More than 600 Central European University students from more than 70 countries, received their degrees, Master’s or Doctoral, at this year’s Graduation Ceremony, the university’s 19th. They joined a body of some 8,500 CEU alumni who are beginning to distinguish themselves as the region’s, and beyond, next generation of leaders and scholars.
For the first time, the Graduation Ceremony took place in the Bela Bartok National Concert Hall of the Palace of Arts (Muveszetek Palotaja). Graduating students, their families, CEU faculty and staff were present at the event. The Master of Ceremonies was Provost/Academic Pro-Rector Elect, Katalin Farkas, Head, Department of Philisophy. After John Shattuck, President and Rector, delivered his Opening Remarks, Leon Botstein, Chairman, Board of Trustees also greeted this year’s graduating students, and congratulated Founder and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees, George Soros, on his 80th birthday. As part of CEU tradition, both an Alumni and a Student Speaker participated in the ceremony. This year Bermet Tursunkulova, (IRES’99), Vice- President, Academic Affairs, American University of Central Asia, represented the CEU Alumni; while Brynn Felix (LEGS, MA in Human Rights), USA, represented the student body. The Central European University Open Society Prize was again presented at the Ceremony (according to custom), now for the 13th time, to Louise Arbour, President and CEO, International Crisis Group. (Past recipients have included Sir Karl Popper, Vaclav Havel, Arpad Goncz, Ricardo Lagos, Carla Del Ponte, Kofi A. Annan, Martti Ahtisaari.) President and Rector Shattuck gave the Laudatio to Louise Arbour, while George Soros presented the Prize to her. Louise Arbour then delivered the Commencement Address. President and Rector Shattuck in his concluding remarks wished each graduating student the very best for their future. A reception for all was held on campus, and in the evening the CEU community and friends enjoyed a Graduation Party organized by the Student Life Office. So ended Academic Year 2009/2010.
The CEU Open Society Prize is given to an outstanding individual whose achievements have contributed substantially to the creation of an Open Society.
Louise Arbour has been serving as President and CEO of the International Crisis Group since July 2009. Previously she acted as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2004-2008). Arbour was nominated Associate Professor and Associate Dean at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada. In 1987 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario (High Court of Justice) and in 1990 to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1995, she was appointed Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. In 1996, she was appointed by the Security Council of the United Nations as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. In 1999, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.