Shalini Randeria Elected CEU's 6th Rector and President

Professor Shalini Randeria has been elected CEU’s sixth rector and president by the Board of Trustees, following an international search process conducted by a Search Committee of trustees, faculty and staff in consultation with the university Senate. Professor Randeria will be the first woman to take up the role since the university was founded 30 years ago.

A German-speaking resident of Vienna, Professor Randeria has a distinguished academic record. She is the Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, as well as the Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the IHEID. She serves on the Board of European Forum Alpbach, and the Academic Advisory Board of the Wien Museum. Randeria has published widely on the anthropology of globalization, law, the state and social movements. Appointed to CEU’s Board of Trustees in 2015, Professor Randeria took a leave of absence for the duration of the Search. 

Accepting the position, Professor Randeria said she was deeply honoured and “looked greatly forward to joining the CEU community and working together with its faculty, staff and students, and its worldwide alumni network, to further the mission of CEU and to give it a new home in Vienna, the city which has welcomed the university so enthusiastically.”

Chairman of the Board Leon Botstein said “CEU rightly expects much of its president and rector: wisdom, intelligence, courage, energy, and academic leadership of the highest caliber. Having first-hand knowledge of Shalini as a Trustee on our Board, I know she brings with her all these qualities and more.” 

Professor Randeria’s selection follows an international search process conducted by a Search Committee of trustees, faculty and staff. Thanking his fellow members of the Search Committee for their thoroughness, hard work, and excellent judgment, Chair of the Search Committee, Alexander Soros said the Committee looked for someone “with the intellectual gravitas, managerial skill, diplomatic acumen, and global perspective to lead the University into this next chapter. In a field of outstanding candidates, Shalini Randeria stood out as that person." 

Paying tribute to Michael Ignatieff, who steps down at the end of July, Chairman Botstein praised his leadership, “which has led the CEU to prominence, defended its commitment to excellence and academic freedom and placed the university in such a strong position in Vienna."  

Ignatieff’s powerful and principled voice on human rights and foreign policy has played a significant role in advocating for academic freedom particularly in the context of CEU’s forced relocation from Hungary. Under Ignatieff’s leadership, CEU has executed a complex relocation to Vienna, continued delivering excellent education during challenging pandemic conditions, including beginning a new BA course of studies. CEU initiated campus redevelopment on Vienna’s Otto Wagner site and — evidencing its ongoing commitment to Hungary — launched the Democracy Institute on its Budapest campus. The university continued to evolve its profile through international collaborations and partnerships, most importantly with OSUN and CIVICA. 

Ignatieff, who will continue to be an active member of CEU’s academic community as University Professor in the Department of History remarked, “I’m confident Shalini will take our university into the bright future this community deserves.”

Prior to Ignatieff’s tenure as Rector and President, CEU was led by John Shattuck (2009-16), Yehuda Elkana (1999-2009), Josef Jarab (1997-99), Alfred Stepan (1993-96) and William Newton-Smith (1991-93).