Scholars resign from Hungarian Academy of Sciences after opposition paper shut down

Professor Stevan Harnad of the Université du Québec à Montréal and a founding member of the Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter, resigned as External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia), after Népszabadság, Hungary’s largest opposition daily newspaper, was shut down by the country’s repressive Orbán regime. Professor Harnad’s resignation follows that of the Dr. Thomas Jovin, of Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany). We are sharing Professor Harnad’s resignation letter below.

Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Dear Professor Lovasz,

For some time now I too had contemplated taking the same step as the one Professor Jovin has just taken.

As time goes by and Viktor Orbán keeps dragging Hungary lower and lower with his shameful, shameless depredations on her remaining material and moral resources as well as her historic integrity and legacy, one feels more and more like a collaborator and accomplice if one does not openly dissent.

So I too hereby resign as External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on October 8 2016, with immediate effect.

The Academy, with its proud and independent past, is not honoured by our cleaving to it despite the fact that it is giving no more sign of resisting Orban’s forced-march toward tyranny than other fellow-travellers.

Living outside Hungary, I do not have the right to judge what the Internal Membership of the Academy — the ones that face the dangers of Orban’s vengefulness if they dissent — ought to do.

But I hope that other external members will see fit to make the historical response that Orban’s unopposed outrages mandate.


Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Université du Québec à Montréal
University of Southampton

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