules says, he is able to demonstrate that the channels of communication between resident Hungarians and those who emigrated have yet to be established. “We in the Diaspora are still not there and that separates us, but it also allows us to be more objective. We can communicate Hungarian culture better linguistically and culturally because we are here, in the West. We filmmakers are in the middle, and the best way we can communicate with both camps is to tell our stories and to understand why the different communities see the same events from vastly different perspectives,” Hules explained.

 

Hungarian Heritage Foundation

Victoria Szabó-Lengyel described the mission of the Hungarian Heritage Foundation of the San Francisco Bay Area: It is just as much to educate Americans about Hungarian culture as it is to help Hungarians understand their new home in America. Built on cooperation among all Hungarian-American groups in the Bay Area, the Hungarian Heritage Foundation is especially reaching out to newly arriving Hungarians. The Heritage Foundation was formed in 1992 after the sale of the San Francisco Hungarian Center’s downtown building.

 

Hungarian American Religious Institutions

Father Maurus Németh of the Hungarian Catholic Mission described the work of the mission as promoting faith, culture, and charity. The Woodside Priory School was founded by Benedictine monks 55 years ago. Today it serves the Hungarian-American Catholic community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Catholic Mission has created five foundations to spread charity to needy Hungarians. Two full scholarships for Hungarian students to attend the Priory are given each year.

 

Ildikó Zentai, President of the Hungarian Catholic Mission, described the Mission’s cultural and community activities. It is estimated that 13,500 Hungarians were included in Mission-sponsored events at the Priory over the last 10 years. For more on the work of the Catholic Mission, go to www.HungarianCatholicMission.com.

 

The Rev. Gábor Magyari-Köpe, leader of the Free Magyar Reformed Church of San Francisco and Vicinity, spoke about the work of his church. He has been the minister of the Reformed Church since 2003. He delighted in telling the gathering that he became a US citizen just two days ago. Their goal is to provide not only religious services but cultural services as well.

 

Rabbi Ferenc Raj, Rabbi Emeritus for the San Francisco area, sent a written message to the HATOG VI attendees, stating that he regretted his absence and sends his warm regards and best wishes for a successful meeting.

 

Arliss Ungar, from the Unitarian Universalist Church in Berkeley, described the Balázs Ferenc Scholars Program at the Starr King School for the Ministry, also in Berkeley. The scholars program provides a meaningful experience for Transylvanian Hungarian Ministers visiting the US, and shows all participants what it is like for ethnic Hungarians to live as a suppressed minority in Romania. These scholars return to Transylvania with leadership skills to enhance the lives of Hungarian Unitarians. Many of them serve in the Hungarian political party in Romania. Starr King students are also offered a scholarship to study in Transylvania. The program is financed by the Unitarian Church and through donations from individual members.

Jay Roller, also from the Starr King School for the Ministry, described the historical connection between the American Unitarian Church and the Transylvania Partner Church movement, which flourished in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1980, Judy Gellert came to Berkeley to increase the awareness of these roots and to increase communications with partner churches. He said there are between 60 and 70 thousand Hungarian Unitarians in Transylvania. Several hundred American Unitarians go to Transylvania each year to experience their Hungarian connections.

 

Sister City Programs

Dr. István Böröcz, organizer of the Walnut Creek–Siófok Sister Cities program, described the history of this relationship as well as the highlights of the exchange activities over more than two decades. While he continues to promote activities with Siófok, Dr. Böröcz has also branched out his volunteer help by teaching English on the Internet to Hungarian physicians. Sister Cities International was started by President Eisenhower back in the 1950s. Its goal is to promote business, youth activities, community development, and public education. The Walnut Creek–Siófok program started in 1992. It provides a wonderful example of how much a single individual can accomplish to help the residents of his hometown.

 

Sylvia Tóth and Cecily Wallis, Board Members of the Sonoma–Tokaj Sister Cities program, described their activities since the connection was made in 2012. The City of Sonoma has created several sister city programs over the years, mostly organized around a common interest in the Sonoma wine industry, which got its start at Buena Vista Winery, founded by Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy. One aim of the sister city program is to recognize Count Haraszthy as the father of California viticulture. Financial and staff support from the current owner of the Buena Vista Winery, John Charles Boisset, made this program possible, and we are grateful for his continued patronage, said Ms. Toth. The Buena Vista Winery dedicated one dollar from each bottle of wine sold to support the sister city program. This generated over $5,000 and funded our first activities, including hosting a delegation from Tokaj. In May, the leaders from Sonoma have organized a trip to Tokaj where they have been invited to participate in the annual Tokaj wine festival. This is another excellent example of how to leverage an interesting Hungarian historical connection into a meaningful Hungarian cultural event.

