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Remarks & Statements

Remarks by Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis at the Hungarian Food Bank Active Citizenship Award Ceremony

January 31, 2013
Ambassador Kounalakis with Peter Kramer, who holds the Award (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)

Ambassador Kounalakis presents the Active Citizenship Award to Peter Kramer, Vice President of the Hungarian Food Bank (Embassy photo by Attila Németh)

- as delivered -

Even though it is such a sunny day, it’s kind of a cold day. And on cold days most of us wonder, what are people doing who don’t have a warm home and lots of food on the shelves? And that’s part of the reason why the work that you do here is so very important. First I want to thank you for inviting me down, especially Andrea Lovász for the invitation to come.

I am here to award the Food Bank with what we call the Ambassador’s Award for Active Citizenship. It’s part of our [American] society to volunteer and to help others. People who do this are held up high in our society as the best of our people.

Many of you know that President Obama was a community organizer after he graduated from college. He had a diploma, he had his whole life ahead of him, and what he knew was [that] the most important thing that he could do before anything else is go in and help people who needed help. And so it’s no surprise to us that one day a person like that could be the President of the United States.

Secretary Clinton, as she travels around the world, talks a great deal about hunger. And this is what she says: “Hunger is a drain on economic development, a threat to global security, a barrier to health and education reform and a trap for millions of people worldwide.” I learned about the work that you do here and had the opportunity to meet some of the strongest supporters and I was so impressed with the commitment to taking on this great challenge here in Hungary.

I would like to commend Mr. Balázs Cseh and his colleagues and friends, schoolmates, who I understand turned the idea of a food bank into reality. I saw that Balázs was in Metropol talking about the important work and, especially, how important it is to get young people involved. The programs you run, the work that you do are making a real difference in your society. And I know that your friends, and your family and your community thank you for it; they acknowledge your work as important. I came down here on behalf of the United States to also acknowledge how important this work is. And so with no further ado I would very much like to confer the Ambassador’s Active Citizenship Award to the Hungarian Food Bank Association.