Rethinking Open Society

We're a university with a difference and the difference is our open society mission," according to President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. "Over the past 25 years, we've never hesitated to rethink our mission in the light of new circumstances. In the wake of recent world events, CEU's mission is more important than ever. More than ever, we need to stand for open minds and open frontiers at a time when political forces of anger, exclusion and closure are in the ascendant. Click below to find out more about the Re-thinking Open Society Project.


Rethinking Open Society

CEU's Rethinking Open Society project brings leading thinkers to CEU to examine open society, its history, its achievements and failures and its future prospects in a world where its ideals are under threat. Scroll down for articles, and see the left bar for upcoming events.

Technology Has Shrunken Geography, Altering Regional Dynamics, Kaplan Says

The world is more anxious, more claustrophobic and more interconnected than ever, said Robert D. Kaplan, author and senior advisor of the Eurasia Group, speaking at CEU May 31 as part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Altering regional dynamics as a result, Kaplan said.

Benner on the Dangers of Demagoguery

When it comes to politics, talk is not cheap, said Erica Benner, a fellow at CEU's Institute for Advanced Study and at Yale's Department of Political Science. “It's a mistake to think that political communications don't matter. Speech matters,” Benner said at her May 25 lecture “Beyond Demagoguery?

Liberal Democracy Should Prevail if We Are Honest, Patient, and Realistic, Walt Says

Liberal democracy has been more successful than other types of government by many measures, meaning it should prevail, according to Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, speaking at CEU at a President’s Seminar May 29, part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Walt, known as a realist, outlined the recent failures related to liberal democracy and open society, and listed a set of remedies.

The Clash Between Hierarchies and Networks Shapes History, Ferguson Says

History is characterized by the clash of hierarchies and networks, said Niall Ferguson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, speaking at CEU on May 22 as part of the Rethinking Open Society series. Hierarchies are vertical systems, while the “network” stands for the horizontal, interpersonal connections organically forming in societies. The hierarchy is now globally challenged by the network, but it’s too early to say which one will dominate, Ferguson said.

Democracy Can Be Effective Even with Poorly Informed Voters, Christiano Says

Democracy effectively creates successful economies and societies, even though the average voter is not well-informed about the issues, because of the mechanisms of the economics of information, according to Tom Christiano, professor of philosophy and law at the University of Arizona, who spoke at CEU April 13 at a President’s Seminar, part of the Rethinking Open Society series.