Annual ReConnect Hungary Alumni Weekend in Washington, D.C.
ReConnect Hungary Alumni gathered once again for the Second Annual Alumni Get-Together on November 22, 2014 at the Hungarian Ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C. Alumni from all three years (2012-2014) mingled with great enthusiasm and swapped stories and anecdotes from their respective trips.
The group toured the Capitol under the able guidance of David Bell, a congressional staffer and ReConnect Hungary 2013 alumnus. They visited the bust of Lajos Kossuth, Hungarian statesman, 1848 Freedom Fighter and Father of Hungarian Democracy, and learned about Kossuth's influences in America from Emese Latkóczy, Program Manager of ReConnect Hungary.
Following a quick peek at the Library of Congress, Anna Smith Lacey, Congressional Liaison at the Embassy of Hungary, accompanied the group to the headquarters of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, where Assistant Director David Talbot provided an insightful introduction to the mission of the foundation. The memorial itself is a sculpture of the "Goddess of Democracy," a bronze replica of the statue erected by Chinese students in Tienanmen Square, Beijing, China in the spring of 1989. The Memorial's front pedestal reads, "To the more than one hundred million victims of communism and to those who love liberty."
After the educational programs, Ambassador György Szapáry welcomed the alumni at his residence with Hungarian pálinka, freshly mulled hot wine, and a steaming cauldron of scrumptious gulyás soup prepared by Chef Szabolcs Somogyi. The buffet dinner that followed featured Hungarian culinary delights like Székely pork stew with bread dumplings, roast beef in game sauce, blue cheese-filled tomatoes, and an assortment of delicious salads and desserts, among other things.
Conversations with the Ambassador, Anna Smith Lacey and program supporter Anne Bader touched upon alumni impressions and favorite experiences from Hungary, discussions about a deeper exploration of their Hungarian identity, and next steps for alumni in promoting and supporting the program.