George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education

Education

George Soros Launches Global Network to Transform Higher Education
Open Society Founder and Chair gifts $1 billion to newly launched Open Society University Network
January 23, 2020
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND—George Soros announced today that he is creating a new university network to better prepare students for current and future global challenges. He is endowing the network with one billion dollars ($1 billion) and asking other philanthropists to contribute.

The network, which will operate throughout the world, is named the Open Society University Network (OSUN). It will integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide. It will offer simultaneously taught network courses and joint degree programs and regularly bring students and faculty from different countries together with in-person and online discussions. The network aims to reach the students who need it the most and to promote the values of open society—including free expression and diversity of beliefs.

OSUN will seek to promote rigorous education and reach institutions in need of international partners, as well as neglected populations, such as refugees, incarcerated people, the Roma and other displaced groups. OSUN, with the help of its allies, is ready to start a massive “scholars at risk” program, merging a large number of academically excellent but politically endangered scholars into this new global network.

Already, OSUN is connecting institutions of higher learning and is holding networked courses that unite students and faculty from several universities located in different parts of the world in the classroom, sharing faculty and conducting joint research projects in which people from many universities collaborate.

Mr. Soros said: “I believe our best hope lies in access to an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom. I consider the Open Society University Network to be the most important and enduring project of my life and I should like to see it implemented while I am still around.”…

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Open Society University Network (OSUN)
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.

Mission
:: 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 educating 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