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Hungarian American Coalition Celebrates 17th Annual Mikluas Dinner; Awards Dr. Robert King for His Service


2008-12-08

Hungarian American Coalition Celebrates 17th Annual Mikluas Dinner; Awards Dr. Robert King for His Service

Event Emcee Andrea Lauer Rice Shares Mikulas Tradition with Assembled Hungarian American Audience

Washington, D.C. – December 8, 2008 –– More than 100 Hungarian American leaders and distinguished guests came together recently in Washington D.C. to attend the Hungarian American Coalition’s traditional Mikulas dinner, held at the Hungarian Embassy. The Master of Ceremonies Andrea Lauer Rice, Coalition vice president and board member, welcomed the esteemed gathering and their guests to the traditional Mikulas Celebration, sharing stories of the Hungarian tradition.

“It is an honor to celebrate Mikluas with my fellow Hungarian Americans,” said
Lauer-Rice, founder and chief executive officer of the multimedia educational firm Lauer Learning. “For me, Mikulas is a wonderful Hungarian custom that I participated in as a child and am now celebrating with my own children. It’s a great way to involve Hungarian American kids in traditional Hungarian customs.”

The dinner was held at the Hungarian Embassy where Hungarian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Ferenc Somogyi welcomed the Coalition’s guests. Lauer-Rice greeted and acknowledged many of the distinguished attendees including, Mrs. Kay King, director of the Office of Interparliamentary Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives, congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Mr. Lee Edwards, president of the Victims of Communism Foundation, Ambassador Tom Robertson, Mr. Peter Ujvagi, State Representative for the 47th District of Ohio, Ambassador Keith Smith of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Ms. Jessica Lindgren of ResCare, Inc., and Hungarian General and Honorary Consuls from across the United States.

In keeping with the season, Lauer Rice spoke about the tradition of Mikulas -- the Hungarian version of Saint Nicholas -- when children carefully polish their shoes and put them in the windowsill to be filled by Mikulas on December 6th. They are praised and rewarded for their good behavior or reprimanded for being naughty. “Following this evening’s celebration please remember to put your shoes in the windowsill,” said Lauer Rice. “You never know what tomorrow might bring.”

The evening’s keynote speaker and award recipient was Dr. Robert R. King, staff director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and former chief of staff to Rep. Tom Lantos, the well-known Hungarian Congressman who worked diligently for the cause of Hungarian minority rights.

The president of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, Laszlo Hamos, introduced, Dr. King, and applauded his many accomplishments which included spending seven years at Radio Free Europe in Munich, writing Minorities Under Communism: Nationalities as a Source of Tension Among Balkan Communist States, and serving as a White House Fellow under President Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. As Chief of Staff to Representative Lantos, Dr. King championed the rights of Hungarian minorities and oppressed peoples around the world.

Hamos and Coalition President Max Teleki presented Dr. King with the organization’s annual award of distinction “recognizing his lifelong commitment to the study of the people and politics of East Central Europe and his untiring efforts to promote a responsible and effective US human rights policy that speaks up for national minorities unable to speak up for themselves”.

Lauer Rice reinforced the sentiments of the gathering, congratulating Dr. King for his lifetime of work on human rights. In closing she thanked the participants for their continued support of the Coalition and it’s important work.

The weekend proceedings also included a White House briefing for the Coalition, with a delegation of 30 members attending. The briefing was hosted by Mr. Adam Sterling, Director for Central and Eastern European Affairs, National Security Councils, Ambassador April H. Foley, US Ambassador to Hungary, Ms. Claire Pierangelo, Office Director, Office of North Central European Affairs, Department of State; Mr. Calvin \"Pete\" Peterson, Serbia Desk Officer, Department of State.

In addition, the Coalition’s Board of Directors held their annual Board meeting at the Kossuth House. They met and renewed a roster of officers, welcomed new members into the Coalition and elected future executive committee members. Business sessions focused on a review of coalition accomplishments in 2008 and President Max Teleki outlined future plans that emphasize the Coalition’s mission of promoting Hungarian education and culture.



Date : 2008-12-08
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