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Shalini Randeria Inaugurated as Sixth CEU President and Rector

On June 24, the CEU community and special guests gathered in the Museum for Applied Arts in Vienna to inaugurate the University's sixth President and Rector, Shalini Randeria.

American-born Indian social anthropologist/sociologist Shalini Randeria has had a distinguished academic career at institutions of higher education across Europe. She was Rector of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna and Professor of Social Anthropology and Sociology at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, where she was also Director of the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy. She holds the Excellence Chair at the University of Bremen, where she leads a research group on “soft authoritarianisms”.

She was educated at the Universities of Delhi, Heidelberg and Oxford, where she belonged to the first cohort of women Rhodes Scholars. She received her PhD and her Habilitation from the Free University of Berlin. She has held faculty positions at the Free University, Berlin; the University of Munich and University of Zurich, where she was Professor of Social Anthropology and Co-Director of the Gender Studies Competence Centre. She was Founding Chair of CEU’s Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology in Budapest.

Currently she is Deputy Chair of the Class of Social and Related Sciences, Academia Europaea; Distinguished Fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada and Distinguished Visiting Fellow of IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria; serves on the Board of European Forum Alpbach and is Member of the International Advisory Panel on Population and Development, UNFPA EECA group. She has served more recently on the CEU’s Board of Trustees.

Watch the ceremony:

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“We are most fortunate to welcome a President who is a world-reknown scholar on democracy and civil society,” our Co-Director Renata Uitz said at the inauguration.


“CEU’s Vienna campus was founded as a sanctuary for critical thinking amidst a global wave of autocratization. The decision to open the Democracy Institute in Budapest is not a mere gesture of defiance — it is a reminder that democracy is a fragile theoretical and practical construct. The stakes of our research are highlighted by Russian aggression in Ukraine. And we are committed to doing our best work in the face of a frontal attack on liberal democracy and open society,” she added.

Photos: CEU / Daniel Vegel