Newsletter - April, 2018

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Warm greetings from your Political Science Department at CEU. I am not going to write you about CEU’s ongoing struggle with the political situation in Hungary as you have received the news from the Rector, I rather send you some more personalized news about the department.

Let me thank you for your support and help in attracting the next generation of talented PolSci students – I am happy to report that although we feared a drop in our application numbers due to the turbulent times CEU experiences, we have had a good pool of applicants from more than 50 countries. We are still in the midst of the application cycle, yet we have already 45 new students – representing more than 20 countries – who confirmed their place in our programs.

2018 is also the year when our colleague Anton Pelinka retires. Anton has been an integral part of the department for many years and we celebrate him with a workshop organized to honor him. Mark your calendars and join us if you can, the event takes place on May 28 and just follow our website for more news. We are also hiring a junior faculty to join and teach at Nationalism and PolSci, specializing in the politics of ethnically divided societies and another faculty in Political Communication so we look forward to some exciting news on the hires soon.

On June 28-29, the department will host an undergraduate conference on Social Media – Threat or Opportunity for Democracy in the Post-truth Era? Please share our call to your students if you are in a teaching position, just followthis link.

Last but not least, we are excited about the upcoming Alumni weekend at CEU. We hope to see many of you at the events, so let me just draw your attention to our departmental Alumni Coffee House – we have booked the roof terrace, the best place on Campus to have an informal chat on May 4, 2018, 17:30. Just follow this link to register.

Thank you very much for everything – and, please, do not forget: we always love to hear from you.

With warmest regards,

Zoltan Miklosi
Associate Professor of Political Science
Head of Department

It is our tradition to forward you messages of our faculty members. This time, 'meet again' János Kis, founder of the CEU Political Science Department, and its Head between 1992 and 2000.

"Dear Friends,

In the ’90s, I taught core MA courses, and so those of you who are alumni from that distant period, certainly know me. After the Ph.D. program in Political Science was launched, I began to focus on Ph.D. courses; therefore, most of you who graduated in the 2000s haven’t met me.

In the last couple of years, many changes, small and big, occurred in and around our Department. Last year we elected Zoltán Miklósi for Head of the Department. For those who don’t know him, Zoltán is a political philosopher affiliated with CEU for about 10 years. He is an excellent leader, with a clear understanding for how an academic community as diverse as ours can flourish. He is also someone with much empathy and with a capacity to exercise authority in a mild and amicable manner. Parallel to his election for Head of the Department, our colleague Andrés Moles was appointed as Director of the Doctoral School. The leadership change occurred precisely when we realized that it is time to revisit our teaching programs with a fresh eye. This is a fortunate coincidence, and I am sure that the Political Science curriculum will be significantly renewed in the coming years.

Let me report you on a university-wide series of events that you can follow on CEU’s YouTube website. Since the beginning of the previous academic year, a series of President’s lectures on the open society and its present troubles is going on at the CEU. Among the speakers, there are some CEU professors, such as Michael Ignatieff himself, Tim Crane, a philosopher who gave up his position as a Department Head in Cambridge, UK in order to join the CEU, and András Sajó, a legal scholar and former Vice-Chair of the European Court of Human Rights. But we have regular guest speakers, too, including Jan-Werner Müller and Cas Mudde, leading researchers of contemporary populism, the historian and expert on freedom of expression, Timothy Garton Ash, or Thomas Piketty, the economist and author of Capital in the 21st Century, a celebrated (and controversial) work on economic inequality. All these talks raise important topical issues, and their echo reverberates through the Budapest academic and wider intellectual community. But their single most important role is to contribute to common university-wide thinking and to the development of a shared cultural capital, distinctive of our university.

You may want to hear about the future of CEU in Budapest. I guess you are aware of the main facts: an agreement has been reached between the Hungarian government and the Education Authorities of the State of New York which is waiting for the PM to sign and table it to Parliament for ratification.

Currently, CEU is in negotiations with the City of Vienna to enable us to open a satellite campus there. The academic profile of that campus is a work-in-progress, the Rector just has called on the CEU community to contribute to common thinking on what university activities are appropriate to pursue there. At the same time, he assured the students and the faculty that “our commitment to Budapest does not change, and we continue to hope to secure our long-term future in Hungary through the New York State-Government of Hungary draft agreement”.

These are not vain hopes. As you probably know, the European Commission filed a lawsuit against the government of Hungary at the European Court of Justice on ‘lex CEU’. It takes some time until the EJC meets a decision, but we have the determination to continue our activities in Budapest, so that the decision will find us here, whatever.

All my best,