 

Helen Szablya, who helped create and run the Seattle–Pécs Sister Cities program, reported that the first exchanges were between trade missions and university students, after which cultural exchanges followed. She said, “our purpose in all this is to put Seattle on the Pécs map and Pécs on the Seattle map.”

 

Hungarian American Business Associations

Eva Voisin, Honorary Consul General of Hungary, gave a presentation on the work of the Hungarian American Chamber of Commerce in the US. She stressed what she called the strategic imperative for business and civil society and NGOs to work together to enhance the sources of funding for the Hungarian cultural support programs we are operating today. She also stated that supporting each other in business is one more way to strengthen our communities.

 

The Role of Hungarian Diplomacy

What does a Honorary Consul General of Hungary actually do? This interesting question was asked and answered by Eva Voisin, Honorary Consul General for the San Francisco region and Helen Szablya, Honorary Consul General for the Seattle region. In 1992, the Hungarian Government established a Consulate General staffed with career diplomats in Los Angeles. In September 1993, the honorary offices for Seattle and San Francisco followed. Today, there are 16 honorary consulates of Hungary in the US. Honorary Consulates do the work but don’t get paid, Helen quipped. We are the face of Hungary in the US. Individuals turn to the Consulate with passport issues, retirement questions, and for help with the registration of births and deaths, and a multitude of other issues. Nothing is more symbolic of your Hungarian heritage than gaining a Hungarian passport. Eva Voisin continued: “We have 2,500 Hungarian Americans on our ‘HunList’ in Northern California They get current information about San Francisco Bay Area activities on a regular basis. The San Francisco and Seattle consular offices are now in their 20th year.”

 

Use of Communications and Media

Book writing and editing can be a vital channel for communicating Hungarian culture, language, and interests, said HAC board member and author Helen Szablya. She urged others who wish to convey their experiences to start writing now, before it’s too late. Her latest book, My Only Choice, has an official launch on March 6, 2013. It is also available on Kindle.

 

Katalin Kádár Lynn, founder and president of Helena History Press, started a book publishing venture company. Her mission is to promote the worldwide dissemination of the ideas of Hungarian scholars by helping them transfer their academic and intellectual work to the English-speaking world. While over 10,000 books are published in Hungarian every year, only a few are translated into English. Helena History Press is an effort to remedy this sad fact.

 

Katalin Vörös described her ‘Magyarok Mailing List,’ a useful and viable vehicle for information dissemination on both a personal and professional level for Hungarians living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Vörös described how the list helps thousands of Hungarians keep in touch and stay connected via the Internet.

 

In a submitted contribution, Tibor Purger (HAC Board Member and Rutgers University researcher) advocated for the modernization of global Hungarian television (Duna World) through its transformation into primarily online, on-demand media that speaks to the world and interfaces with diverse cultures, both global and neighborly, from a Hungarian perspective, demonstrating openness and acceptance, while offering an ever-growing repository of Hungarian cultural heritage—not by daily selection and not exclusively folk-art inspired, but emphasizing all enduring values. 

 

Discussion at Large: Suggestions

Here we summarize the comments that came from attendees who did not make formal presentations, but who expressed their thoughts or provided further information.

Max Teleki: After attending all five previous HATOGs, I can observe that we Hungarian Americans all over the country are in a common place. The challenge facing us all is how to use our talents and experiences to pass on to the next generation what we treasure from our being Hungarian. This is all about learning.

Andrea Lauer Rice: To me it is about communications and media. While the challenge is how to learn from all the good ideas and knowledge that was presented today and from prior HATOGs, our work ahead is to come up with solutions and then to communicate our work so that everyone can benefit. At the Coalition, we are busy expanding and improving the website. Please check out the information we have gathered here today which we will share on the HAC website.

