Central European University was founded in 1991 with the explicit aim of helping the process of transition from dictatorship to democracy in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. George Soros, CEU’s founder and honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees, has been a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years. CEU is among the many institutions that his philanthropy has been instrumental in creating.

An International University

The university was first imagined by a group of intellectuals who gathered in Dubrovnic to discuss the need for an open university where the future leaders of nations in transition might be trained. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s the idea grew and took shape.

In its first decade, CEU sought to contribute to innovative academic research, progressive higher education and the development of dynamic, sustainable open society primarily in the former “socialist” countries. These aims all in step with promoting the values of open societies – remain fundamental, but CEU’s mission has become global with attention to emerging democracies worldwide.

Looking forward, CEU's strategic plan envisions new and innovative ways to organize research, strengthen links with local communities, expand outreach activities designed to empower Roma and other disadvantaged groups, and develop new academic opportunities through the Business School and School of Public Policy.