CEU Names EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva Winner of 2014 CEU Open Society Prize

June 10, 2014

Budapest, June 10, 2014 –European Commissioner of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Kristalina Georgieva has been named the 2014 CEU Open Society Prize winner. The CEU Open Society Prize is awarded to an outstanding individual whose achievements have contributed substantially to the creation of an open society. Sir Karl Popper received the first prize in 1994, followed by Vaclav Havel, Arpad Goncz, Ricardo Lagos, Carla Del Ponte, Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Richard C. Holbrooke and others. Georgieva will receive the CEU Open Society Prize and address graduates at CEU's commencement ceremony in Budapest on June 21.

"I am deeply honored to receive this award and, indeed, humbled to be joining such an illustrious group," said Georgieva, who was named European of the Year and Commissioner of the Year in 2010 by "European Voice," an independent newspaper that covers EU politics. "In my work as a European Commissioner I have always tried to provide a voice for those who cannot be heard in the corridors of power. So today I dedicate this prize to them – to the women and children and men who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the firing line of the worst that nature can throw at them and the evil that man is capable of committing against the most vulnerable members of society."

Since becoming European Commissioner in 2010, Georgieva has gained wide recognition for her activity and direct involvement in crisis management and aid to Haiti, Pakistan, and Chile after natural disasters. Georgieva recently returned from the Balkans, where the worst floodwaters in over 120 years have driven more than 500,000 people from their homes. She is now overseeing the recovery effort, one of the largest-scale emergency operations in EU history. Under her guidance, the Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Brussels has streamlined the delivery of assistance with some 500 rescuers from 22 EU member states arriving in the crisis zone with helicopters, rescue boats, pumps, and other specialized equipment.

"Commissioner Georgieva has had an important role in the timely and effective response to natural and manmade crises in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Haiti, Chile, Pakistan, the Sahel and Darfur," said CEU Founder and Honorary Chairman George Soros. "Further, she helped coordinate the EU response and, as a result of her actions, the EU was recognized as the primary humanitarian donor to Haiti after the earthquake in 2010."

Georgieva is responsible for managing the EU's main instruments of emergency response: humanitarian aid and the mobilization of in-kind assistance from EU member states. Her mandate also involves developing and promoting measures that can reduce the impact of disasters.

"We are honored to add Commissioner Georgieva to the list of CEU Open Society Prize winners," said CEU President and Rector John Shattuck. "She has dedicated her career to addressing humanitarian crises, improving environmental policy and fostering development in some of the world's most vulnerable regions. She is a role model for the next generation of open society leaders who are being educated at CEU and universities all over the world."

Georgieva's extensive academic career in environmental policy prepared her for her 17-year career at the World Bank. She held a variety of positions in which she oversaw environmental strategy, policies, and lending. Before joining the European Commission in 2010, she was vice president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group and acted as the key intermediary between the World Bank's senior management, its board of directors, and the 186 countries that make up the World Bank Group shareholders.

Georgieva is a native of Sofia, Bulgaria. She earned her MA and PhD at Sofia's University of National and World Economy, where she also taught for 16 years.

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About CEU/graduation 2014
Central European University (CEU) is a U.S.- and Hungarian-accredited institution of graduate education specializing in the social sciences and humanities, public policy, and business. More than 600 Central European University students from nearly 80 countries, including the CEU Business School, will receive their degrees, master's or doctoral, at this year's graduation ceremony, the University's twenty-third. They join a body of nearly 12,000 CEU alumni who are beginning to distinguish themselves as the next generation of leaders and scholars in the region and beyond.

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