Embassy of Hungary
The first Reconnect Hungary Alumni Dinner, held on November 16, 2013 in Washington, DC, was a great success, both among participating 2012 and 2013 alumni and supporters of the program present.
The weekend get-together started with a guided tour of the Capitol, where the group visited the bust of Lajos Kossuth, Hungarian statesman, Freedom Fighter (1848-49) and Father of Hungarian Democracy, and learned some interesting facts from László Hámos, Program Director of ReConnect Hungary, about Kossuth's influences in America.
After the Capitol tour, Anna Smith Lacey, Congressional Liaison at the Embassy of Hungary, gave us a quick overview of Hungarian-American Representatives and the Hungarian Caucus within U.S. Congress, emphasizing the importance of young Hungarian-Americans' involvement in political and social organizations.
After visiting the Kossuth House in Dupont Circle, the alumni received a warm welcome at the residence of the Ambassador of Hungary, where award-winning chef Viktor Merényi shared some of his secrets about preparing galuska (noodles) and uborka saláta (cucumber salad).
Later in the evening, Anna Smith Lacey and Péter Kalotai, Deputy Chief of Mission, led the group on a tour of the residence, after which everyone enjoyed a veritable feast of the most sumptuous Hungarian culinary treasures.
The dinner was followed by pleasant conversations about alumni impressions and favorite experiences from their trip to Hungary, as well as discussions about their further involvement with Hungarian communities and a deeper exploration of their Hungarian identity.
Supporters, such as Imre Hild, encouraged developing Hungarian-American business ventures, while Ádám Lipták and Mitchell Horan emphasized the impact our birthright program can have on second- and third-generation Hungarian-Americans.
At the end of the night, a working version of a promotional video about ReConnect Hungary was met with great enthusiasm by the participants, and Anna's send-off words, inspired by János Horváth, the eldest member of the Hungarian Parliament, were taken to heart by everyone:
"I am a better American because I am Hungarian, and I am a better Hungarian because I am American."