Socrates Project Provides Evening Course for Adults

A new program run by CEU’s Community Engagement Office saw its first cohort of adult students receive course certificates at the end of June.

The CEU Budapest Socrates Project provides university-level education for adults who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so, either because of low income or another disadvantage such as work constraints and family care obligations. The program is conducted both in English and Hungarian, and courses take place in the evening after typical work hours. The idea of the program came from Aaron Lambert, a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy.

Altogether, 40 participants took part in the two-month program that ran from May to June 2019. Courses were taught on a voluntary basis by five CEU faculty members. A professor from the renowned Hungarian university ELTE also taught in the Hungarian language course. Classes were conducted in a friendly seminar style, and attendees were expected to participate in class discussions and read the assigned materials. Course topics included philosophy, sociology, history, literature and art.

“The aim of the Socrates Project is to reach intellectually curious adults who do not have access to university-level education. New worlds open up for people when they are introduced to new ideas and when peers want to know their opinion during group discussions. We hope that students complete the course with a greater capacity to promote and improve themselves and their communities,” said Flora Laszlo, director of the Community Engagement Office. “I am immensely proud of all the participants who were willing to take time from their other duties and put effort into studying new things.”

Professor Violetta Zentai, co-director of the Center for Policy Studies who taught in the program, said: “It was elevating to see how participants gained self-confidence in expressing their opinions, interpreting the readings and reflecting upon each other’s thoughts in a very short period of time and how they were gladly surprised by this experience.”

The Community Engagement Office at CEU emphasizes the importance of the shared belief in the personal responsibility and the intrinsic motivation to service to others. Community engagement is a key component of CEU’s mission to foster an open society. The university  implements numerous initiatives and projects with a tangible and valuable impact on Hungarian society every year. By encouraging and supporting the individual and collective efforts of its community members, CEU helps identify and address social challenges and issues of public concern. The university’s research and knowledge production also contributes to addressing existing community needs.