Testimonials - central

Participants said ...
 

The course provided unparalleled access to a range of academics working at the vanguard of my area of research,
and helped me enormously to crystalize ideas for my thesis through ongoing discussion and debate.
(Matter, Mind and Consciousness, 2016 course participant)

Above specific ideas which may or may not be reflected in my own future work, the meeting and mixing with people from very different backgrounds (countries) was for me the most important part of the course, enabling me to appreciate better the global nature of the 'academy'.” (Cities and Science, 2016 course participant)

Every teacher brought her/his unique personality into every discussion. This is what helped me to survive
through a quite dense curriculum, considering the course lasted only ten days. At the end, I felt I'd spent at least a month in Budapest. I actually expected nothing less. My intellectual desires were absolutely satisfied in the end.
(In the Labyrinth of National Identity 2016 course participant)

The CEU Summer University was - and remains - one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was the thing, the "trigger" that convinced me to return to academia and pursue a PhD. I was not enrolled as a student when I applied to CEU, and I craved something engaging, something immersive and international, something that involved learning and would give me direction in my career. The CEU summer school was the perfect opportunity for this...The program was extremely engaging, comprehensive, constructive, and also a lot of fun! I spent two weeks with graduate students, professors, and policy-makers from across Europe and North America, engaged in debates and discussions on the topic of citizenship. It was an open, supportive, collegial atmosphere. I recall having “light bulbs” go on in my mind every day as I learned new things and gained new ideas & questions for my own research. I had the chance to present my research project, which was exciting, and I received valuable feedback from my peers.
Conversations always extended beyond the classroom, to the rooms and hallways of the CEU Residence Centre and to the breakfast/lunch/dinner table. In-class sessions were complemented by some wonderful extra-curriculars that allowed us to explore the vibrant, historic city of Budapest. (The Politics of Citizenship, 2013 Course participant)

My short experience at CEU was next to none. I liked the setup of the university and the rich bank of academic resources available. A cauldron of knowledge and academic research. The course had a great impact on my professional development. The Zimbabwe Civil liberties and Drug Network is a baby of the summer course on Human Rights and Drug Policy. After graduating in December of 2011, l came back to Zimbabwe and registered an organization on Drug Policy Reform. www.zcldn.net. The rest is now history. (Human Rights and Drug Policy 2011 course participant)

The program opened my eyes in the field of financing for education contributing to education. It changed my vision, mission and my profession too. I initiated to form a group of people who could spare some resources for education, as soon as I returned from Hungary. Now we have established a school with the help of those people having similar vision, where I work as a Director. (Innovative Financing for Education 2014 course participant)
 

A Poem written by a former course participant:

Meditations at the Ruins of Aquincum

                                  —By Alice-Catherine Jennings
 
 
Borderline, bulging bluish green—
we follow its visual field.  
 
Look at oldness how like a ripe olive, the very circumstance of its being
near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. 
 
When does middle-ness become oldness, a system of fortification?  
Is your life a linear limit—a body, a little breath, intelligence and then…
 
Oldness is hoar frost cracked on young branches. Capture it in a glass jar 
as it melts; contain its migration inward.
 
When bread is baked some parts of it are split at the surface like Mithras 
borne from a rock. Secret rituals. 
 
The future seeps out—
                                   our life is daily wasting. 
 
In Budapest, the sky is lavender—the sun blazing, the press of heat and the tree of almonds waiting since the beginning of time. Perhaps, we are returning to where we belong, retracing steps. 
 
Note:  
Certain phrases are based on text from The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, as translated by George Long.
 
 

Teaching methods

"Every teacher brought her/his unique personality into every discussion. This is what helped me to survive through a quite dense curriculum, considering the course lasted only ten days. At the end, I felt I'd spent at least a month in Budapest. I actually expected nothing less. My intellectual desires were absolutely satisfied in the end.”

(In the Labyrinth of National Identity 2016 course participant)

*

"Now the world has a new color for me because when I listen news from Palestine, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland, Pakistan, and many other ones, I know that they are talking not about distant places but special ones where I have special persons living in it."

(Mediation Course participant, 2003)

*

"I have just returned from the summer course in Strategic Corruption Control and Organizational Integrity. I would like to thank you for an absolutely excellent and professional course. The course was at a high academic level, very well structured, managed and delivered. It was most inspiring to have expert lectures from so many different scientific areas and countries talk about their specific fields of research. It added to the unique experience to have a large number of "summer-students" from all over the world amongst the participants and to have participants from transitional and developing countries so well-represented. I cannot praise the Central European University and the course director Fredrik Galtung enough for having put this programme together and I know that the knowledge and insights I gained will have a most positive influence on the work that I am doing in Serbia and Montenegro."

