Canada Hungary Educational Foundation’s 2008 AGM
The Canada Hungary Educational Foundation (CHEF) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 1 December 2008 in Ottawa. President Judy Young-Drache, Vice-President Gábor Csepregi, directors Catherine Bélanger and Mark Curfoot-Mollington, as well as CHEF’s secretary, Christopher Adam, were all re-elected to serve an additional one-year term on the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
The AGM served as an opportunity to discuss CHEF’s activities in 2008, which had proved to be a busy year for the Foundation. One of the highlights of the year was CHEF’s participation in the Governor General’s State Visit to Hungary where, among other projects, she unveiled a memorial in recognition of the contributions to Canada of Hungarian refugees. CHEF had contributed half the costs of this memorial. While the on-going development of the HungarianPresence.ca website remains the Foundation’s primary project, CHEF also organized a handful of events and launched several initiatives. The official “launch” of the website took place in March 2008 at a concert of the Ottawa Youth Orchestra (OYO) at the National Arts Centre, after the OYO’s successful tour of Hungary to which CHEF contributed through a grant. The site was also promoted at the annual conference of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada in Vancouver in May 2008. In keeping with its educational mandate, CHEF launched a national essay competition at both the high school and university levels, in which students were invited to submit their written work, as well as videos, exploring issues of multiculturalism, ethnicity and identity in Canada. Entries received are to be reviewed by a three-member jury and results announced in February 2009.
During May CHEF cooperated with a number of universities and helped make connections for and promote public lectures and discussions by a number of well-known scholars from Hungary in various Canadian academic institutions. A group of young high school students from Hungary were assisted in their bicycle tour of Ontario and Quebec. In September 2008, CHEF invited two talented young artists from Hungary--graphic artist Kornél Nágel and performer Miklós Turek—to present the life and work of prominent 20th century Hungarian poet Miklós Radnóti to audiences in Toronto and Ottawa. And in November CHEF cooperated with the Embassy of Hungary and the Ottawa Holocaust Education Committee in a public screening of a new documentary about a little known action by Captain Ocskay during WWII which helped save 2000 Jews in Budapest in 1944.
During the AGM, the Board of Directors discussed plans to expand the Foundation’s ties with educational institutions in Canada and Hungary. At the centre of this effort is the development of a new partnership with the Balassi Intézet in Budapest. CHEF has signed an agreement with the Balassi Institute, which would allow for greater cooperation between the two organizations, as well as an exchange of information on educational programs, grants, scholarships and internships available for students in both Canada and Hungary.
CHEF looks forward to another busy year in 2009, in which the Foundation will announce the winners of the essay competition, examine the possibility of launching grants or apprenticeships, develop new ties between Canada and Hungary and further expand the wealth of information available on the HungarianPresence.ca website.