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Laszlo Bruszt on the DI and Hungary

“Democracies have taken a long time to deteriorate. They have to be rebuilt,” our Co-director Laszlo Bruszt said in an interview with Klubradio.

“What fills me with a lot of optimism is that more and more young Hungarians are going abroad to study,” he added. “Of course, there may be a downside to this, if too many people stay there. But they experience a terrible contrast between what they see at home and there,” he continued. “In Hungary there is no debate, no civilized political dialogue, but there is a culture shock for these students who go out to any other European country. They will see people arguing with each other on television every day on X channel. Good God, they've never seen anything like it! They grew up without seeing a single debate about public policy between people. And these people will come home,” he argued.

“I am confident that the low standard of public policy here will push young people out. As they went back to Poland and went back to Romania, they will definitely coming back here,” he said.  

“A significant part of the generation that will restore democracy in Hungary will come back from abroad and will know what it means. They will know and they will miss what it means to live in a democracy,” he continued.

He also talked about our projects. “We have just received a fairly substantial grant to launch a study on the relationship between development and democracy on four continents,” he said, referring to our new project supported by the Open Society University Network. “The Open Society Foundations have a network of universities, about sixty different institutions, universities, research institutes on five continents. Within that framework, we have received quite a substantial grant to work with researchers from Africa, South America and Asia on the relationship between democracy and development. And we're managing that from here in Budapest,” he explained.

“We are also being asked to get involved in a program on how European integration can strengthen democracy in Ukraine, in post-war Ukraine. So we are cooperating on that now. We have good links with the Advisory Group on European Integration, which is working alongside the Ukrainian government, and with the Kyiv Economic University,” he continued.

Read or listen to the interview (in Hungarian) here.

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