CEU Marks Its 20th Graduation Ceremony

Budapest, 9 June 2011—In the fall of 1991, students from Central and Eastern Europe began their studies in a handful of degree and certificate programs being offered in Prague by Central European University. That following spring, 100 students celebrated the completion of their CEU studies in Economics, History, and Sociology at the University's first commencement ceremony. This year, almost 600 students from 76 countries will receive their degrees¾Master’s or Doctoral—at this year’s graduation ceremony, the University’s 20th. They join a body of nearly 10,000 CEU alumni who are beginning to distinguish themselves as next-generation scholars and leaders in the region and around the world. 

CEU 20 th Graduation Ceremony:

Date:               Thursday, 16 June 2011

Time:              3.00 p.m. –  5.00 p.m.

Place:              Művészetek Palotája, Bartók Béla National Concert Hall

(Budapest IX, Komor Marcell utca 1.)

If you would like to attend the ceremony, please register in advance with Ildiko Rull: rulli@ceu.hu or 327-3800.

As in previous years, the University will use the forum of its graduation ceremony to award the  CEU Open Society Prize to outstanding individuals whose achievements have contributed substantially to the creation of an open societies. The University’s founder and Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees, George Soros, will present the awards. In this 20th anniversary year, two awards will be given: to Javier Solana and to the late Richard C. Holbrooke. The laudatios will be given by John Shattuck, CEU President and Rector. The Commencement Address will be delivered by Kati Marton, author and human rights activist. The selection of both the prize recipients and the speaker reflects CEU’s unique hybrid identity as an American, Hungarian, and European university.


Notes for Editors:

Central European University was founded in 1991 when the Great Transition in Central and Eastern Europe was starting. It emerged from the interaction of a powerful idea and a remarkable promise. The idea was that a multinational university could be a place to study the principles of open society. The promise was that professors and students could be recruited internationally to build a new and unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to building open societies and democracies throughout the region and beyond.

Twenty years later, CEU has achieved an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research in the social sciences, humanities, law, management, environmental studies, government, and public policy, bridging academic disciplines and combining specific knowledge with universal values. As a “crossroads” university, CEU strives to educate future leaders about the contest over open society. As one of the most international universities in the world, CEU this year received student applications from 133 countries—30 percent more than ever before—and admitted 11 percent of the applicants.

CEU marks its 20th anniversary year by reflecting in a number of ways: The University’s academic departments have surveyed the most important intellectual developments of the past 20 years in their respective fields; assessed the most significant contributions by their faculty members to their disciplines; and identified new academic challenges in their subject areas. Two intellectual themes were chosen for the year to encourage in-depth intellectual discussion across and within disciplines and to serve as guidelines for a variety of university-wide activities and events throughout the year. These themes are “self-reflection of the disciplines,” with special emphasis on the “data deluge” resulting from the proliferation of information on the Internet; and “social responsibility of academia,” a university’s obligations to society and their discipline-specific manifestations.

Twentieth anniversary events began in September 2010 with a high-profile, global conference co-sponsored with Google, “Internet at Liberty 2010: The Promise and Peril of Online Free Expression,” and continues through December 2011. Other events commemorating the anniversary year include the conference “CEU 20: Reflections on the University and the Meaning of Open Society,” which will examine the role of CEU as a center of intellectual inquiry, the events that have taken place in the region and the world over the last two decades, and the contemporary contest over open society. Also, a concert hosted by CEU in conjunction with Concerto Budapest and the Liszt Academy of Music will feature works by Liszt and Mahler. The event marks the 200th anniversary year of Ferenc Liszt’s birthday and the 100th anniversary year of Gustav Mahler’s death and is being offered to the public as part of the Liszt Year programs. (For more information about anniversary events, please visit http://20.ceu.hu/events.)   

Javier Solana is the President of ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, Honorary

President of the Centre for Human Dialogue, Senior Visiting Professor at LSE Global Governance, and member of the board of the International Crisis Group and of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as the European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (1999-2009) and Secretary General of the Council of the European Union (1999-2009). Before serving on the Council, Javier Solana was Secretary General of NATO (1995-1999), where he negotiated the NATO-Russia Founding Act and presided over the establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. Prior to that, he held different ministerial portfolios in the Spanish government, including Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-1995).

Richard C. Holbrooke (1941-2010) had a diverse and distinguished career as a professional diplomat; magazine editor; author; Peace Corps director; investment banker; and chairman of important non-governmental organizations. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1999-2001), U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan (2009-2010), and twice as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for European and Canadian Affairs,1994-1996, and for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 1977-1981). He was the chief negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, Peace Corps director in Morocco (1970-1972), and managing editor of Foreign Policy (1972-1977); He also held senior positions at two leading Wall Street firms, Credit Suisse First Boston (vice chairman) and Lehman Brothers (managing director). He wrote many articles and two best-selling books. He received over 20 honorary degrees and numerous awards, including several Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

Kati Marton has combined a career as a reporter and writer with human rights advocacy. She is the former chairwoman of the International Women's Health Coalition and a director of the Committee to Protect Journalists and other bodies including the International Rescue Committee, Human Rights Watch, and the New America Foundation. She has written and published five books and has worked as a reporter at ABC news, Public Broadcasting Service, National Public Radio, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and The New Republic. She is a recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary—the country's highest civilian honor.


For more information, please visit CEU’s 20th Anniversary website at http://20.ceu.hu/ or contact Ildiko Rull, Hungarian Media Relations Manager, CEU at 327-3800 or rulli@ceu.hu