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2015 Presenters


#Hunnovators in Silicon Valley: best Hungarian startups and innovation projects Presented by Dr. György Tilesch and Neumann Society

Dr. György (George) Tilesch is a Hungarian-American Tri-Sector leader and Transatlantic Renaissance Man. Born and raised in Hungary, George is a lawyer and diplomat by training, who did his postgraduate studies in France. Fulfilling senior roles at the European Commission, Fleishman Hillard and Microsoft, he created solutions at the often labyrinthine intersection of the public, private and social sectors for most of his professional life. With a career spanning the globe, his focus areas of expertise are tech/innovation, strategic communications, business development and international affairs. Currently he is the worldwide Senior Director of Strategic Programs and heading the innovation function for San Francisco-based social enterprise TechSoup Global, the world's largest social sector network and resource platform, currently operating in 120 countries and serving 650.000 NGOs. George is the Co-Founder, President and Chairman of the Board of Neumann Society, a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit transatlantic innovation community, empowering and convening nextgen Hungarian innovators and hungarophiles. The Society's first annual #Hunnovators gathering has been a tremendous success: it gave birth the a core community of 150 spirited innovators, with many hundreds watching online and thousands of supporters on social media. (www.neumannsociety.org)

George is very happily married and lives in Foster City with his psychiatrist wife Ritu who speaks Hungarian with a funny accent. He really appreciates the effort though.

Neumann Society is a charitable nonprofit organization set out to create and connect impactful innovation communities. We promote the advancement of socially responsible innovation in the fields of education, science, technology and entrepreneurship. Today, we are a group of Hungary-affiliated accomplished professionals, building an innovation community in Silicon Valley. Our aim is to create and to augment innovation cooperation and knowledge transfer in fields such as education, entrepreneurship, scientific and social innovation collaboration and thought exchange within the American-Hungarian community and between Hungary and the US. Tomorrow, with a growing set of partners and members we shall be a transatlantic community of game-changing, mission-driven innovators from all disciplines who together shape our future.

Celebrating Hungarian Wine in the Unites States Presented by Eric Danch - Blue Danube Wine Co.

Blue Danube Wine Company was founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Frank Dietrich and Zsuzsanna Molnar in order to travel to Central and Eastern Europe and bring its unique wine cultures back to the US market. Focusing on indigenous grapes, traditional winemaking, and building meaningful long term relationships are the means to this end. With Hungarian blood on his father’s side, Eric Danch became enamored with the story, culture, and community of Hungarian wine in particular. He joined Blue Danube Wine Company in 2011 and visits Hungary as often as possible.

Eric Danch moved to San Francisco in 2005 after two years of living in Europe (Copenhagen & Rome) and found a job at Teatro Zinzanni, a 3-hour European cabaret meets Vaudevillian circus. Working with mostly Central Europeans and having Hungarian blood himself, he became reacquainted with the wine, food and people of Hungary. After 6 years he left the circus to start an internship with Crushpad, a pioneering San Francisco Custom Crush Winery that made over 700 small lot wines for people all over the world. In 2010, Eric worked harvest for a small Berkeley winery called “A Donkey and Goat,” and did everything from grape to bottle including making his own barrel. D&G was named one of the Top 5 Winemakers to Watch in 2011 by the SF Chronicle. Deciding to merge his love of Hungary and winemaking, he joined Blue Danube in the Spring of 2011.

Interesting Facts About the Hungarian Language Presented by Dr. Gergely Tóth

Dr. Gergely Tóth, board member and formerly secretary of the Hungarian Heritage Foundation of San Francisco, is currently lecturer at the University of Utah, prior to which he studied and taught at UC Berkeley. He has broad knowledge on the history of Hungarian immigration in the US and elsewhere, especially in the area of visible markers of Hungarian presence in the world (you can see his photos at his site www.magyarnegyed.com), life stories based on oral history interviews, as well as the printed heritage of the diaspora (books, newspapers, bulletins etc.). He has published articles in several Hungarian newspapers around the world, taught as a volunteer at the Hungarian Summer School in Fillmore, NY, and also serves as the Hungarian-American correspondent of the Sydney Hungarian radio program.

Discusses of Past / Present Tanchaz Status Presented by Todd Wagner

Todd started folk dancing in 1974 while a grad student at Stanford. He started Hungarian folk dancing in the late 70s and began teaching it in the mid-80s. He has been to Hungary over 40 times and lives in Budapest for about 3 months every year, half in spring and half in fall. He also attends both of the Hungarian dance and music camps in the US every summer. Folk dances of Hungary and Transylvania, the class he teaches with his wife Sarah Tull in Menlo Park, has been meeting for nearly 25 years.

Hungarian Folk Instruments Presented by Zina Bozzay - Folk Singer

Zina Bozzay will give a brief lecture on the origins of these beautiful Hungarian folk songs, describe how Hungarian folk music is thriving in many forms in Budapest today, play some examples of the music, and share other interesting points about Hungarian cultural heritage.  She will also teach a sweet and easy-to-learn springtime song which is quite popular, so everyone can enjoy singing together!

Hungarian Heritage Festival

Hungarian Heritage Festival strives to keep the Hungarian culture alive in San Francisco Bay Area.