Seventh Diaspora Meeting Held in Fairfield, CT
The very attractive Jonás Hall, which serves as the venue for the new Hungarian Bistro that operated by Church members on Fridays, was the scene of the meeting.
Reverend Tibor Király, Pastor, welcomed the Consuls and assembled guests, leaders of Hungarian communities, who met to discuss topics of common interest.
László Hámos reported on the work of the Diaszpóra Tanács established in 2010, which provides opportunities for government officials to meet unofficially with Hungarians living abroad and to discuss common concerns. At the annual meeting in Budapest, delegates from all five continents get to meet each other, develop stronger ties and exchange ideas.
Hámos also mentioned the Mikes Kelemen Program, which provides 3-month scholarships to young librarians who facilitate the returning of books and documents to Hungary, and to the Hungarian minorities living in the surrounding countries. Digitalization of the material is part of the Program. At present, there are 5 of these research recipients around the world. The one serving the East Coast at the moment is Deák Nóra. Interested not only in written documentation – books, magazines, personal documents – she mentioned that they are also looking for oral history sound and video recordings. Her term is up at the end of February, but shipments of material will continue into the spring.
The Mikes Program is also embracing the project to revitalize the Hungarian Museum of New Brunswick, NJ, not through outside support, but through its own efforts, so that it might remain a non-governmental entity.
The Diaszpóra Tanács also provides assistance to Hungarians who find themselves in a minority situation in the surrounding countries, and acts as a spokesman for their cause.
According to Hámos, there are an estimated milllion and a half Americans of Hungarian descent. For them, the Hungarian Birthright Program, under ReConnect Hungary, offers programs to get in touch with their roots.
Chief Consul Kumin spoke at length about the process to register and participate in the spring elections in Hungary. Those who have documentation of dual citizenship are eligible to do so.
Vince Máté of the Balassi Institute mentioned that he represents Hungarian culture for Americans, without really going into specifics.
Consul Szakács reminded his audience that 2018 has been declared Mátyás Király Év (Year of King Matthias). He was born 575 years ago, and was chosen king 560 years ago. Many events and programs have been planned throughout the country to commemorate his reign. Magyar News Online is also planning several articles on King Mátyás during the year.