H.E. Amb. András Simonyi
Managing Director, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins University; Former Hungarian Ambassador to the United States
Following his graduation from university, H.E. András Simonyi worked with many youth exchange programs in the State Committee for Youth, in the bureau of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), a a "frontline" organization speaking out against the imperialist practices of capitalist countries and of NATO, but with a special interest in forging ties between youth organizations of the East and the West, a result of detente, to span from nato to Eastern Bloc countries. This work brought him into contact with the American Council of Young Political Leaders. From 1984 to 1989 he worked for the Socialist Workers Party in Hungary in the foreign relations departments. From 1991 to 1992, he became Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in the Hague and in 1992 he became Deputy chief of mission (DCM) at the Mission of Hungary to the European Communities and NATO in Brussels until 1995.
From 1995 until 1999, he headed the Hungarian Liaison Office to NATO in Brussels where he was a key player in preparing Hungarian membership in NATO and was a member of the delegation to negotiate Hungary's accession to the Alliance. During this period he also initiated the stationing of U.S. troops in Hungary as part of NATO's IFOR-SFOR campaign in Bosnia. Headed PR efforts prior to the referendum on NATO. In 1999, he became the first Hungarian Permanent Representative on the NATO Council. He held this position until 2001, when he then ran his own consulting company, Danison Ltd. In 2002, he became Ambassador to the United States of America until 2007.
In 1970, he started his own band. He has expressed his opinion that Rock'n Roll was a key factor to loosening the tight totalitarian grip behind the iron curtain. His Washington based band the Coalition of the Willing has guitar great Jeff "Skunk" Baxter (formerly Steely Dan and Doobie Bros.)on guitar, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Poneman on guitar, Ambassador Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow on drums, and Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield on bass.