Helen Fogarassy is an internationalist writer by birth and experience. She was born in Hungary, raised in the American Midwest and has been a New Yorker all her adult life.
Fogarassy’s work ranges from fiction to nonfiction, educational, political, promotional and commercial material. From early career, she has worked as an independent contractor with notable institutions and entities. She was privileged to observe without getting caught in the dynamics of complex organizations. Her clients have included The Trump Organization, The Mahler Institute led by child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler, the bureaucracy-heavy US Census Bureau and the uber-bureaucratic United Nations.
An ardent citizen of both the US and New York, Fogarassy has served as a juror on numerous panels ranging from local to Federal Grand Jury, a commitment that ran for a year and a half. While she prefers to communicate in writing, she was soap-box public speaker for the 1992 Clinton campaign. She has taken part in advocacy for the NY Public Library, the LI Pine Barrens Society and the Dinkins outreach project to integrate citizen views. into government.
Fogarassy’s pivotal assignment was to find recruitment as a creative writer for the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) during the 1994 Intervention. As Editor-in-Chief of the UNOSOM Weekly aimed at the local audience, Embassies around the world and UN Headquarters in New York, she learned to navigate the treacherous pathways of messaging across personal, social and global divides.
Her work reflects the breadth of her experience. Light of a Destiny Dark is a novel based on her mother’s memoir about life in Hungary under the Communist Regime. The Midas Maze is a comical novel about the vast UN bureaucracy. Mix Bender is a fun work set in the Caribbean.
Mission Improbable: the world community on a UN compound in Somalia, is an account of Fogarassy’s experience in Somalia. a truly remarkable feat. The News Center of UNOSOM operated out of an enclosed compound. Reporters were former US informants allied with clans. The aim was to establish a government for a country in anarchy after collapse of a dictator installed as colonialism ended across 1960’s Africa.
The mission in Somalia was monumental. It began when famine hit and global media brought starving children to world attention. The mission was formed as a joint effort between the US and UN, which included US allies. The mission accomplished a lot of good. It failed because of institutional pitfalls still in need of upgrade. In a global world, the challenge is to integrate individuals into institutional structures. No small feat..
In all her writing, Fogarassy aims to bridge the vast terrain between academic and everyday experience. In her view, there is no need to be a scholar to pursue intellectual interests. Curiosity, research and fact check are all that is needed to go from an idea to a published article in a local paper or on the web.
Similarly, scholars don’t need to remain obscure ivory towers icons. They too can research and fact check to find an audience that will give them relevance.
In a global world, the challenge is to include little people as an integral part of adaptations required by commerce, environment and demand for equity. The key is to create communication channels that are two-way highways between local and global.
Internationalism promotes such communication by encouraging national identities to emerge as individuals alongside near-200 other nations. At the heart of that drive is the presumption based on experience that all people are wired the same. Personal and cultural differences vary broadly, but joys and sorrows register the same in all and all agree on which feels better.