Lantos Foundation Announces Inauguration of New Human Rights Institute in Budapest

Concord, NH -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her predecessor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, will headline ceremonies June 30 at the Országház, the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, inaugurating the new Tom Lantos Institute, Lantos Foundation President Katrina Lantos Swett announced.

The rare joint appearance, where both women are scheduled to address an audience of Hungarian and American dignitaries, highlights the new institute’s importance both to the trans-Atlantic relationship as well as to Hungary’s regional role as a leader in the field of democracy and human rights.  “This represents an important commitment on the part of the Hungarian government to advance human rights, protect minority rights, promote tolerance and strengthen trans-Atlantic relations,” Lantos Swett said.  The Tom Lantos Institute will serve as a home for such projects as researching minority inclusion and developing proposed policies, gauging the effectiveness of various assistance organizations and developing means to defend those who champion human rights.

The Institute is named for Lantos Swett’s father, former Congressman Tom Lantos, who served in Congress from 1981 until his death in 2008.  Born in Budapest, he was the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress where he was known as one of its greatest advocates for democracy and human rights. Congressman Lantos was the co-founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and also served as Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. He gained the admiration of both sides of the political aisle and on both sides of the Atlantic for his active and unwavering leadership on behalf of human rights.

The inaugural ceremonies will culminate a week of activities including an International Human Rights conference sponsored by the International Center for Democratic Transition, the Tom Lantos Institute and the Hungarian Government.  There will also be the unveiling a statue of the late US President Ronald Reagan, who Hungarians honor for his leadership in hastening the end of communism. This will be followed by a gala “Freedom Dinner” commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hungary’s freedom from tyranny.