Dear SPP Students,

I would like to welcome all new students and all returning students to the School of Public Policy at CEU for the 2019–20 academic year. It is a pleasure to welcome you to witness the beginning of the School’s transition to a new home in Vienna. These will be challenging years ahead. And by choosing to come to CEU for your graduate education you have already shown your true support and commitment to the values of a liberal education that CEU seeks to promote.

This year will be a difficult one for everyone at CEU. Hungarian government legislation concerning foreign universities—now known as Lex-CEU—is regarded worldwide as an attempt to silence and shut down our University.

In the past two years, CEU students, faculty, alumni, staff and friends from all around the globe—including leading Hungarian and international scholars, Nobel prize winners, presidents, prime ministers, and various other dignitaries—have all raised their voices in defense of academic freedom, and in support of our University.

This academic year will call yet again for the resilience of everyone in the university community to rejuvenate the CEU project. It will be tough. There will be complaints. But we are in this together.

Like many of you, I am starting at CEU this academic year, after nearly a decade working in Australia. You may not know that I have a long history with CEU. I first joined the University in 2004 as the Foundation Professor in Public Policy to establish the new graduate teaching program in Public Policy launched in 2005. A few years later, I was invited to be co-chair of the university committee established to create the SPP.

Over a decade ago, that committee outlined four key aspirations for the School. The idea was to build upon the achievements of the rapidly growing Department of Public Policy and its sister research Center for Policy Studies.

  1. The approach of the School is not simply to nurture respect for diverse cultures and opinions, human rights, constitutional government, and the rule of law. These aims must be translated into concrete policies, draft legislation, effective governance networks and sound administrative conduct alongside institutionalized standards of public integrity.
  2. The objective of the School is to improve and increase research, teaching and training capacity in public policy by attracting some of the worlds’ leading policy theorists and public administration specialists to the School.
  3. The School will facilitate substantive and sustainable engagements between CEU and the Open Society Foundations network, as well as with other civil society organizations.
  4. The School will seek to be a scholarly vehicle for high-level research in, and the theory development of, the policy sciences.

These aspirations remain important today and inform not only our teaching but also underpin the diverse array of relationships that the School and its faculty develop with institutions and scholars throughout Europe and the world.

These aspirations apply equally to the kinds of interactions that we hope you might also be able to develop through your educational experience at CEU but we also expect you to study hard and excel in your academic endeavors.

The new horizon of a home in Vienna—as difficult as the transition will be—holds very great promise for the advancement of CEU. You are important players in this project. Once you graduate, we anticipate that you will also be alumni ambassadors aiding the future success of the University.

Along with my colleagues in the School, I wish you an adventurous 2019/2020 academic year with SPP.

Diane Stone
Acting Dean

School of Public Policy,
Central European University