Central European University

Central European University (CEU) is a private research university accredited in Austria, Hungary, and the United States, with campuses in Vienna and Budapest. The university is known for its strength in the social sciences and humanities, low student-faculty ratio, and international student body.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] A central tenet of the university's mission is the promotion of open societies, as a result of its close association with the Open Society Foundations.[16] CEU is one of eight members comprising the CIVICA Alliance, a group of European higher education institutions in the social sciences, humanities, business management and public policy, such as Sciences Po (France), The London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), and the Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden).[17]

Central European University
Latin: Universitas Europae Centralis
TypePrivate research university
FounderGeorge Soros
Endowment$880 million[1]
PresidentShalini Randeria
ProvostLiviu Matei
RectorShalini Randeria
Academic staff
357 (2018-19)[2]
Administrative staff
775 (2018-19)[2]
Students1,320 (2018-19)[3]
Postgraduates875 (2018-19) [4]
445 (2018-19) [4]
ColorsTurquoise  [5]

CEU was founded in 1991 by hedge fund manager, political activist, and billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who provided it with an $880 million endowment, making the university one of the wealthiest in Europe, especially on a per-student basis.[1][18] The university was founded in Central Europe because of a perceived need for an independent and international university for the region, in light of the fall of the Socialist Bloc and concomitant democratisation.[19][20]

The university is composed of 13 academic departments and 17 research centers, in addition to the School of Public Policy and the Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations.[21] CEU's alumni include notable politicians, academics, and activists, such as former President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili[22] and Lívia Járóka,[23] the first Romani woman ever elected to the European Parliament. CEU was the highest-ranked university in Hungary before it was forced to leave the country.[24]

On 3 December 2018, CEU announced it would cease operations in Budapest and relocate to Vienna after the Hungarian government's refusal to sign an agreement allowing the university to continue operations in Hungary. This withdrawal is the result of a long legal battle between the university and Viktor Orbán's government, and is set in the wider context of contemporary Hungarian politics. This situation has invited discourse regarding academic freedom in Hungary, and spurred widespread protests in favour of CEU.[25][26][27][28] On 6 October 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled that the "lex CEU" legislation, drawn up by the Hungarian government, was incompatible with European Union law.[24][29]