#IstandwithCEU – Unterstützungsschreiben für die Central European University Budapest
Angesichts der Bedrohung des Fortbestandes der Central European University Budapest durch eine geplante Änderung des ungarischen Hochschulgesetzes (siehe Berichte in österreichischen Medien) hat der Direktor des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung namens des Instituts und sämtlicher Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter das nachstehende Unterstützungsschreiben an den ungarischen „Minister of Human Capacities“ (sic!) gerichtet. Die Geste ist Teil einer internationalen Solidaritätsaktion unter Beteiligung zahlreicher wissenschaftlicher Institutionen, Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler.
Vienna, 1st April, 2017
Mr. Zoltán Balog
Minister of Human Capacities
1054 Budapest, Akadémia utca 3.
Dear Minister Balog,
In my name and in the name of my colleagues at the Institute of Austrian Historical Research (Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung) at the University of Vienna, as concerned citizens and academics (professors, lecturers, researchers, research-fellows and doctoral students – see: http://geschichtsforschung.univie.ac.at/ueber-uns/), I’m writing to express my and our solidarity with Central European University and also to express our concern at certain proposed legislative changes to CEU’s status in Hungary. These changes would endanger the academic freedom vital for CEU’s continued operation in Budapest, it would strike a blow against the academic freedom that enables all universities to flourish. The implementation of such acts would make the operation of an excellent intellectual centre of Central and East Central Europe impossible, and that would be a great loss not only for Hungary, but also for the other countries of the region and for many Master and PhD students from all over the world.
CEU is a very important scientific institution of higher education both on regional, European and global level. In twenty-five years, it has established itself as a private international university with a global reputation for teaching and research in the humanities and the social sciences. In international rankings, some of CEU’s departments are rated among the top 50 in the world. CEU also makes Hungary a regional leader in winning highly competitive European Research Council grants. Several of its faculty, in fields as various as Medieval Studies, Department of History, Network and Cognitive Science, have won the most prestigious awards in their disciplines, while on the other hand, from the knowledge of the former students other universities, among them also the University of Vienna and other academic institutions in Vienna, profited and hopefully will further profit in the future, too.
In addition, CEU is a valued member of the international academic community and its presence in Hungary has added to the reputation of Hungarian academic life on the international stage. The government’s proposed legislation to alter its statute of operation in Hungary would compromise its academic freedom and set a dangerous precedent for academic life in other countries.
My colleagues and I, we respectfully urge the government to withdraw the tabled law (or amendment) and enter consultations with CEU, bearing in mind the damage such legislation might do to Hungary’s well-founded international academic reputation. (Several of my colleagues as well as I myself for many years have been and still are in close contact with highly estimated Hungarian researchers and university teachers.) We sincerely hope that the parties involved can find a satisfactory solution enabling a smooth further operation for the university in Budapest.
In the name of the whole community of the Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung at the University of Vienna,