(Strategic Corruption Control and Organizational Integrity course participant 2005)

*

"The uniqueness of the subject, the commitment of the teaching staff and the overall methodology and execution made it an outstanding success. I have never experienced a more comprehensive and professional display of what quality academic interaction can be. I am impressed and inspired with the way the four professors conducted the course and actually communicated the knowledge that will have a lasting impact - despite this very short time."

(Course Participant, Managing Conflict, 2002)

*

"The combination of (relatively few) classroom lectures and exercises with presentations at the sites (libraries, archives, monumental sites) as well as small group seminars and presentation (and discussion) of research papers seemed to be a suitable form for such a "research-oriented" course."

(Course Director, Issues and Resources in Central Europe for Research on the Middle Ages, 2000)

 

Long-term benefits

“The course provided unparalleled access to a range of academics working at the vanguard of my area of research, and helped me enormously to crystalize ideas for my thesis through ongoing discussion and debate.”
(Matter, Mind and Consciousness 2016 course participant)

“I have attended one week courses elsewhere and what i liked very much about this was the combination of a narrow focus with a variety of angles/approaches. I think this is the optimal way to truly understand and advance a particular topic theoretically.”
(Understanding Communication and Understanding Minds 2016 course participant)

"The course spawned several research initiatives and networks between participants and instructors, as well as plans for a textbook, an online learning tool and a follow-up course."

(Course Director, Contemporary Chinese Nationalism and Transnationalism, 2001)

*

"There was a lot of new knowledge, but what was more important is that much of former knowledge acquired new meaning."

(Course participant, Religious Identity, 2001)

*

The environmental history course "can certainly serve as a model for future initiatives."

(Resource person, People and Nature in Historical Perspective, 2002)

 

"What did you like most about SUN?"

 

"The course was exactly the type of class I have been looking for. Not too theoretic, but still sharing the most important key points and it was also completed with practice cases in a "learn by doing" method. The class was also culturally rich enough to work in a wide international context that I have highly appreciated. Both professors were very direct and open to any discussion with the group that I also found very good (compared to my other university experiences where it was less direct and I missed it for a while in the past)."

(Alternative Dispute Resolution – International Business Negotiation 2016 course participant)

*

"Breadth of participation from all regions. The staff were knowledgeable and approachable. The facilities were great."

(Strategic Human Rights Litigation2016 course participant)

*

"High level discussion and excellent faculty made for a challenging and rewarding experience."

(Matter, Mind and Consciousness 2016 course participant)

*

"an opportunity to look beyond my specialised field, also meeting up with colleagues and making contact with lecturers working on interesting projects pertinent to my own work"

*

"Bringing together experts and a diversity of students which created a stimulating atmosphere for discussions"

*

"I liked the creativity and the interactive method of teaching in the classroom and the exchange of knowledge among various participants from different countries."

*

"persistence in building the subtle equilibrium among people with different interests"

 

"What was the most important thing you learned during the course?"

"I work with historical sources in a literature department: I have here seen how historians work with sources and methodological approaches from other disciplines."

(Conflict and the Law course participant, 2005)

*

"As an output of the learning derived from this programme I am taking two initiatives. One; to start a research on "Policy Issues in Micro-Finance Sector in India". In the second phase (in the offing) I wish to start a web site for a virtual journal cum sector developments in micro-finance at global level."

(Civil Society participant, 2005)

*

"It helped to boost my confidence in work in progress by having it "validated" by others working on similar projects."

(History and Nationalism course participant, 2005)

*

"It gave me several new points for departure for future projects, and opened new angles of investigation (tribal history)"

(History and Nationalism course participant, 2005)

*

"There are no sure answers that do not provoke other questions"

*

"how to appreciate diversity in opinions and attitudes"

*

"the value of opening society and its people across all sorts of borders to others to build insights, transfer of data and information"

*

"Being a student again was a marvelous learning experience. I think it will make me a better teacher."

 

"What were the strengths of the course you attended?"

"Top experts in the field were invited, an exciting mix of course participants, result-oriented, ideal setting (CEU resources), informal interaction facilitated."

(Globalization, Governance and International Relations Theory course participant, 2005)

*

"Diverse and challenging peers. Excellent faculty. In-depth construction of curriculum."

(Bookish Tradition course participant, 2005)

 

Thank you notes after the course

When evaluating the program, participants especially appreciated the interdisciplinarity of the courses, the diversity of participants and faculty, the impetus they have received for their research and professional development, and the networking opportunity SUN afforded them.

