Billionaire George Soros, the author of many color revolutions around the world while commonly being referred to as a “philanthropist” in the West, is engaging in a new effort to spread the ideas of his “Open Society.” This time, he is launching a global university network in which he invests at least a billion dollars.
The project, which is called the Open Society University Network (OSUN), will unite various universities and educational institutions around the world.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Soros opposed the rise of “authoritarian rulers” around the world and stated that the new university network will promote “freedom of speech and diversity of belief.” It will also create a “massive scholars-at-risk” programme, and it will connect “academically excellent but politically endangered scholars” with the network and each other, Soros added.
Ideas and goals of the OSUN
This network will integrate various educational institutions, provide programmes for students, and most importantly, engage young people in political activism.
OSUN is “a new model of global higher education,” the website reads.
Ideologically, the network is committed to promoting the “values of open society” and is directed toward fighting the growing populist movement and many of its representatives, including US president Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, also targeting issued based populist endeavors such as Brexit.
What will OSUN teach?
– critical thinking development
– opposition to authoritarian regimes
– combating inequalities in educational opportunities – including for prisoners, Roma and refugees
– embedding civic engagement in the learning environment
– preparing students to become “engaged,” “global” and well-versed in “21st Century the ideas and practices.”
– youth leadership training
– virtual communication between students and teachers from several universities
– a new model of global higher education
– bringing researchers from around the world together to solve global problems
– regular events such as the “Get Engaged” conference
The Soros academic network has big plans to expand its influence. As noted in the project,
“With a geographically and demographically global network, OSUN will stretch from Bangladesh and Central Asia to the Palestinian territories, from South Africa to Colombia, and from leading universities and research institutes in Europe and the United States to New York State prisons to inner city high schools in Baltimore and Newark to Syrian and Somali refugee camps.”
OSUN will create a dynamic network of different institutions that will include think tanks, museums, and art and cultural centres. OSUN will partner with Arizona State University, the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan and BRAC University in Bangladesh.
Given the close ties between Bard College and CEU with educational institutions around the world, , the initiative of Soros should be supported by Sciences Po (Paris, France), Birkbeck (London, UK), Chatham House (London, UK), SOAS University (London, UK), Ashesi University (Berekuso, Ghana), Fulbright University (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam), Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (New York, USA), the Rift Valley Institute (Nairobi, Kenya), the Institute for New Economic Thinking (New York, USA, and Oxford, UK), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), perhaps Al-Quds Bard (East Jerusalem)…OSUN may also involve the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs in New York, Chatham House in London, the Institute for New Economic Thinking in New York and Oxford, the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna, and the Rift Valley Institute in Kenya…
And that is just a small part of connections. Taking a look at the CEU official partnership page, it is clear that Soros’ networks will cover most of the planet.
Essentially, Soros decided not to build new networks, but rather to take advantage of the already established academic links between CEU and Bard college. However, the network will expand in the future, he promised. “We are looking for farsighted partner institutions who feel a responsibility for the future of our civilisation, people who are inspired by the goals of OSUN and want to participate in its realisation,” Soros said.
OSUN structure and management
The two main pillars of the new structure will be Bard College and Central European University, with Jonathan Becker and Libiu Matei appointed as responsible persons for the organizations, respectively.
If the CEU is widely known, the question arises – how did a small college, incomparable in scale to Oxford or Cambridge, become the foundation of a new global network?
Originally conceived as a theological college, it was gradually transformed into a secular, progressive institution. In 1933, under the leadership of Donald Tewksbury, the college became more secular and changed its name (from St. Stephen’s to Bard), and it finally lost its connection with religious foundations in 1944.
The new OSUN network will be led by Leon Botstein, the current chairman of the CEU board and president of Bard College in the US. Botstein is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, responsible for expanding educational programs for students.
Botstein is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Open Society Foundation as well.
According to the book “Soros: The Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire,” Susan Soros (George Soros’ ex-wife) met with Botstein and assessed his institution as quite innovative, made friends with him and sent dissidents to the campus:
“Botstein is a polymath, an aesthete and a former wunderkind, something of a throwback to the multitalented figures who impressed Soros during his years at LSE.”
Susan Soros proposed a program with a graduate center in decorative arts, providing $5 billion. Botstein agreed, but was met with a wave of criticism – many believed Soros had bought the academic position for his wife.
“Later, after he came to know Botstein, he saw no reason not to ask him to serve on his own philanthropic boards,” at which point Botstein joined the Open Society board.
Then came a big meeting in 1996, when Soros invited Botstein and seven other thinkers (from Oxford, Princeton, Harvard) to make a plan to advance the ideological and practical programs of Open Society. “After the philosophers` weekend, new components were created to expand Soros`s philanthropy in the United States,” the book continues.
