Rector’s Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Website

john shattuck

Welcome to this special website dedicated to 20th anniversary of Central European University!

The website is designed as an interactive tool to help coordinate anniversary activities throughout our twentieth year until 31 December 2011. It will serve as an instrument for information sharing within the CEU community and with our external constituencies. CEU actively promotes the principles of transparency and open exchange of ideas. Consistent with our identity as an international "Crossroads University" this website will be open to anybody in the world who is interested to know about, and perhaps take part in, the debates, work, and anniversary activities during CEU’s 20th year.

CEU was founded in 1991 at the time when the Great Transition in Central and Eastern Europe was starting. It was conceived by the interaction of a powerful idea and a remarkable promise. The idea was that a multinational university could be a place to study the principles of open society. The promise was that professors and students could be recruited internationally to build a new and unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians and civil society leaders to contribute to building open societies and democracies throughout the region and beyond.

As it embarks on its 20th year, CEU has achieved an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research in social sciences, humanities, law, business and public policy, bridging academic disciplines and combining specific knowledge with universal values. As a "crossroads" university, CEU strives to educate future leaders about the contest over open society. One of the most international universities in the world, CEU this year received student applications from 133 countries. The demand for CEU's value-based, graduate-level international higher education is growing. On the eve of our 20th anniversary, we received thirty percent more applications than ever before, and accepted eleven percent of our applicants.

The anniversary year will be used as an occasion for self-reflection and institutional renewal, in particular by rethinking the mission of the university and developing a new strategic plan. We have selected two intellectual themes for the year: a “self-reflection of the disciplines,” with special emphasis on the “data deluge” resulting from the proliferation of information on the internet, and the “social responsibility of academia,” a university’s obligations to society and their discipline-specific manifestations. These themes have been selected to encourage in-depth intellectual discussion across and within disciplines, and to serve as guidelines for a variety of University-wide activities and events throughout the year.

You will find on this website the full program of the anniversary year, reports about ongoing activities and other related information.

The first event in the anniversary year was a high-profile, global conference, Internet at Liberty 2010: The Promise and Peril of Online Free Expression, organized in September 2010 in collaboration with Google, with the participation of governments, corporations, civil society organizations, dissidents, bloggers and leaders involved in the global debate over free expression on the internet. The conference explored the complex relationship among technology, economic growth, security, privacy and free expression. Reaching a global internet audience of nearly four million people, it was a fitting way to inaugurate CEU's 20th anniversary activities.