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CEU DI About


We examine  and  seek  solutions to the  challenges  democracy  faces  across the  globe  today

The CEU Democracy Institute  examines  and  seeks  solutions to the  challenges  democracy  faces  across the  globe  today. It  builds on the 30-year legacy of world-class research, teaching and outreach in the spirit of democracy and freedom  achieved by  Central  European University, a private university that is  transatlantic  by nature — rooted in  American and European  traditions of higher learning.
The Institute  is based  in Budapest, on the frontlines of the battle to protect the rule of law and enable open society to flourish.  At the same time,  as part of the CEU network  it  is global from its inception. Its  prominent  researchers and top-notch facilities enable it to  attract high-caliber thinkers,  become  a key  convener of free debate and  dialogue across disciplines and professions,  and  host  collaboration  that  aims to create  new knowledge  and  propose  solutions  to  ensure the  sustainability  and success  of democracies worldwide. 

The Challenge

Democracy is under siege. A generation ago, the threat to democracy--whether in Turkey, Korea, or Chile--came from generals who seized power and did away with parliaments. Today the threat  is more subtle and more insidious. Ever-more sophisticated attacks against the rule of law and democratic norms, growing  inequalities, rapid technological development, the rise of nationalism,  the  erosion of public trust in mainstream institutions,  and concerns amplified by  the global pandemic pose  formidable  new  challenges to  democratic governance and the fabric of society. Elected  populist  leaders are weaponizing democracy against itself, and democracy’s very concept is being  defied  by autocratic but economically successful forms of government.    
Yet there is renewed hope. From movements in Belarus and Bangkok to justice-seeking movements  fighting for new  and more  inclusive  forms of democracy  around the globe, citizens are taking a stand.  
To support democracy’s future, it is imperative that we better understand the nature and practice of 21st century democratic rule, and--even more importantly--develop  effective responses  to  strengthen democratic resilience.    

Our Answer

Generating solutions is a paramount responsibility of the academy.  Since  our founding in  the early 1990s, CEU has:     

  • Educated  a generation of transformational leaders  
  • Earned a sterling research reputation, securing competitive funding from the European Commission, foundation and corporate donors  
  • Achieved recognition as one of the world’s best universities for the social sciences and humanities, with top-ranked programs in politics and international studies, philosophy, and social policy and administration 
  • Attracted students, researchers, faculty, and staff from around the world to a hub of knowledge creation and exchange with the local and global public 

When in  2017  controversial legislation curbed  CEU’s ability to operate as an American university in Hungary and forced  our U.S. degree programs to Vienna, CEU began examining  our contributions to the development of free and open societies and asking  ourselves  what more must be done.    
It is on this foundation that  CEU  has established a research institute in Budapest  to make a  distinctive  contribution  to  the future of  democracy.