CEU Opens Academic Year in Vienna

September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021, Vienna – CEU formally launched its 2021/22 Academic Year on September 16, 2021, welcoming more than 700 new students from more than 100 countries to the university, some 75% outside of the EU. They join more than 700 current students, and more than 18.000 alumni worldwide, all part of the global CEU community. 

With the university preparing to mark its 30th anniversary in the fall, it is particularly apt that CEU begins its second teaching year in Vienna with a newly elected President and Rector Shalini Randeria, the first woman President and Rector in the history of the university, and the first leader from the global South. Previously, Professor Randeria was Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna, and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, where she was also Director of Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute

In her Presidential remarks, Professor Randeria highlighted the powerful words of Stacey Abrams from the podcast series Democracy in Question, aired a day before to mark International Day of Democracy: “It isn’t sufficient to say you want the world to be better, you are obliged to do the work in every part of making that so.” Randeria reminded the audience that there could surely be no more potent call to action than that. “All of us must do that work. That’s both a challenge and a privilege. You are here today, at Central European University, which has been the springboard for so many before you to also do that work. Others paved the way; it is now your turn to follow. As your President and Rector, I pledge to put in place every support to enable you to be the changemakers this generation and the next needs.” 

She cautioned: “30 years on from our founding, we still need to fight for open societies, we’re still part of a struggle against the backlash of liberal democracies in many parts of the world, against the backlash of media freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”  

Following remarks from the Master of Ceremonies Provost Liviu Matei, Professor at the Department of Cognitive Science and Co-Director of CEU’s Social Mind Center Natalie Sebanz greeted the new students on behalf of the faculty, highlighting how wonderful it was to return to in person teaching and to feel the students’ energy and intellectual curiosity, giving life to the Favoriten campus. Professor Sebanz also highlighted the common characteristics between students and faculty: she noted the diversity, the challenges that moving from Hungary to Vienna meant to many besides the excitement, and the common sense of joy coming from working together. 

Notes for Editors 

CEU Teaching

Central European University (CEU) begins its 2021/22 Academic Year with on-campus and online teaching as a result of the pandemic. Beginning September 16, CEU will offer hybrid teaching to its students who are physically in Vienna as well as to those starting the year online. Serving the internal CEU community, the CEU Library will operate at both campuses as well as offer online access to much of its catalogue. It is currently closed to external members as a result of the Covid-19 situation. From this academic year onwards, the university will offer three BA courses: Culture, Politics and Society (CPS)Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), and Quantitative Social Sciences (QSS). For all courses, see https://www.ceu.edu/academics

CEU in Hungary

CEU continues to maintain its world-class research and public engagement activities on its campus in Budapest. The CEU Democracy Institute (DI) provides a locus for the university’s research activities remaining in Budapest together with the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) and the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (OSA), a valuable resource, not only for the city but for the whole region. The university’s Borderless Knowledge Lecture Series continue, alongside its acclaimed Istvan Bibo Free University program, and the Socrates program – both offered to the public free of charge, in Hungarian, reflecting CEU’s mission to promote the values of an open society. From September, CEU supports the FreeSzFE Association through sharing educational and accommodation facilities with their students and faculty in response to the attack on the academic freedom of Budapest's University of Theatre and Film Arts (SzFE), when many SzFE students decided to continue their studies with the FreeSzFE Association set up in the wake of the protests. Academic freedom is core to everything we do, and so is solidarity, of which we have benefited ourselves from many quarters. 

Award-winners announced during the ceremony

Professor Maria Kaika, Director of the Centre for Urban studies and Chair in Urban, Regional and Environmental Planning at the University of for the 2021 European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities; Tina Horvath in the Culture, Politics, and Society BA program, and Klara Hulikova in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics BA Program, for CEU’s Presidential Awards for undergraduate students; Nha Nguyen in Gender Studies, and Zeynep Olgun in Medieval Studies, for CEU’s Presidential Awards for graduate students; Antonio Alcazar in Public Policy and International Relations, and Beata Tunde Szabo in Cognitive Science, for CEU’s Presidential Awards for doctoral.