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CEU Responds to the Pandemic

D&T
March 24, 2020

In a message to the public, the President and Rector of the Central European University (CEU), Michael Ignatieff explains that with its highly international student body, CEU is facing the extraordinary challenge of supporting students from over 100 countries in their efforts to either return home while the institution’s campuses in Vienna and Budapest are closed, or shelter in place if they are unable to do so. The latter applies to the vast majority of CEU students.

“Ensuring the wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff is our foremost priority, and we are working around the clock to protect our community by providing regular public safety communications, medical support, food service, technology, and temporary housing for students in isolation. While the level of support CEU can provide institutionally varies with evolving regulations, as we have done so well in past, our community has again banded together to pool resources, from sharing translations of vital news to volunteers delivering food to those in quarantine,” he writes.

He points out that at the same time, CEU remains committed to enabling its students to fulfill their degree requirements. The school has moved all teaching online and are adjusting to the new reality where students need to change planned internships and field work and seek alternative research sources when physical materials have become difficult to access. “We are finding creative solutions to address this, including a special online hub made available by our Blinken Open Society Archives for CEU researchers in addition to their terrific public digital repository,” he states.

He reiterates that “in these times where new walls are being built, our open society mission is more urgent than ever before. We know there are difficult times ahead. We will face new challenges to openness, public policy, and rule of law, which our distinguished faculty, alumni, and students in their future careers will be at the forefront of unraveling. CEU must remain a source of support – and we hope, inspiration – for open and democratic societies that respect human rights and human dignity. This work is made possible by supporters like you.”

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