Vienna, January 2021
CEU begins the year in lockdown, both in Vienna and in Budapest. Yet faculty and students continue to teach and research, as actively as ever. Our students, from 120 countries, are studying with us online in their dorms and apartments or overseas in their home locations. Our faculty are delivering their courses from their homes and we are all making the most of digital learning, while waiting for the day when we can get back to the face-to-face contact that a university lives for. Our staff have kept the university operating through a tough year of lockdown and the move from Budapest to Vienna. I’m grateful to every member of our community for pulling together through this period of trial.
Right now, students from around the world are applying—in robust numbers—to study with us next year and soon departments will be picking students for our classes next year, as well as identifying candidates for scholarships and tuition awards. We’re particularly pleased by the application numbers for our undergraduate programs.
Yours truly has returned to his roots as a historian of ideas and I’ve finished a book called On Consolation: Finding Solace in Hard Times. It’s a study of the great works of art and literature, --for example, the Psalms, Dante’s Paradiso, Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, Montaigne’s Essays, Camus’ The Plague-- that have consoled men and women when faced with loss, disappointment and tragedy. It’s been inspiring—and consoling—to discover how resilient and resourceful our forebears were in living through times just as dark as the ones we’ve experienced in the past year.
Welcome to this site, and as always, I’d be happy to hear from you.
Illiberal Democracy and Threats to Academic Freedom in Europe, Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, University of Alberta, April 30, 2021
The World’s New Divisions, Open Eyes Economy Summit 2020, November 17, 2020
How do we advance human rights amid growing nationalism, misinformation and mistrust?, Kaldor Center for International Refugee Law Virtual Conference 2020, November 17, 2020
Democracy in America: Reflections on the 2020 Elections, CEU Democracy Institute, November 16, 2020
Democracy and Human Rights: The New Challenges, University of Vienna, Vienna Master of Arts in Human Rights Graduation Ceremony, October 5, 2020
How Democracies End, Kreisky Forum, March 4, 2020
Global Perspectives: the state of liberal democracy in the age of social media, The British Academy, February 13, 2020
Michael Ignatieff on the future of democracy, Bennett Institute for Public Policy, Cambridge University, February 12, 2020