The Flying University


How the CEU made its way from Prague to Budapest to Vienna in thirty years, and what it says about Central Europe today On April 8, 1990 in Bratislava, the leaders of three Central European countries endorsed the idea of a new educational institution, which would transcend national borders and the constraints of history, tradition and prejudice. A year later, in April 1991, the Central European University started operating in Prague and later that year in Budapest. Five years later, in 1996, the Prague branch of CEU, feeling unwelcome in the Czech Republic, relocated to Budapest. In 2018, after the Hungarian government and parliament passed legislation that was widely perceived as discriminatory with respect to the CEU, the bulk of the school relocated again, this time to Vienna. Both its history and its present, which are illustrative of some of the broader developments and problems of the Central European area, will be the subject of a panel discussion with three past and present rectors of the University and a Czech sociologist who made it the subject of her scholarly work. ● Michael Ignatieff - President and Rector 2016 - , Canadian author, academic and former politician ● John Shattuck - President and Rector, 2009 - 2016, international legal scholar and human rights leader, former US Ambassador to Prague ● Josef Jařab - President and Rector, 1997 - 1999, academician, American scholar, literary historian, translator, former senator. ● Tereza Pospíšilová - Czech sociologist and CEU alumna, author of “Different from the others: Central European University in Prague, 1990 – 1996” and other publications on the subject. Moderator: Michael Žantovský, Executive Director, Václav Havel Library The program will be streamed live in English on the Havel Channel.


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