There is a free Hungarian language-training program that is very good and it already exists on the Internet. It’s of great value—check it out at byki.com

László Hámos: I have two ideas that were inspired by this program, related to the need for a Hungarian Cultural Center. We want to create a new funding source for loans and grants for creating new physical plants and for best practices for fundraising for support of other programs.

I also want to let you know about the New Hungary Initiative, not yet established, but one that would create an endowment fund, the income of which will support Hungarian American projects that need a little more financial support.

Secondly, we have plans for creating a Hungarian Program, much like the Fulbright program, for American scholars. This plan is to create opportunities for scholars to get more involved in Hungary and for researching the issues that are of concern to all of us.

Eva Voisin observed that wherever she travels and visits Hungarian American groups, she sees we are all struggling with the same issues, and where there are successes, there is often a business entity that supports it. Therefore it behooves us to pursue ties with businesses and to pursue business-like strategies for supporting our causes.

Ted Horvath expressed his delight at the results of this HATOG. He then observed that while Hungarians tend to celebrate the nation’s past most dramatic failures on its way to democracy and freedom, why don’t we now celebrate this wonderful and positive achievement for Hungary, the realization of democracy for Hungary.

Katalin Vörös suggested that HAC pursue a similar conference or program to target the many organizations and individuals active in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Andrea Lauer Rice observed that the Smithsonian Folklife Festival presents a unique opportunity to create short videos of all events that will take place there. These videos can be put up on the www.thegulyaspot.com community website. Perhaps we can develop an ‘app for that’ for our smartphones.

Katalin Kádár Lynn asked if there was a plan for sharing the results of this HATOG with all the organizations that participated. Max Teleki responded that all of the information generated will be posted on the HAC website and it will be offered to any organization that wishes to share it with their members. The Coalition is not asking the attending organizations to give up their membership lists if they do not wish to do so.

Edith Lauer observed the value of having as many organizations as possible participating in an umbrella organization like the Hungarian American Coalition. She congratulated the Bay Area-based organizations whose level of integration led to a very impressive effort.

Regarding our desire for a campaign to create a Hungarian Cultural House and/or museum, she related the history of the successful effort to build a museum in Cleveland. The Cleveland museum has to raise $25,000 a year just for rent. Revenues for the museum include sponsorships, a gift shop with Hungarian items, individual memberships, fees for renting space, and the proceeds from a vintner dinner. The Museum’s total budget is closer to $90,000 but the bare bones overhead is about $25,000. The museum is the heartbeat of Hungarian life in Ohio. Building a Hungarian museum is a very workable interim step toward a Hungarian House.

Ágnes Fülemile suggested, as a topic of interest for further conferences, the matter of Hungarian studies in the US. UC Berkeley had a program in Budapest for 20 years but it ended in 2008.  The University of Wisconsin also dropped its program in Hungary. Even the program at Rutgers is not functioning any more. The University of Indiana is no longer keeping up the Hungarian chair. It’s a huge problem. Hungarian students cannot gain credit for their work. It would be nice to get Hungarian acknowledged as a second language in the American university entrance system. The Coalition could help with the political work necessary to take this on.

 

Sunday Session, March 3: Conference Summary

On behalf of the HATOG VI co-sponsoring organizations, the Hungarian American Coalition, and the West Coast Host Committee, Max Teleki reviewed and summarized highlights from the presentations delivered during the Saturday sessions, pointing out that the West Coast clearly has a vibrant, successful, and thriving community.

  1. We hope that this event has brought people together to find ways to cooperate and develop stronger ties.
  2. It is clear that both in Seattle and in the San Francisco Bay area there is strong desire to acquire or create a Hungarian community center and physical space.
  3. It is also quite clear that those of us east of the Rocky Mountains need to work harder at integrating the communities in the West and leveraging the enormous talents and capabilities they offer to our broader national community.
  4. Despite the enormous talent and dedication in passing on the Hungarian language to the next generation, there are still obstacles. We need to creatively engage our communities and learn from one another. Possibilities include enhanced websites, apps for smart phones with links to our organizations and our activities, and other useful sites.
  5. Let’s videotape or digitize our activities, to create a permanent visual record of our activities and our best practices.
  6. Participants will be contacted by a member of the Coalition’s Communications Team to ensure we have the right contact person at your organization so that we can efficiently share your events and your ideas. In addition, we hope to be profiling organizations and individuals who represent the best practices in our community.

 

 

March 25, 2013 | Washington, DC

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