CEU building receives architecture prize; university might be forced to move

The highly regarded Central European University (CEU) recently completed a new building in downtown Budapest which was named among the four finalists in the Royal Institute of British Architects International Prize, an award honoring the world’s best new buildings.

The new structure is considered “a triumph of contextual architecture — a mixture of new and refurbished structures that delicately nod to the city’s past.” CEU hired clever architects, Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey and the team created something special.

The university is under siege by the Orbán government and might have to move to Vienna, Austria and leave their new headquarters. The institution was founded by Hungarian American billionaire, George Soros who became the personal target of Prime Minister Orbán who claims that he seeks to undermine Hungary’s national ethos. According to the Anti-Defamation League the vehemence of the anti-Soros campaigns is “chilling” and the Soros posters that appeared in Budapest last summer reminded many observers of Nazi-era propaganda. (Read more)

CEU also became the subject of a vicious media and legislative attack. “We’re being forced out of a country that’s been our home for 26 years,” said CEU president, Michael Ignatieff. If the Orbán government does not revoke its legislation the university’s decision to move to Austria will come into effect on December 1 of this year. CEU’s board already voted to open a satellite campus in Vienna that could be ready by 2019. The university’s legal status currently is uncertain and the situation for students and staff is becoming untenable. A report today in The New York Times co-written by Budapest-based journalist Benjamin Novak and Warsaw-based Marc Santora noted: “university officials said they would stop admitting new students in Budapest after failing to resolve a dispute with the government over a new law that appeared to require it to open a branch in the United States. Central European University is accredited in Hungary and the United States…For 18 months, we have defended our right to remain as a U.S. degree-granting institution in Budapest, but we are unable to secure the guarantees we need from the Hungarian government to preserve our academic freedom,” the university’s president, Michael Ignatieff, said at a news conference in the Hungarian capital. Mr. Ignatieff said that the university’s central operations would be moved to Vienna.”

US Ambassador David Cornstein expressed displeasure with the Hungarian actions. We urge him to put the Orbán government on notice and make it clear that forcing the closure of CEU, a US accredited institution will seriously damage Hungarian-US relations. I can assure Amb. Cornstein that the vast majority of Hungarian Americans support CEU and are appalled by the actions of the Orbán government.

Here are some photos of the award winning building.

György Lázár

CEU Budapest

CEU Budapest

CEU Budapest

22 Comments

  1. No one asks the question why are other foreign university have no problem operating in Hungary? CEU has been against obeying the laws. CEU did not make it in the top 500 universities. Think before condemning the Hungarian government.

    • In 2017, the last year I could find data for, CEU ranked 160 in Europe and in the top 350 globally. For such a young institution, that is very impressive. Also, both rankings are higher than any other Hungarian university.

      CEU is in compliance with a law that targeted them. They did all the government asked.

      Think before posting complete nonsense.

      https://www.ceu.edu/article/2017-06-21/ceu-ranked-among-top-200-universities-europe-times-higher-education

      • Yes, we discussed the value of CEU before. You keep repeating the same, so I should remind you of some of that conversation then as well. I do not dispute that CEU is good at what it does. But what it does has little use to society on balance, nor is it a service to the students who attend. Yes, there are a few examples of CEU graduates in high positions. But overall most graduates are useless to society. No doctors, engineers, nurses, geologists, physicists, dentists, biologists, chemists and so on and so on. Ideological agitators on the other hand? They produce them by the campus load!

        “But wait” you said, “they do applied mathematics”. Now forgive me, sometimes I forget I am dealing with an academic, so I neglect relating the real world to you. I worked as a project supervisor in construction for a number of years. Among other things, I used to submit an average of five Engineer Judgement requests per week. Never to a person who studied applied mathematics, but to actual engineers. Legislation demands it! Similarly, I dealt with building safety inspectors on a regular basis, they were all architects, not mathematicians of any kind. Again, legislation demands it. So what is the under-employment rate of people studying applied mathematics? My guess is that it is very high. This might help you better understand:

        https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/is-an-applied-mathematics-major-marketable-for-a-job.571599/

        Now, my personal opinion of all Western higher ed institutions is that their primary goal has become ideological indoctrination of the students, and thus of society through them, with the useful aspect to society and to the students themselves, actually being in second place. But in the case of CEU, the secondary aspect is missing altogether.