Botstein was involved in scandals for dismissing teachers for criticizing Zionism – for example, Joel Kovel, the founder of eco-socialism and a prominent anti-globalist who saw globalization as a force driven by capitalism. As Kovel himself wrote, he was fired immediately after he began to voice antiZionist views openly.
Bard college’s self-proclaimed values are also worth taking a closer look at:
The college is actively engaged in political work with students: it created an entire department of the Center for civic engagement where young people are taught a liberal world view.
Many events are dedicated to the “democratization” of countries around the globe.
The university has a rather concrete political agenda. For example, it has actively opposed the “oppressive Chinese government,” including providing positive coverage of the riots in Hong Kong.
At the same time, the college teaches students to criticize “authoritarian regimes.”
Thus, from an exemplary college that received numerous awards for its quality humanitarian education, Bard has gradually become a training ground for ideological youth training. The university’s orientation toward “critical thinking” is being replaced with liberal totalitarianism… in other words, the college is paying the price for its old friendship with Soros and their longstanding financial relations.
CEU and the Hungarian struggle
CEU is a much more well known example, which has chosen to target conservative Budapest in particular. Curiously, hundreds of media outlets have written about the despotism of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, after he closed CEU in Budapest. However, despite the harsh rhetoric and closure of some programs, the university continues to exist quietly in the Hungarian capital and to promote the values of the Open Society.
In reality, the Hungarian government simply forced them only to move their US degree courses to Vienna. After that, it was forbidden to issue American degrees in their Budapest office.
“CEU is nevertheless determined to maintain both academic and public activities on its campus in Budapest and it has the full support of the Open Society Foundations and me personally in this endeavor,” Soros declared in response.
CEU not only studies economics and humanities, but also subjects quite relevant to liberal activism: gender studies, human rights and public policy– there is even a full course on the dangers of nationalism. Behind the screen of the “academic environment” there are also relevant political materials against Hong Kong, on the climate agenda on Greta Thunberg and others.
All of this fits nicely with the globalist promotion of the eco-advocacy which UWI has written about in the past.
Nonetheless, Orban continued his tough anti-Soros rhetoric with a campaign in 2019 that featured images of Soros and Jean-Claude Juncker on big posters all over Hungary, much to the chagrin of EU leadership.
Among other initiatives, there have been proposals for tough measures against organizations that promote the inflow of illegal migrants to Hungary. Orban’s central complaint was that Soros’ structures were assisting in fostering artificial migration flows to Europe. In CEU, there is an entire department which oversees this issue – the Migration Research Group (MiRG). The group holds regular meetings to informally and constructively discuss migration issues and discuss ongoing research.
As a result of the “Stop Soros” campaign in Budapest, Hungarian officials were summoned to the highest court in Luxembourg.
These are important initial measures to help protect the country’s sovereignty, but until CEU is closed in Budapest entirely, the brainwashing of young people will continue. Thanks to the OSUN, the influence of the Open Society on Orban’s “illiberal democracy” will only increase. Migration will only be a small part of the problem against the backdrop of the real, ideological and cultural disaster awaiting Hungary. Just how dangerous will it be?
Mr. Soros said that OSUN will be the most important project of his life, as he is seriously concerned about the rise of populism after the global financial collapse of 2008.
He claims the crisis “constituted a failure of international cooperation.” This, in turn, led to the rise of nationalism, the great enemy of Open Society, he added.
“I believe our best hope lies in access to an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasising academic freedom,” Soros said.
He called on other “philanthropists” to participate in investing in a new innovative educational network.
However, ultimately, this is not even about education, it is a form of intervention in the internal affairs of other countries. The network’s mission is to “educate students to address tomorrow’s global challenges by getting to know other societies from the inside…” and we all know what happens from there.
Forming a generation of intellectuals within the framework of the “world open society”, Soros structures hope to facilitate structures that adhere to their worldview, and then de facto manage political decisions or inspire protests in this or that country if they resist.
He uses labels such as “education for all”, “human rights”, and calls his activities “political philanthropy” — in fact, he is purchasing the future and shaping it in his will.
Let’s not forget that Soros launched a campaign against Brexit and still spends millions of dollars on lobbying Congress and sponsoring opposition in different countries (especially in times of political or economic instability). Now, as we see, he has become interested in Central Asia as well.
Many companies, before recruiting new employees, practice investing in their education and training in order to create a network of ready-made candidates, loaded with corporate ideology. Soros is making a profitable investment that will bear fruit in a decade. Anyone who was a poor student from Bard College yesterday could tomorrow become a voluntary agent of the Open Society, becoming a pawn in Soros’ war to overthrow conservative governments, destroy traditional values and annihilate local cultures.
Countries need to cast out Soros structures and take control of the education system in their own country, following the Chinese model if necessary. “Only a fool would let his enemy teach his children,” as Malcolm X once said. Those words seem especially pertinent today.