Central European University (CEU) and Scholars at Risk have been jointly awarded the 2019 Politiken Freedom Prize. Cited for an extraordinary contribution to “protecting scholars and the freedom to think, question and share ideas,” the awardees share a prize of 100.000 Danish Kroner (approximately US$ 16.000).
Politiken, a leading independent Danish newspaper, awards the Freedom Prize yearly to those who defend human rights under dangerous circumstances through its Foundation. The other award winner, Scholars at Risk, is an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom.
Michael Ignatieff, president and rector of CEU, and Robert Quinn, founding executive director of Scholars at Risk received the prize on behalf of their respective organisations in Politiken’s headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Presenting the prize, Politiken editor-in-chief Christian Jensen remarked that in Europe “it shouldn't be necessary to remind a government to appreciate the role of opposition, civil society, media and free academic thinking. But Central European University does indeed remind us of the values of an open society. And the fate of the university reminds us that we should never accept the restriction of academic freedom.”
Previous laureates of the Politiken Freedom Prize include Russian chess player and democracy advocate Garry Kasparov, the non-profit organization Sea-Watch, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Egyptian writer and activist Mona Eltahawy.
Recipients are selected by the Politiken Freedom Prize Committee consisting of the Rector of Copenhagen University Henrik Wegener, the Director of the Danish Institute of Human Rights Jonas Christoffersen and Politiken’s Christian Jensen (editor in chief), Michael Jarlner (international editor) and Anders Jerichow (senior correspondent)