Canada’s ambassador to Hungary issues statement on endangered academic freedom

Isabelle Poupart, Canada’s ambassador to Hungary, issued what was perhaps the most unequivocal statement yet from the Government of Canada on the Orbán regime’s attacks against academic freedom and its on-going attempt to shut down Central European University. The Budapest regime’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, summoned Ambassador Poupart, asserting that the Canadian diplomat made “false accusations” and adding that the new law on higher education is not only meant to impact “George Soros’s school.” Again, as we have seen so many times before, regime officials are not willing to call CEU by its name. We are sharing Ambassador Poupart’s statement below.

Isabelle Poupart

Canada is seriously concerned by amendments that stand to endanger academic freedom in Hungary and the operations of the Central European University [CEU]. While we welcome the commitment of Hungarian leaders on Saturday to engage about amendments to the education law, we urge them to quickly move from words to meaningful action.

In Hungary and abroad we have witnessed strong and sustained mobilization in support of academic freedom and the CEU. In Canada, academics and educational institutions such as the University of Alberta, University of Quebec in Montréal, University of Toronto, Western University, and the Canadian Association of University Teachers, have expressed their concern for the future of the CEU. As a long-time friend and ally of Hungary, Canada encourages a constructive dialogue that could pave the way for a timely and effective resolution of this issue.

The CEU is an institution of great international repute and includes a number of Canadian students and faculty in its academic community, comprising people from 130 nations. Canada strongly supports the essential role that universities, NGOs and a free press play in fostering open, prosperous, inclusive and democratic societies.

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