Annual Report, NAHC, 2016

NAHC has been following global issues in relations with Hungarian national interests worldwide and tries to help whenever it can. On the occasion of March 10th, the Szekler Independence Day, NAHC sent a letter, written in Hungarian and English, to the president of Szekler National Council, the European Parliament, and the president of the European Union expressing its solidarity with the cause of the Szekler autonomy, and also, took part in demonstrations to support the autonomy.

NAHC has also been organizing its events with the concept that these events reach the communities in Canada nationwide. One example is the program series titled A Bit of Transylvania by László Bálint, which featured book shows, video presentations depicting landscapes and arts of Transylvania to raise funds for the school at the village of Varság. The students of the KCSP program and members of performing arts have been performing in live shows featuring pieces of literature and poetry, which were presented at Hungarian organizations in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, and Cambridge.

Our memorable event was the book show and presentation titled Comrade Baron by Jaap Scholten, a Dutch author who is researching the Hungarian history, also.

NAHC started a series of theatre shows aimed to improve the programs at the Ottawa Hungarian Community Centre, and this initiative is now working well, and builds a bridge between the theatre life in the Carpathian basin and the Hungarians in diaspora.

The first show was György Derzsi’s My Love Sárdy by the members of the Lovas Theatre of Komárom, in October, 2015, followed by the show titled Lehár, in February 2016. Ferenc Karinthy’s Gellért Hill Dreams had its début in March 2016, featuring Lilla Tóth Szilvia, Örs Hunor Bálint, and Attila Létmányi, students of performing arts school at Marosvásárhely. Örs Hunor Bálint took this opportunity to have his photo exhibition. The latest show was Shirley Valentine directed by Cserje Zsuzsa featuring Éva Vándor in the main role.

NAHC sent an open letter to the Hungarian community in Canada calling them to participate in the referendum in Hungary, on October 2nd. This letter was also sent to members of the Hungarian government and the European Union.

All member organizations marked the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with appropriate celebrations. The Kalejdoszkóp magazine started its series of commemorative events with interviews and song lyrics of 1956 by Nóra Némethy, followed by the interview book by Rózsa Dancs titled Pass on the flame – lives of those who were forced into exile. Extra Hungariam, one of our affiliate organizations, produced a show called Spirit of Hungary by the Home Defence Folk Dance Ensemble, in Toronto. The concert tour by the band New Bojtorján in Ontario was our very successful program. In remembrance of 1956 and homage to Canada, the Hungarian Volunteer Artists in Canada (Huvac) organization held in exhibition at the consulate in Toronto. As a sign of cooperation and belonging, several representatives of NAHC took part in the 3-day-long conference in Edmonton organized by the Hungarian Cultural Council in Canada (HCCC) for the commemoration of 1956. The Montréal Week organized by the Hungarian Embassy was a big success. Part of this show featured a tour by the dance group Csillagszemű, which had performances in Toronto, at the Ottawa Hungarian Cultural Centre, at the Ottawa Museum of History, Edmonton as part of the HCCC’ program series. NAHC is grateful to HCCC for these memorable events and the support.

With our campaign of Flag of 56, we again wanted to mark the anniversary of 1956 as we felt that when the Canadian people can see the flags mounted on cars they will be reminded of the importance of the past 60 years. Our activity can be followed on our newsletter Hungarian Reporter available online.

NAHC responded to the statements by the Romanian ex-president Traian Bășescu addressed to the Orbán government, which he made unofficially but stirred a great controversy. NAHC sent the response, written in English and Hungarian, to the national governing organizations of Romania and Hungary, and the representatives of the Hungarian organizations in Transylvania. In its response, NAHC used historical evidence to make its claim that the Hungarian community have nothing to celebrate on the anniversary of the Romanian assembly at Gyulafehervár, on December 1, 1918. NAHC’ response was also published by MTI.

NAHC also makes sure that it includes the students of the Körösi Csoma Sándor program (KCSP) in its events. This gives NAHC the opportunity to express its appreciation to the Hungarian government for the KCSP, which successfully re-engages the Hungarian community in diaspora. The KCSP embraces the Hungarian culture everywhere in the world; hence, this program is with great value of national heritage.

In an effort to make personal connections with the Hungarian organizations and their members in Canada, the president of NAHC toured the country last year, and met the representatives and members of the Hungarian communities. In the spring, he visited Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, and Edmonton, met the leaders of the local Hungarian centres and discussed the challenges the community face to make further progress in their future endeavours. In September, he continued his tour in Winnipeg and Montreal. He made his reports available about these meetings during NAHC’s monthly meetings. We feel that this tour reinforced our aims outlined at the Diaspora Council Meeting last year to increase the feeling of community and belonging among our communities and to preserve the identity of the Hungarian people living in diaspora.