        • Reality Check says:

          Yeah yeah yeah all we need is engineers, doctors, etc. Never mind that applied mathematics is required for work in medical imaging device design, earthquake detection methods, hurricane prediction, etc., etc. Just because you didn’t need them in construction , doesn’t mean their degrees are not useful in some other field. There’s a whole real world out there that Joe seems to know little about and I as a supposedly “cloistered” academic do. In academia, I have been exposed to how knowledge from many fields can be applied in diverse areas of the human enterprise. Joe cannot imagine how fields he knows little to nothing about might enrich and improve the human experience. What a boring little world he must live in to think that human knowledge should only progress along routes that apply to traditional applied vocations. And what do institutions of higher learning do if not study and try and understand the real world.

          Joe posted a bulletin board thread by some applied mathematicians who were complaining about poor job prospects. Look at the date of the thread – 2012 – during a recession. One of the comments in that thread included this “Also, it is well know that at the moments jobs are particularly difficult to find, particularly for young people with little or no work experience. Any anecdotal evidence should be carefully considered.” This was true of all fields at the time and there were many people with what Joe would consider useful degrees who were unable to find work.

          https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/is-an-applied-mathematics-major-marketable-for-a-job.571599/

          An applied mathematics degree can get you jobs in:

          Academic institutions and research institutes
          Aerospace and transportation equipment manufacturers or service providers
          Analytics and forecasting organizations
          Chemical or pharmaceutical manufacturers
          Communications services providers
          Computer information and software firms; established or start-ups
          Consumer products companies
          Energy systems firms
          Electronics and computer manufacturers
          Engineering research organizations
          Financial service and investment management firms
          Government labs, research offices and agencies
          Insurance companies
          Medical device companies
          Producers of petroleum and petroleum products

          https://www.siam.org/Students-Education/Programs-Initiatives/Thinking-of-a-Career-in-Applied-Mathematics

          Here’s another 10 career paths for applied mathematicians: https://www.zippia.com/applied-mathematics-major/

          I also know that applied mathematicians can work in modeling of wildlife populations, ecosystems processes, climate, and other areas where math is applied to analyzing and predicting the behavior of complex systems.

          Joe you always say demonstratively false things. Spare yourself the embarrassment and do some background research. Then maybe you wouldn’t do something stupid like disparaging an applied mathematics degree.

          • “An applied mathematics degree can get you jobs in:”

            Key word is “can”. Yes they could, but the question here is how likely it is that they will?

            For pretty much any CEU degree you can write a long list of “can”. But then if you look at under employment for most of those fields…..

          • “But then if you look at under employment for most of those fields…..” But Joe didn’t.

            Fields with higher underemployment rates than Mathematics, include: Biology, Chemistry, Biochemsitry, and Physics.

            Seems you CAN do a lot with a math degree.

            Majors that have higher underemployment than Ethnic Studies, Sociology, History, Political Science, Psychology, Philosophy include: Marketing, Business Management, and General Business.

            Source: Jan. 2018, U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (IPUMS).

          • “But Joe didn’t.”

            Yes Joe did! He did not claim that there are no degrees with higher under-employment than those offered by CEU, but rather that none of the fields CEU offers make it on to the list where there is low under-employment, such as engineering or nursing for instance.

            Furthermore I also mentioned usefulness to society. Medical research graduates face some of the highest rates of under employment. Having said that, the ones who do get employed have a much more important contribution to society in my view than those who get a degree in gender studies and get employed for instance. There is a difference between helping treat cancer through R&D breakthroughs and finding new gender classifications to annoy the rest of society with. “Good news folks, we identified trans-Asians on the East coast, which we can name differently from trans-Asians on the West coast. Everyone celebrate and rejoice!”

            Meanwhile, in China they are celebrating the inauguration of the longest bridge on earth, implementing their Eurasian trillion dollar transport route plan and so on.

          • Muhhh, because the CEU is in Hungary, China can build the largest bridge in the world … muhhh … Joe, when the Jews were deported by Horthy’s aliens police to Kamenetz-Podolsk, there were also Hungarians. Maybe China has given the order or blackmailed Horthy with Chinese economic output. Once again, can you explain the connection between your taxation paid in Hungary and your associated right to withdraw studies?

