About Us

The Foundation consists of three important groups working together to meet our goals.  

Our volunteer board of directors in Toronto sets the direction and programs of the Foundation and forms small committees to oversee our various activities.  

Our donors are comprised of individuals and corporations from across Canada, the United States and Europe who provide the financial basis to allow us to operate.

Our many volunteers assist in the organization, operation and execution of our projects, they consist of a wide range of community activists, friends of the organization, past participants of the program as well as those who simply believe that through education we can create leaders for the future and make the world a better place.

We are very grateful for the members of each of these groups as without any one of them we would not be able to widen the horizons and change the lives of so many young people from around the world.

Goals

  • To educate and enlighten Canadians regarding the history and culture of Hungary and the history of Hungarian immigration to and settlement in Canada. (See list of publications)
  • To support students studying Hungarian language, literature, history and culture through scholarships.
  • To promote Canadian values of multiculturalism and tolerance through a Scholarship exchange program– Students Without Boundaries – for students from across Canada, the United States and European countries.

Awards

The Students Without Boundaries Programme won the first Charlemagne Youth Prize from the European Parliament in 2008 for its outstanding work in expressing the ideals of European identity and integration.  The program won the jury’s unanimous support as the best youth-oriented program among more than 400 organizations that submitted entries.  Moreover, the program was lauded for creating a long-term network of support for the students from different countries through the ongoing Rákoczi Family Circle. The Rákoczi Foundation promotes the Canadian values and ideals of multiculturalism and tolerance through the Students Without Boundaries programme.

Students Without Boundaries has received many other distinguished honors. In July 2010, the program was awarded the József Antall Award by the Corvinus University.  In November of 2012, the founders of the Students Without Boundaries programme, Béla Aykler and Susan Papp-Aykler, were awarded the George Washington Award by the American Hungarian Foundation in New York City for their on-going work to promote Hungarian causes and the support of Hungarian students around the world. 

Our Namesake

Ferenc Rákoczi II (1673-1735) led an uprising against the autocratic rule of the Habsburgs that lasted from 1703-1711. It was guerrilla warfare against the military might of a great European power, the Habsburg Empire, and it continued for seven years due to the sheer endurance of Ferenc Rákoczi II and his devoted soldiers, many of them joining from the ranks of the peasantry. To this day, Ferenc Rákoczi II is one of “the most loved and pure and noble figures in Hungarian history.” When the uprising was finally crushed, he went into exile with his entourage and spent the last twelve years of his life in Turkey. To this day, he is remembered as a cosmopolitan, a European with an unshakable love of his country. Ferenc Rákoczi was one of the first members of the aristocracy who devoted his life to improving the lives of the peasantry and serfs. He was the first aristocrat to bring together the nationalities in the Carpathian Basin.

For further reading, see Paul Lendvai, “Ferenc Rákoczi’s Fight for Freedom from the Habsburgs,” The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003, p. 145-159.

II. Rákóczi Ferenc

Our History

Founded in 1953, The Rákóczi Association was established as an organization dedicated to maintaining Hungarian cultural traditions in Canada and helping Hungarian-Canadians establish roots in their adopted homeland.  In 1976, after an official name change, the Association became the Rákóczi Foundation. The Foundation turned its focus to education, first, by exposing Canadians to Hungarian culture and history and the impact of Hungarian immigrants on the development of Canada; and second, by helping students in their pursuit of Hungarian language, culture and history education.  The Foundation is a pillar of the community in its commitment to students through scholarship programs and grants, support of conferences at the University of Toronto and publications.

1953
1976
1994
2002
2003
2004
2007
2008
2010
2011
2013
2018

1953

The Rákóczi Association is established in Canada.

The Association stated as its main goal the nurturing and retaining Hungarian culture in Canada. The founder, and first president, was Miklós Korponay, who stated the goal of this charitable organization was to represent the cultural requirements of the Canadian-Hungarians and preserve a friendly equilibrium and cooperation between organizations. The agreement of cooperation was signed by 168 separate organizations worldwide, including the historical churches, but mainly in the United States and Canada, where it is still in effect.

1976

The Rákóczi Foundation of Canada is established.

In 1976, after a change in name, the Rákóczi Association of Canada becomes the Rákóczi Foundation of Canada. Since then, the primary goal of the Foundation has been “the preservation of Hungarian identity, worldwide, in young people of Hungarian heritage” by providing assistance for students. The Foundation facilitates interest in, and the study of, Hungarian culture by providing scholarships, grants and organizing university conferences for students.

1994

The Rákóczi Foundation of Canada organizes the first rotating, mobile camp in Hungary.

The idea for the camp came from Susan Papp-Aykler of Canada who, visiting Transcarpathia with her husband, Bill, noted that very few of the children living there had an opportunity to visit Budapest. To give them a chance to see some of Hungary, and to meet others in the same situation, the first Students Without Boundaries camp was organized for young people from all over the Carpathian Basin.

2002

The Rákóczi Ferenc II. Foundation is founded for the youth of the Carpathian Basin.

The Foundation, headquartered in Budapest, began its activities through the volunteer efforts of those who have attended previous camps. The Rákóczi Foundation continued to organize the camps.

2003

The Students Without Boundaries camp celebrates its 10 th anniversary.

2004

The Foundation initiates a hot lunch program in Gyergyószentmiklós [Gheorgheni, Ro.]

At the recommendation of Transylvanian contacts, a school lunch program was started for 10 needy students. The program, supported by the Foundation, continued to this day.

2007

Susan Papp-Aykler and Bill Aykler receive the For Hungarian Youth award.

The board of the Foundation for Hungarian Youth Without Boundaries created the For Hungarian Youth award for the recognition of the exemplary work of associations, organizations and persons, which define a European identity and express the concept of European integration, and work toward that goal.

2008

The Students Without Boundaries camp awarded the first Charlemagne Award.

The Rákóczi Ferenc II. Foundation received a prestigious award on April 29, 2008. The Charlemagne Award (Youth Division), announced by the European Union parliament, can be awarded to EU member countries, which espouse the aim of European integration and actively work toward that goal.

Through the two-step selection process, the Students Without Boundaries program garnered the unanimous votes of both the national and EU juries. This program was deemed to be the most deserving out of 400 organizations. In its evaluation, the jury emphasized that the camp embodies the ideal of a Europe free of discrimination where every citizen is equal regardless of which member state they live in.

They deemed it a a special merit that participants from Serbia and Ukraine were able to participate, and thus draw closer the relationship between the EU and these countries.

2010

Rákóczi Ferenc II. Foundation is awarded the Antall Award.

The Antall Award recognizes the efforts of those individuals whose works have served, and continue to serve, the cause of the rising of the nation. In 2010, the Center for Education awarded the award to the president of the Foundation, Susan Papp-Aykler.

2011

School hot lunch program in Transcarpathia.

At the suggestion of contacts in Transcarpathia, the Foundation began a school lunch program in Ungvár [Uzhhorod, Ukr.]

2013

The Students Without Boundaries camp celebrates its 20 th anniversary.

2018

2018: The Students Without Boundaries camp celebrates its 25 th anniversary.