Michael Ignatieff Announces He Is to Step Down in Summer ‘21

Michael Ignatieff has announced his intention to step down as Rector and President of Central European University in July 2021, when his five-year term comes to a close. Michael Ignatieff will continue to contribute to CEU as a university professor, in a chair newly established by the Founder, George Soros. 

The Rector and President sent the following in a letter to the community:

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni of CEU, 

I have an important piece of news to share with you. 

I asked the Board of Trustees last night to appoint a search committee to choose my successor, once my five-year term as President and Rector expires next year on July 31, 2021. The search committee will be sure to consult with all of you as they make their choice. Till then, I’ll be as active as ever, and—should they fail to find the right successor immediately—I’m prepared to stay on for a little longer until they do.  

Most important, I told Trustees that I want to stay at CEU after I leave this job. The Chairman announced that our founder, George Soros, has agreed to fund a chair as university professor so I can continue here as a scholar and teacher in your midst. I am deeply grateful for his generosity. 

We’ve been through so much together in the past four years: the government’s attack, our campaign to defend ourselves; our decision, finally, to move our teaching operations to Vienna; the opening of our Quellenstrasse campus and then, as if all that wasn’t enough, the Covid-19 crisis. All this combined has made this the most testing period in CEU’s history, but we have stood together as One CEU throughout, and I can’t thank you enough for your courage and commitment over these past four years. 

In the next year, we have so much to do: begin teaching in September; welcome our first undergraduates and launch our new EMBA in business and economics; open the Democracy Institute in Budapest; anchor CEU in Vienna; develop our partnerships with CIVICA and OSUN; implement our CEU 2025 plan, with a revised budget for the next five years; and start making Steinhof our permanent home. I’m excited by these challenges, and I hope you are too. 

In the meantime, I hope you all take a well-deserved break over the summer. Thank you again for your support, your encouragement, and yes! your criticisms over these past four years. You helped me grow into the job and you’ve deepened my loyalty to this incredible place.

Michael Ignatieff

Rector and President.