        • Joe I think you are too stupid to decide which study or which university has a right to exist. At the time of the year 1200, free cities started to build schools, because the one and only schools were From/in churches, amen. … it had something to do with math.

          • 1) If schools & tuition are government-funded, then taxpayers through their representatives have a right to say what should or should not exist.

            2) CEU is of course not government funded, but it should still be subject to rules of the land. In this case, it is not.

          • In Hungary there are no rights concerning this!
            How much tax do you pay in Hungary?
            Ceauşescu had every right on his side!
            Why do we have every right to criticize Hungary and the Hungarians?

        • Idiot and/or a liar.
          (Can’t draw a clear line since some statements are so outlandish as to suggest mental condition)

    • First they change the law in such a way that it perfectly fits to make the CEU, and only the CEU, illegal, then they say that the CEU is not obeying the law, then, after the CEU obliges to the new law, they simply refuse to sign a new agreement with them. Makes perfect sense. Think again before defending the government.

  2. This time I did not mention Constitutional government, nor individual liberties, only the commonsense of negotiating with the government, whenever somebody hope to achieve whatever ,but as it seems even that is a forbidden here on this so called “free press”. Yeah, extremism has no limits !

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      As usual, you are ill-informed and your comments are banal. This is the last comment of yours that I will permit to appear under this article.

  3. StrandedinSopron says:

    ” CEU did not make it in the top 500 universities.”

    The Fidesz zombies on here and elsewhere don’t even attempt to deal with facts anymore. It is consistently the highest Hungarian based university in international rankings
    Try this for starters:
    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/central-european-university

  4. Váci Klebelsberg Kultúrkör says:

    Why does not open in the US a University Mr Soros ? That way will not be any obstacles to keep the legal teaching activity in Hungary .
    It is very clear that they are illegaly active in Hungary.
    What’s your problem with that case ? Should be they “more equal” ?

  5. StrandedinSopron says:

    “Why does not open in the US a University Mr Soros ? That way will not be any obstacles to keep the legal teaching activity in Hungary .”

    Central European University fulfilled the final condition set by the Orbán government by launching classes at its New York partner institute. Is there another “hidden” condition set for the CEU that only you and your fellow Orbanists are aware of?

    “It is very clear that they are illegaly active in Hungary.”

    Clearly not:

    “Thanks to a cooperation agreement concluded last October with the New York-based Bard College , the university founded by George Soros launched its first accredited course on economic matters at the Bard campus. With this the Budapest institution has fulfilled the requirements of the Hungarian higher education law, notoriously known as Lex CEU, according to which only foreign universities with campuses in the country of their origin can operate in Hungary.”

  6. Stranded
    Reality Check et al

    You did extensively lay out the facts to counter the never ending Fidesznik lies and misrepresentations, call it a day, they are totally impervious to evidence and logical argument.
    Orbàn is worse than the proverbial gypsy horse trader – there’s no too brazen lie he won’t say, he’ll waste everyone’s time for months and then brushing all aside, he just won’t sign the agreement with the NY State. Felcsùtia!

    • “You did extensively lay out the facts”

      If he/she/zee would have argued that the moon is made of cheese and greedy Orban will steal it and eat it, you would have still agreed with him. It is called ideological bias.

      • What you are doing Joe is called submission or lie or stupidity … at least nothing that has anything to do with reality.

  7. StrandedinSopron says:

    “You did extensively lay out the facts to counter the never ending Fidesznik lies and misrepresentations, call it a day, they are totally impervious to evidence and logical argument”

    I do wonder sometimes about the mental process taking place inside the typical Orbanist mind. Taking down their arguments is liking aiming the AK47 at the metaphorical fish in a barrel- I didn’t have to break sweat here proving their arguments against CEU were complete nonsense.

    But you know what is the seriously disturbing thing? Logic and reason no longer matter in Orban’s State. Viktor Bacsi tells some neni in Borsodi County that there is an Afghan rascal waiting just outside the village to steal her chickens and she will believe him. Tell me how we combat that kind of *thinking*?

    While she trembles in her bed every night worrying about the muslim hordes massing on the Hun/Serb border, her relatives and friends are literally dying in the real world because the regime believes that soccer stadium expansion is more important than investing in the health system. Again, how do we get her to look at what is exactly happening around her?

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