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Week in the Life of the Hungarian Diaspora: Semmelweis Statue, Hungarian Language Course and Annual Balls

Fanni Kaszás 2019.02.15.

In our recurring Week in the life of the Hungarian Diaspora series, we’ll be looking back at recent events and exploring the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program’s many success stories.

The Kőrösi program helps ethnic communities retain their national identity and strengthens the ties between Hungary and Hungarian communities worldwide by offering Hungarian language courses and providing access to cultural activities with the help of Kőrösi scholarship holders.

Semmelweis statue unveiling in Toronto

In the framework of the Semmelweis Memorial Year, the statue of Ignác Semmelweis, a world-renowned Hungarian physician, was unveiled on 6 February 2019, in front of the maternity department of Mount Siani Hospital in Toronto. The event was organized by the Toronto Consulate General and in addition to the management of the hospital, faculty members from the University of Toronto also participated. The bronze Semmelweis statue is the work of Botond Polgár. Consul General Valér Palkovits spoke at the opening ceremony, highlighting that on the occasion of the memorial year, the Semmelweis Memorial Committee was also formed at the initiative of László Rosivall. Semmelweis’ sculptures of talented Hungarian sculptors are exhibited in 14 countries around the world. At the event, Dr. Péter Forbáth shared Semmelweis’ professional merits with the international audience.

48th Zurich Hungarian Ball

The Hungarian Ball – one of the biggest annual events in the lives of Zurich Hungarians – was held on February 2. Aside from the Hungarian House Day in Switzerland, this event has traditionally attracted the most participants. This year, nearly 300 Hungarians living in and around Zurich attended. The ball was held in the Swissôtel’s elegant great hall. László Szennyessy, the head of the Swiss Hungarian House Foundation and the consul of the Embassy of Hungary in Berne, welcomed the guests. Following the dance of the debutantes, the Óperencás Folk Dance Ensemble (accompanied by the Turai Banda) entertained the guests with Hungarian folk dances from Válaszút and Magyarlapád. After dinner, the main guest of the evening, Attila Pataky, singer of the Hungarian band Edda, performed several of his well-known songs.

Regös Dancers at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

On 2 February, the long-standing cooperation between the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität’s Department of Finno-Ugric Studies in Munich and the Regös Hungarian Folk Dance Ensemble continued at the department’s opening day program. In her lecture, Mária Kelemen explored Hungarian poetry, art and linguistics and detailed Hungary’s many historical and scientific successes. She also paid special attention to Hungarian gastronomy. The Regös Hungarian Folk Dance Ensemble continued the program until Anikó Dodony’s presentation. Dodony explained the history of the dance house movement and discussed why and how it became successful in Hungary. Afterward, the dancers introduced traditional folk costumes and performed the dances of Szék and Magyarpalatka. Participants were invited to try the Moldavian dances.

Hungarian language course in Wallingford

Every two weeks, Hungarian language courses for children are held at a Kindergarten in Wallingford. Here, children between the ages of three and 17 can develop and practice their Hungarian language skills. Until now, the school hadn’t offered adult language courses. However, following a needs assessment and much planning, the first beginner Hungarian course for adults began on Sunday, February 10, at the Wallingford Hungarian Club. The lessons will be held every two weeks. Provided video material will help participants learn and practice the language at home. Until the summer holiday, intensive language courses (8 days/16 hours) are available for those over 20 years of age. Eight people attended the first class, but more are expected to join in the next session.

Valentine’s Day Ball at Niagara Falls

A Valentine’s Day Ball with Hungarian cuisine and music was held over the weekend for Hungarians living in the Niagara Peninsula. Due to great interest, the event was only accessible for registered guests. Some of the event’s over two hundred participants came from Burlington, Toronto and London. Cinthya Konopka welcomed the guests with a violin performance and during the evening, the István Nagy Hangulat Orchestra entertained them. Consul General Dr. Péter Attila Laky-Takács also attended the event. Several KCSP scholarship holders visited Niagra Falls, including those from Windsor and Toronto.