The Board and staff of the English-Speaking Union, with sorrow and sincere gratitude, remember the life and work of our beloved benefactor Dr. Andrew Romay, who passed away early this morning, February 10, 2017.
Dr. Andrew Romay survived incarceration in Mauthausen Concentration Camp and a Hungarian communist jail (Kistarcsa) before coming to the United States in 1956 as a refugee. After great success in the business sector in New York City, he turned to philanthropy and founded and funded a center for recent refugees, immigrants, and asylum-seekers. Remembering his own struggles as a newcomer in New York, when he searched for English classes, job advice, and any connection that might help him to build a new life, Andrew remained acutely aware of the similar struggles current new immigrants face and set out to give back to the society that welcomed him and to assist today's immigrants.
In 2012, Andrew founded the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) at the English-Speaking Union to assist new immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers in the New York metropolitan area to feel at home in the city, providing them with practical information, and giving them the chance to improve their English for college and better work prospects. ARNIC has welcomed more than 750 newcomers to the US, who receive year-long scholarships to attend daily English conversation practice, English classes, workshops, civic programs and cultural events in a welcoming gathering place for networking with American volunteers.
Refugee and survivor, economist and visionary humanitarian, Andrew Romay dedicated his American experience to helping those immigrants and refugees who seek community in their new country as he did. We will miss his enthusiasm, support, and dedication.
A graduate of the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center, Falonne Beljuby Billy Dembi from the Republic of Congo, recently said, "This is a brilliant idea to create this program to help new immigrants from all over the world. Dr. Romay planted these seeds in us, watered us, and today he can see the fruits of his labor! We are the fruits of this program that helps immigrants and refugees like me find friends, learn English, and feel more confident in our new country."
Andrew Romay's favorite project was the program that is named for him, the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), and he wanted it to be his legacy for many years to come. Please consider support for ARNIC today to honor Andrew Romay's memory and his wishes, donate here.
To learn more about ARNIC, click here.
Watch these videos describing heartfelt stories from immigrants who have been part of the ARNIC program at ESU in New York City.