The Open Society University Network (OSUN) is a new global network that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge across geographic and demographic boundaries, promotes civic engagement on behalf of open societies, and expands access of underserved communities to higher education.


  • Foster critical thinking, open intellectual inquiry, and fact-based research to strengthen foundations of open society amid authoritarian resurgence.
  • Educate students to address tomorrow’s global challenges by getting to know other societies from the inside.
  • Expand access to higher education at a time of growing inequities.
  • Counteract polarization by promoting global research collaboration and educate students to examine issues from different perspectives and advance reasoned arguments.
  • Bolster efforts by universities in challenging environments to build their own capacity through global partnerships to make greater contributions to their societies.


Bard College (United States): Bard College, founded in 1860, is highly regarded fo its excellence in liberal arts and sciences teaching and its innovations in bringing high-quality education to underserved communities. Bard is a leader in forging international partnerships and integrating civic engagement and the arts across its undergraduate and graduate programs.

Central European University (Austria): The Central European University (CEU) is a graduate institution founded in 1991. Its mission is to promote open societies and democracy through advanced research and research-based teaching, primarily in the social sciences and humanities.

Educational Partners

Colleges and Universities

  1. Bangladesh: BRAC University
  2. Bulgaria: American University of Bulgaria
  3. France: Sciences Po in Paris
  4. Germany: Bard College Berlin
  5. Ghana: Ashesi University
  6. Kyrgyzstan: American University of Central Asia
  7. Lithuania: European Humanities University
  8. Palestine: Al-Quds University/Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences
  9. United Kingdom: Birkbeck University of London
  10. United Kingdom: SOAS University of London
  11. United States: Arizona State University
  12. Vietnam: Fulbright University of Vietnam

Research Institutions and Educational Organizations

  1. Austria: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen
  2. Hungary: Open Society Archives
  3. Kenya: Rift Valley Institute
  4. United Kingdom: Chatham House
  5. United States and United Kingdom: Institute for New Economic Thinking
  6. United States: Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
  7. United States: The Talloires Network

George Soros (Davos 23 January 2020)

“I believe that as a long-term strategy our best hope lies in access to quality education, specifically an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom.

30 years ago I set up an educational institution that does exactly that. It is called the Central European University (CEU) and its mission is to advance the values of the open society.

During these 30 years, CEU emerged as one of the hundred best graduate universities in the world in the social sciences. It has also become one of the most international universities, with students from 120 countries and a faculty coming from more than 50 countries. In recent years CEU gained a global reputation for defending academic freedom against Victor Orban, Hungary’s ruler, who is hell bent on destroying it.

CEU brings together students and faculty representing very different cultures and traditions who listen to each other and debate with each other. CEU has demonstrated that active civic engagement can be combined with academic excellence.

Yet, CEU is not strong enough by itself to become the educational institution the world needs. That requires a new kind of global educational network.

Fortunately, we also have the building blocks for creating such a network: CEU and Bard College in the US are already long-term partners. CEU is a graduate institution, and Bard an innovative, mainly undergraduate liberal arts college. Both have been supported by the Open Society Foundations and encouraged to offer a helping hand to other universities and colleges worldwide. Bard and CEU have developed an array of successful relationships in the less developed parts of the world.

The time has come for OSF to embark on an ambitious plan to build on this foundation a new and innovative educational network that the world really needs. It will be called the Open Society University Network or OSUN for short.

OSUN will be unique. It will offer an international platform for teaching and research. In the first phase it will connect closer together an existing network. In the second phase, we shall open up this network to other institutions who want to join and are eager and qualified to do so.

To demonstrate that the idea is practical, we have already implemented the first phase. We are holding common classes for students from several universities located in different parts of the world, sharing faculty and conducting joint research projects in which people from many universities collaborate.

OSUN will continue in the footsteps of CEU and Bard in seeking to reach places in need of high quality education and in serving neglected populations, such as refugees, incarcerated people, the Roma and other displaced peoples like the Rohingya. OSUN, is ready to start a massive “scholars at risk” program, connecting a large number of academically excellent but politically endangered scholars with this new global network and each other.

CEU is already part of a network of European universities of the social sciences called CIVICA, which is led by Sciences Po in Paris and includes the London School of Economics. CIVICA has won a competition sponsored by the European Union requiring members of the consortium to cooperate not only in education but also in civic and international outreach. OSUN through CEU and Bard has already pioneered in these fields and we hope that members of CIVICA will become interested in joining OSUN – creating a truly global network.

To demonstrate our commitment to OSUN, we are contributing one billion dollars to it. But we can’t build a global network on our own; we will need partner institutions and supporters from all around the world to join us in this enterprise.

We are looking for farsighted partners who feel a responsibility for the future of our civilization, people who are inspired by the goals of OSUN and want to participate in its design and realization. 

I consider OSUN the most important and enduring project of my life and I should like to see it implemented while I am still around. I hope that those who share this vision will join us in making it a reality.

 CIVICA (the European University of Social Sciences) Members

  • Bocconi University (Italy)
  • Central European University (Hungary)
  • European University Institute (European Intergovernmental Organization)
  • Hertie School of Governance (Germany)
  • National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (Romania)
  • Sciences Po (France)
  • Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden)
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom) Associate Partner

CIVICA will connect 38,000 students coming from across Europe and from all over the world to a community of 7,000 faculty members and some 3,000 administrative staff. CIVICA will unite leading European higher education institutions in the social sciences, the humanities, business management and public policy to create a broad European inter-university campus that links teaching and learning, research and innovation, and mobilize society at large across cultural, linguistic, and national borders.


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