wiiw supports Central European University in its fight for independence

03 April 2017

The Hungarian government proposed legislation that is directed against CEU because it stands for freedom of thought, liberal values, and internationalism. Now the CEU needs our solidarity.

The Central European University (CEU), a highly recognized graduate school in Budapest with degrees and research in the social sciences, the humanities, law and management is under threat. Since its inception, first in Prague and then in Budapest it was a vital institution for the training of many students and providing research excellence in a region which suffered from the economic and social crises of transition. Now Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, concerned about ‘foreign influence’ has proposed amendments to Hungary’s law on higher education that would make it impossible for CEU to continue its operations in Budapest.

The amendments would effectively abolish the freedom of the CEU. The bill would prohibit CEU from operating under its present name as-is, unless its changes the name of its Hungarian entity; require CEU to open a campus in the state of New York; impose work permit vetting by the Hungarian government on non-EU faculty and prevent CEU from issuing US degrees to its students through its Hungarian entity even though Hungary and the US are both OECD members.

CEU has an excellent international reputation and is extremely important not just for Hungarian, but – because of its many academic linkages – also for European academic life. wiiw researchers had many important collaborations with CEU staff. Fortunately, resistance is forming against this attack on the entire scientific community. There was a peaceful protest march of as many as 10.000 supporters on April 2nd in Budapest; academic institutions in Hungary and scientists all around the world are expressing their support. Over 1,000 cognitive scientists, including 2 Nobel Laureates, have signed a letter to Hungarian authorities calling on the government to withdraw the proposed legislation and maintain academic freedom and scientific excellence.

On Twitter, the hashtag #IstandwithCEU is spreading quickly. Several petitions and open letters have been set up.

Please sign the petition below!