Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi presided over the official inauguration of the new home of the Embassy of Hungary in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 21. The official ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception brought together numerous distinguished guests including members of President Trump’s White House team, Congressional leadership from the Hungarian-American Caucus, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and distinguished leaders of the Hungarian-American community.
Prior to the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Father László (Ladislaus) Őrsy, Reverend Judit Mayer, and Rabi Shaye Taub each delivered an invocation and blessed the new building.
Hungarian Ambassador Dr. Réka Szemerkényi subsequently invited guests inside for a series of brief speeches and proclaimed that “the history of the new home of the Embassy, this European Beaux-Arts architectural style building, is a symbolic connection that binds the United States of America and Hungary together.”
Speaking to over 150 guests, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó stressed that “the opening of a new Embassy building always means the start of something new, a new initiative,” adding that “We are closely monitoring developments in America and the decisions of President Donald Trump. Hungary is rooting for the President to be successful and to make America a safe and great place, because this will make the whole world a more secure and great place, too.”
Szijjártó, who was in Washington, DC as Hungary’s representative to the Global Meeting of the Ministers to Defeat ISIS, also stressed Hungary’s resolute commitment to the global fight against terrorism. Currently, Hungary is one of the twenty-seven countries that has deployed troops to Northern Iraq to serve shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in the fight against ISIS.
Speaking on behalf of members of the Hungarian-American Congressional Caucus, Representative Steve King (R-IA) recounted several recent visits to Hungary and the importance of maintaining close relations within the transatlantic and NATO community. Representative King added that in wake of the election of President Donald Trump he foresees a new chapter of improved relations between Hungary and the United States.
Jenő Megyesy, Special Advisor to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, called the move to the new building of the Embassy of Hungary the jettisoning of a Communist relic fitting of a country of over 1,000 years of history and culture.
Rick Johnston, Chair of the US-Hungary Business Council, spoke about about the strength of the two countries’ bilateral economic relations. Last year, the United States became Hungary’s largest non-EU investment partner. Over 1,700 US companies currently operate in Hungary providing 100,000 jobs to Hungarian workers.
Built in 1879 to the designs of architect John Fraser and comprehensively remodeled in 1912, the Victorian-style home of the Embassy was once the home of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone (1882-1889). Later, the building was acquired by Vice-President of the United States Levis Parsons Morton (1889-1895) and was in turn rented out to Massachusetts Senator Charles F. Sprague (1895-1903) and Secretary of War and State Elihu Root (1907-1911), whose tireless efforts on behalf of world peace earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912.
The previous Embassy building on Spring of Freedom/Shomaker Street will remain the home of the Hungary’s Consular Office.
To view a photo gallery of the event, please click HERE.