The power of second-generation diaspora: Hungarian ethnic lobbying in the United States in the 1970–1980s

In: Diaspora Studies
Eszter Kovács Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Minority Studies, Budapest, Hungary

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Hungarian ethnic lobby is traditionally not listed among influential interest groups in the United States, however, 1987 marks a grand exception in this regard. In 1987, the efforts of the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation (HHRF) contributed to a large extent to the suspension of Romania’s Most Favoured Nation Status in the American Congress. The HHRF based its lobby strategy entirely on normative grounds: the human and minority rights violations of the Ceausescu system, which heavily deteriorated the conditions and endangered the survival of the Hungarian community living in Romania. This paper analyses the lobbying tactics of the HHRF in the 1970–1980s, which proved to be the most successful period of Hungarian lobby efforts in the United States ever. This paper argues that the fact that the members of the HHRF were second-generation Hungarian Americans was crucial in the organization’s ability to effectively lobby in the American Congress.

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