President and Rector Ignatieff: Visas “critical issue” for global education

October 2, 2020

Marking the official opening of the Austrian university academic year, Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research Heinz Fassmann made an official visit to CEU’s Vienna Campus to meet with members of the university's first-ever cohort of undergraduate students.

Following welcome remarks by CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff, Minister Fassmann spoke with student from new Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) BA program launched last week as part of CEU’s new undergraduate offer.

“Looking now at the political situation in Hungary now there are no signs of improvement” the Minister said. “I don’t see any significant change so I think was the right decision to come to Vienna and I am really happy that CEU is here.”

Hailing CEU’s excellence, the Minister addressed the new CEU students: “but you know this even better than me: you decided to study here for the excellence of the professors, and for the university as a whole.”

Calling for more investment in universities, Minister Fassman said that while Austria earns much of its gross national income in industry, tourism and services, the country “can only be competitive” through a highly educated workforce. “Education and science research is one of our main resources, and if I have a vision, it is that if Switzerland is famous for chocolate and banks, I want to Austria to be famous for its universities, private and public. And for its good professors and excellent scientists.”

President and Rector Michael Ignatieff said that one of the keys for the future of the Austrian higher education system is a visa system “as responsive as possible to overseas students wishing to study in Austria.” Noting that many of CEU’s students joining classes online whilst awaiting student visas, Ignatieff, acknowledging the debt of gratitude owed by CEU to the Austrian authorities, added: “the critical issue for global education today is visas.”

Photo credit: CEU/Benedikt von Loebell