Philanthropist George Soros says ‘goodbye’ to Budapest « Khabarhub
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Philanthropist George Soros says ‘goodbye’ to Budapest

28 November 2019  

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BUDAPEST: The establishment of the Central European University (CEU) after the fall of the Berlin Wall to educate eastern Europe’s next generation of leaders is one of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ greatest legacies.

Last week, he was in Vienna to open the university he established. The university had been based in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, for almost three decades.

The CEU ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in the social sciences and humanities.

However, it has now been pushed into exile after Budapest-born Soros became a target of the Viktor Orban’s nationalist government during the 2015 migrant crisis.

Soros was once Orban’s supporter. However, 30 years on, Hungary’s Prime Minister has proved to be a disappointment to his early cheerleaders now.

In pushing out the university, the Prime Minister has caused what CEU president Michael Ignatieff described as a ‘massive and forced movement of population in an EU country’.

Vienna, which is the birthplace of Karl Popper, a philosopher to inspire Soros with his “Open Society” concept. It is the name of the global foundation of Soros.

Ignatieff says the fact that the CEU has been pushed out ‘on the political whim of a leader’ is surely an ‘object lesson’ in the way the world has been working now.

The majority of courses will have moved to Vienna by the next semester, however, the university plans to keep the recently re-modeled Budapest site.

Ignatieff opines that the lack of support has sent a message to world leaders who are hostile to the values of inquiry and openness.

At the ceremony, Soros said CEU has consistently defended the principles of academic freedom against a concerted attack by the ‘corrupt’ government of Orban. He no longer feels safe to visit the city where he was born.

Soros, meanwhile, announced a new €750m investment to cement CEU’s place as what he called a ‘core member’ of a network of like-minded higher education institutes. (Agencies)

Publish Date : 28 November 2019 19:29 PM

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