CEU – A Hungarian Institution

March 29, 2017

In the 26 years since its establishment in Budapest, CEU has become one of the best graduate universities in the world in the social sciences and humanities. Attracting students from around the world to study alongside Hungarians, bringing academics and practitioners to Budapest for research, teaching, and debate, CEU contributes to Hungary’s long-standing reputation as an international hub of intellectual and cultural life.

CEU is an independent, self-governing academic institution, in full compliance with Hungarian law, governed by a Board of Trustees and an Academic Senate. The Rector is appointed by the Board of Trustees and receives his appointment from the President of Hungary. The mission of the university is exclusively academic: to undertake research that helps to solve society’s problems and to teach students the virtues of knowledge and open inquiry. In 2017 CEU established a teaching site at Bard College in the State of New York, authorized by the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. A certificate in the analysis of inequalities has been launched on this site, following registration by the New York State Education Department, and other educational activities are being developed.

Academic Excellence | CEU ranks among the world’s top 100 universities in five disciplines – in the fields of Politics, Social Policy, Sociology, History, and Philosophy.

Hungarian and International | While CEU is an international private university, proud of its double accreditation as an American and Hungarian institution, it has always played a full part in Hungarian academic life. Today it is strengthening its embeddedness in Hungary and broadening the services it offers to Hungarian society.

CEU’s two most senior academic leaders, the Pro-Rector for Social Sciences and the Humanities as well as the Pro-Rector for Hungarian Affairs are both Hungarian. A substantial proportion of its senior faculty, nearly 100 faculty members are Hungarian, and the university teaches more than 300 Hungarian students every year, nearly all of them on scholarship. It employs more than 400 Hungarian staff. The university’s rector has full membership in the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference (MRK). CEU is active in the various subcommittees of MRK and it is a founding member of the recently created Private Universities Section of MRK.

Academic Cooperation | CEU maintains strong connections with other Hungarian universities. In the framework of inter-university agreements CEU’s PhD students teach English-language courses at a number of Hungarian universities. CEU has contracts with the University of Debrecen, University of Pecs, Corvinus University, the Budapest Business School and Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE). For the third consecutive academic year CEU has devoted a separate fund of 30,000 Euros to support events organized together with Hungarian universities and research centers. Corvinus University, University of Debrecen and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have received support from this fund. Agreements with Hungarian universities (e.g. ELTE and Corvinus) encourage common research projects and offer internships for students.

In partnership with the Karoli Gaspar University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, CEU has established a foundation that works towards improving the efficiency of anti-genocide measures. CEU also has an agreement with Andrassy University Budapest to support the mobility of students between the universities.

CEU has already succeeded in attracting back to Budapest dozens of Hungarian scholars who graduated from some of the world’s best universities and worked for many years abroad. More than 30 percent of the current CEU faculty is Hungarian, and many of them work in Hungary only because they can be part of the American higher education system via CEU.
Department-level relations with Hungarian institutions are also significant. The Department of Mathematics and Its Applications provides master and doctoral level education together with the Alfred Renyi Institute of Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The Medieval Studies Department maintains a library specialized in medieval studies together with and located at the Humanities School of ELTE.

Professors of CEU teach at the colleges of excellence in Budapest, and the university finances the college expenses of a number of its students who belong to the Rajk and Szechenyi colleges of excellence. The university makes possible for the senior students of these colleges of excellence to attend short courses at CEU free of charge.

The instructors of CEU provide tuition-free consultation through the Doctoral Support Program to PhD students of other universities in order to help them to write their dissertations.

CEU in the Heart of Budapest | CEU hosts more than 600 public events a year that are open to all interested citizens, and CEU provides translation into Hungarian for an increasing proportion of its public lectures. CEU also hosts a large number of Hungarian cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions. Parts of its campus are open to the public throughout the year.
CEU is pleased to share its new Library with the local scholarly community, both through onsite membership and Interlibrary Loan. Over 1,100 external library members from Hungary, the vast majority from educational institutions, were granted library membership to use the collections for their research projects in 2017. The Library also participates in reciprocal Interlibrary Loan services with 117 Hungarian libraries whereby over 1,000 books and articles were either borrowed or copies of journal articles supplied. Our joint CEU-ELTE Medieval Library continues to be a real collaboration between our respective universities, sharing library collections as well as fostering faculty cooperation.

CEU’s Contribution to the Hungarian Economy | The university’s annual contribution in taxes and other payments to the Hungarian economy amounts to more than 8 billion forints. The real benefit of the economy is much larger, since more than 15,000 foreigners have spent years in Hungary as CEU students or researchers, not to mention visiting lecturers arriving to teach during the regular academic year or at the Summer University.

Research Funding and Collaboration | CEU is the most successful Hungarian university in gaining European Research Council grants. Nine billion forints flow into the country through these channels. The researchers of CEU collaborate with professors of Szent Istvan University, Corvinus University, and many other Hungarian universities in research projects.

The research conducted at CEU also serves local companies and government institutions. CEU’s InnovationsLab and the Public Policy Lab were explicitly created to help governmental and business partners in solving problems. In March 2017, the Hungarian government officially recognized the role played by the InnovationsLab in helping local tech start-ups. At the Central European Startup Awards 2017, the CEU InnovationsLab was named Best Accelerator and Incubator in Hungary, and it was the only university incubator to be nominated for Best in Central Europe. The same year, three of its four fintech startups were named among Hungary’s top 20 most promising by Forbes, and the startup AbsoRice was named Innovative Startup of the Month by the Ministry for National Economy.

The National Research, Development and Innovation Office and the International Relations Section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences regularly collaborate with the research management team of the university. Financed by the COST Action: Best Practice in Research Management, a joint training event will be held for early-stage research managers in Budapest in June. Most recently, a major joint grant application has been submitted by Renyi Institute and CEU. The research support division of CEU provides training for those who work in the Erasmus offices and in the research and international relations offices of Hungarian universities.

Civic Engagement | Community engagement is a key component of CEU’s mission to foster open society. CEU students, faculty, and staff actively engage with the community in their private as well as professional lives - sharing knowledge and expertise and collaborating with diverse partners in academia and across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Each of CEU’s community engagement programs aim to benefit the larger Budapest and Hungarian community.

CEU has played an active role in supporting Roma in higher education for over a decade. The Romani Studies Program at CEU engages scholars, policymakers, and activists in interdisciplinary knowledge production and debate on Roma identity, social justice and policymaking. The program conducts interdisciplinary courses open to students from across CEU, and prepares talented Roma students for graduate study.

CEU professors and students are involved in tutoring, mentoring and other learning-supporting activities in primary- and middle schools in Budapest and elsewhere in the country, for example in mathematics, English language skills, and environmental awareness. CEU students are increasingly integrated into Hungarian student life. The university participates in one of the most important sports events of Hungarian universities, the Danube Regatta, organized by the Antall Jozsef Knowledge Center.

The university community organizes a number of charity activities every year, primarily for the homeless. During the academic year CEU provides hot meals for a homeless shelter in Budapest. Every year, the university donates used furniture, computers, books, and other items to charitable organizations, schools, children’s home and NGOs. CEU community constantly takes part in different volunteer activities.