Co-founder of Doctors Without Borders Bernard Kouchner to speak at CEU's 21st Graduation Ceremony

June 11, 2012

Budapest, 7 June 2012— More than 600 Central European University students from more than 70 countries will receive their Master's or doctoral degrees this Thursday, June 14, at the University's 21st graduation ceremony. They join a body of more than 10,000 CEU alumni who are beginning to distinguish themselves as the next generation of leaders and scholars in this region and beyond. Humanitarian and co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World Bernard Koucher will deliver the commencement address.

During the ceremony, the President of the Open Society Foundations Aryeh Neier will be presented with the Central European University Open Society Prize for his many contributions to human rights. CEU President and Rector John Shattuck will give the laudatio and CEU Founder and Honorary Chairman George Soros will award the prize.

If you would like to attend the ceremony, please register in advance with Ildiko Rull, manager, Hungarian media relations: rulli@ceu.hu or 327-3800 or 06-30-2588-626.

Date:                Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time:                15:00-17:00

Place:               Vigszinhaz (Szent Istvan korut 14, Budapest 13th district )

Notes for Editors:

The Central European University Open Society Prize, to be awarded for the seventeenth time (past recipients have included Sir Karl Popper, Vaclav Havel, Arpad Goncz, Ricardo Lagos, Carla Del Ponte, Kofi A. Annan, Javier Solana, and Richard C. Holbrooke) will be given to Aryeh Neier, president, Open Society Foundations. The CEU Open Society Prize is given to an outstanding individual whose achievements have contributed substantially to the creation of an open society.

Aryeh Neier is president of the Open Society Foundations (OSF, 1993-). Prior to joining the OSF, he served for 12 years as executive director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder in 1978. Before that, he worked for 15 years at the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight years as national executive director. He served as an adjunct professor of law at New York University for more than a dozen years, and has also taught at Georgetown University Law School and the University of Siena (Italy). In the fall of 2012, he will serve as a distinguished visiting professor at the Paris School of International Affairs of Sciences Po. Neier is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and has published in periodicals such as the New York Times Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, and Foreign Policy. For a dozen years he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation. He has contributed more than 200 op-ed articles in newspapers and has authored seven books, including his most recent, The International Human Rights Movement: A History (2012), Neier has also contributed chapters to more than 20 books. He is the recipient of six honorary degrees and numerous.

Bernard Kouchner is a humanitarian/co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World, Former Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in France (2007-2010), twice Health Minister of France (1992–1993 and 1997-1999), Member of the European Parliament (1994-1997), the first UN special representative and head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK, 1999-2001). Kouchner is a long-time advocate of humanitarian intervention. In early 2003, he announced that he was in favor of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, arguing that interference against dictatorship should be a global priority. He worked as a physician for the Red Cross in Biafra in 1968 during the Nigerian Civil War, and consequently co-founded Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in 1971, and then Médecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) in 1980. He also worked as a humanitarian volunteer during the Siege of Naba’a refugee camp in Lebanon in East Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.