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British Academy urges Hungarian government to safeguard the future of Central European University (CEU)

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Professor Ash Amin, Foreign Secretary & Vice President at the British Academy, has written to Zoltan Balog, Hungarian Minister of Human Capacities, to express our deep concern at the imminent disruption to the outstanding work of the Central European University (CEU). Following the letter, the Hungarian Parliament has passed legislation that will potentially force the CEU from its base in Budapest.

The flourishing of the Central European University in Hungary has been an exceptional success story for Hungarian and international academia - and one which the British Academy would very much regret if it came to an end. The legislative proposals that have been put forward jeopardise the ability of the Central European University to continue to flourish within Hungary.

As part of the letter to Zoltan Balog, the British Academy urges urge that significant concerted discussion and open consultation takes place as soon as possible with the Central European University and the Hungarian academic community before the proposed legislative changes go forward further.

 

Mr. Zoltán Balog
Minister of Human Capacities
1054 Budapest, Akadémia utca 3.
Hungary
10-11 Carlton House Terrace
London SW1Y 5AH
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7969 5200 Fax: +44 (0)20 7969 5300
31 March 2017

Dear Mr Balog,

I write to express the British Academy’s deep concern at the imminent disruption to the outstanding work of the Central European University. The British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, which are fields that the Central European University has a well-deserved and hard-earned excellent reputation in.

This academic excellence and international profile is proven in many ways. In particular, the success the Central European University has had in developing and attracting world class Hungarian and international researchers through the European Research Council is of considerable credit to the strong reputation the University has established over twenty-five years since it has been based in Hungary.

The flourishing of the Central European University in Hungary has been an exceptional success story for Hungarian and international academia and one which we would very much regret if it came to an end. The legislative proposals that have been put forward jeopardise the ability of the Central European University to continue to flourish within Hungary and with knock-on effects we fear for the strong collaboration researchers from outside Hungary would wish to enjoy with our Hungarian counterparts.

We would urge that significant concerted discussion and open consultation takes place as soon as possible with the Central European University and the Hungarian academic community before the proposed legislative changes go forward further. We strongly believe that any such dialogue and consultation will be worth the effort on your part to ensure that the Hungarian research community, including the Central European University, continue to have the best chances to promote research of excellent quality, of safeguarding its reputation and effectiveness, and of developing its role as a valued international partner.

Yours sincerely,
Professor Ash Amin CBE FBA
Foreign Secretary & Vice President
CC: Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary; Office of the Prime Minister of Hungary; and, the Central European University

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