Janos Kis in New Position at the Democracy Institute
May 8, 2020
Janos Kis, who was part of forming CEU and founding our department, decided to continue his work at the Democracy Institute of CEU. We will sorely miss Janos and his classes at department. Please read his farewell letter:
This is going to be a sentimental letter. For almost 30 years, the Political Science Department was my institutional home and it was more than that. I had the once-in-a-life opportunity to take part in the launching of this Department, imagining its curriculum, and recruiting the first cohorts of students. And, then, I had the privilege of being there as the Department was getting consolidated and developed into an internationally recognized unit of teaching and research. But now a momentous transformation is waiting for the Department, more momentous than any of the changes it was undergoing since 1992, the year of its founding. I hope its “old” academic culture and sense of mission will not be completely disappearing, but its identity is very likely to undergo quite radical changes.
Some of you may think it natural that what is waiting in the wings will not be my story anymore. I am not sure whether this is the case, and it is certainly not the case that the expectations make me desirous not to be there when the Department will be groping towards its new and different identity.
When it became clear that we are forced out of Hungary, the perspective of moving to Vienna confronted all of us with a hard choice, everyone in their own way, and I had my dilemma, too. Yet my first instinct was to go where CEU goes. It was only later that doubts began to gather in me on whether I would be able to make the move. The epidemic changed those doubts into certainty. In the foreseeable future I will be locked up in my apartment, and what comes after is what we don’t foresee. So I had to decide, against my wishes, to remain in Budapest.
Last week I informed about my decision the leadership of the university and received as a response a generous offer to stay affiliated with CEU as a researcher at the newly founded Democracy Institute (DI, as you probably know, will be operating in Budapest). I am hopeful that in this way, although I won’t belong to the Department’s faculty, neither will I be separated from you.
I am proud that I was a member of this exceptional community, and grateful to the colleagues for their solidarity and the invaluable intellectual input they provided to my thinking, the administrators for their readiness at all times to give me assistance, and the students and alumni for what I have learned from them while pretending to teach them.
All my best wishes,