University of Toronto President Meric Gertler has released the text of his letter to Hungary's minister of human capacities, opposing a recent vote in the Hungarian parliament that threatens to close the renowned Central European University – one of that country's smallest and most prestigious educational institutions.
Below is the complete text of the president's letter:
April 5, 2017
Mr. Zoltán Balog
Minister of Human Capacities
1054 Budapest, Akadémia utca 3.
Dear Minister Balog:
I write as President of the University of Toronto to express our community’s alarm and dismay at the recent vote in the Hungarian parliament supporting legislation that would, in effect, shut down Central European University in Budapest.”
Knowledge production, innovation and democracy depend upon the unfettered work of independent academic institutions and the free flow of ideas they foster. Academic freedom, and the freedoms of inquiry and expression, underpin the success of these institutions and in doing so, contribute to open, dynamic, and prosperous societies.
CEU’s influence is most strongly felt at home. It contributes enormously to the prosperity and success of Budapest and Hungary, bringing talent, social and cultural vibrancy, economic opportunity and resiliency to its host region. CEU’s reach also extends globally. Academic communities around the world, including the one here in Toronto, benefit from their partnerships with CEU and Hungary more generally. It is utterly dismaying that the government of Hungary would contemplate forcing its closure.
Hungary has a proud tradition of excellence and leadership in education, research, and innovation dating back centuries. For more than 25 years, Central European University has played an outsized role in that esteemed history. It is my sincere hope, both for Hungary and the broader international community, that it be permitted to continue.
Meric S. Gertler