Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány        Amerikai Magyar Klub

Pro Ecclesia Hungariae - In Honor of Hungary




From the left: Dr. Zoltán Lomnici, Frank Koszorus, Héjj Tibor, Forum host  (Jules) Gyula Balogh,

and André Goodfriend US Embassy Charge d'Affairs.

The Budapest FORUM to improve US-Hungary relations 11/26/2014.

The FORUM was sponsored by the American Hungarian Federation,

and held under the auspices of its  sister foundation in Hungary

the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány (


The Forum was the first of a series to be held to restore the excellent relations that the United States had with Hungary for many years, but which had been deteriorating since the leftist government, which the U.S. government favored, was ousted in 2010. This first of a kind FORUM brought together parties that have differing views on the political landscape of Hungary and bilateral relations  between the two natural allies.  The purpose of the Forum was to candidly exchange ideas and come to an understanding of these various perspectives. 


The participants included  the U.S. Charge d'  Affaires André Goodfriend,   Dr. Lomnici Zoltán, Jr., the spokesperson of the Civil Összefogás Forum ( CÖF), American Hungarian Federation President Frank Koszorus, Jr., Mr. Héjj Tibor President of Proactive Management Consulting, and Mr. (Jules) Gyula Balogh President of the Amerikaiak a Magyarokért Alapítvány.  All of the participants had experience working or being educated in the United States.


The FORUM followed a very moving Thanksgiving celebration where Americans, Hungarians and American Hungarians gave thanks for what they had received over the past year and shared the  wonderful feelings they had for America. 


The FORUM started with observations by the participants of what was good about America and Hungary, as viewed by  both sides. America was noted for its acceptance of foreigners and the rule of law by the Hungarians, and Hungary was noted for its friendliness to foreigners and its fights for freedom and democracy. Dr. Lomnici described his wonderful 6 years  in the U.S.  at the NIH where he had a grant to study issues relating to tobacco. Mr. Hejj  described his obtaining his MBA in the U.S. where he went with his family and 4 children. He experienced the hospitality of the people and friendships with professors, the educational system, the honesty of the students, even the wonderful nursery for his children. He also talked about how friendly and accepting the students were to a youth who was disabled. Mr. Koszorus spoke about the freedoms and opportunities provided to all in the U.S. to succeed, and the tremendous benefits citizenship provides. Mr. Balogh spoke about coming to the U.S. at age 7 and how his mother said that you must always keep your Hungarian heart, but you are now an American.  He mentioned the good things about the U.S. are the friendliness of the people and the willingness to help other people and the entrepreneurial spirit of the past. He also said that Hungary is a magical land, like Disneyworld, charming with wonderful people and a beautiful countryside.  Mr. Goodfriend said that the U.S. and Hungary had many  things in common. The U.S. has accepted people from  diverse lands and that acceptance is one of the great strengths of America. Hungary in the past has also been very accepting of other peoples.


The FORUM then moved to a discussion of the concerns  that Hungarians and American Hungarians had with the U.S. government’s approach to Hungary and the issues the U.S. government had with Hungary.  Mr. Koszorus, who also represented the Federation at the Hungarian Diaspora Committee meeting earlier that week, read a moving letter from an apolitical professor in Hungary  who is a friend of the United States but who reiterated the perception that the U.S. was demeaning and humiliating the Hungarian people with its overwhelming and public criticism, much of which was overstated or lacked proof.  


Dr. Lomnici  said he did not want to ruin the wonderful Thanksgiving atmosphere, so he politely described some of the problems in the U.S., such as discrimination against blacks  and corruption, implying that the  U.S. may not have much standing to criticize others. He also mentioned that the U.S. did not help Hungary in 1956 and that was a sore point among Hungarians.


Mr. Héjj,  among other things, mentioned that Hungary has been historically surrounded by conflict from other countries and that Hungarians often have had to fend for themselves, such as in 1956. They  therefore  are very sensitive about their sovereignty. He said that Americans need to understand this when they involve themselves in the internal workings of Hungary.


Mr. Balogh put forth the question of why the U.S. only criticizes conservative governments. Mr. Goodfriend had many good things to say about Hungary, such as that the people are friendly and that  it is a democracy. He   also indicated that he had an  issue with the formulation of the latter question, since he felt that the U.S. approach was not criticism of one party but a dialogue about what the embassy observed in Hungary.


The final question asked how to solve the issues between the two countries. There was agreement that enhanced exchange programs highlighting both cultures, student exchange programs, cooperation in research, improved trade,  taking sensitive discussions behind closed doors, and both governments being proactive on improving relations would go a long way to removing the strain between the U.S. and Hungary.