"I would like to thank you for the very interesting course I had a chance to participate in in July, as well would like to thank each of you for your nice hospitality and good care. All was organized very well and the whole course was very useful for the work I do and hope I will find the way of using the information and knowledge I got from the course."

(Course participant, Education Policy, 2002)

*

"Today is my first working day after spending two wonderful weeks as a participant of one of your summer courses, and I still feel a bit sad for having to leave CEU, Budapest, my professors and colleagues. It was quite a unique experience, both professionally and privately, as I had a chance to acquire new knowledge, ideas, experience and, even more importantly, friends from all over Central and SEE. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity and congratulate you and your team for perfect organisation of the course."

(Course participant, Education Policy, 2002)

 

Outcomes

"It was absolutely excellent. I found the course useful in many different ways: it gave us a wonderful overview of the broad range of the corruption debate, a great network, and fantastic sources for getting more information."

(Strategic Corruption Control and Organizational Integrity course participant 2005)

 

Faculty said ...

 

The CEU Summer University experience

"Looking back at the first few years of the Summer School, it seems like at the time it was hard to foresee what a significant impact these events would have on the subsequent development of the field of Romani studies. Since then, numerous past participants have published influential work and organised workshops of their own, and some have been involved in this year's summer school as junior faculty. In the retrospect of ten years, I think it is now possible to say with confidence that your work has changed the landscape of the discipline, and that the CEU summer school has become the most important point of networking in this field of study. It is an achievement of which you can be proud, and to which I, and I am sure the other teaching staff as well, am proud to have had the opportunity to contribute."

Yaron Matras, University of Manchester, Department of Linguistics, UK

*

"SUN provides a flexible, supportive, collegial setting in which to offer a short course that goes well beyond the scope of most workshops and training sessions provided by governments and aid donors, while being considerably shorter than those provided in regular academic settings. It also falls within a price range that makes it accessible to many who might otherwise not be able to take professional training courses. This fills a niche that is otherwise relatively poorly addressed. This year’s course was our most successful one to date. We have learned a great deal over the years and the reiteration of an evolving course has enabled us to test various ideas. Some have worked better than others. No two courses were entirely the same. The space for innovation that you gave us has been extremely helpful for what we have eventually developed. It influences our day-to-day work in all sorts of ways."

"It was one of the best SUN groups we have ever taught both in terms of motivation and dedication. The students were very motivated and hardworking during the course. Students included, among others, a DFID governance advisor in Afghanistan; the deeply committed CEO of a child welfare charity in Bulgaria who faces corruption challenges daily; a seasoned development consultant from Sweden; two passionate, young activists from Nigeria; and two senior officials from Tanzania."

Fredrik Galtung, Tiri - Making Integrity Work, London, UK

*

"I am back in Chicago and now reasonably over my jetlag. I have been telling everyone what a wonderful experience the CEU course was, so I thought I would let you know as well! The students were terrific, and the whole project really succeeded as an international working experience about international issues. I look forward to recommending future CEU courses to colleagues and students."

(Norma Claire Moruzzi, Associate Professor Political Science and Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago)

*

"This note just to express my deepest thanks for the opportunity to have been associated to the Summer School, and to have been able to remember, during an intensive week, why we are in this business of higher education. I have returned from Budapest, once more, not only with fond memories, but with some dreams and ideas. The careful planning of the course made it possible to introduce a broad spectrum of students, coming form very different backgrounds and cultures, to a very ambitious intellectual set of problems. Each of them will go home with another series of impressions, but for all, I think, these will remain active for a long time. As usual, CEU has proved itself a wonderful host: a university with a human face."

(Guy Stroumsa, Martin Buber Professor of Comparative Religion, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

*

"For the second time in as many occasions, teaching at CEU has been a major professional highpoint, for which, again, thanks must go above all to the students."

(Piotr Gorecki, University of California, Riverside Department of History)

 

Diversity and lively interaction

"Participating in this program was, without a doubt, a highlight of my teaching career. The participants in the "Islam and the West" course were exceptional in a number of respects. Their diverse academic and personal backgrounds made for very lively and interesting discussions. In addition, the group had an unusually good "chemistry". This resulted in their forming instantly with each other and with me not just a network for future intellectual/academic collaboration but also lasting bonds of friendship."

(John Calabrese, The American University, Washington)

*

"The CEU Conference Center provided an unique opportunity for "after hours" meetings and discussions. There, I met a number of people from the Globalization course. This "base" also afforded me a chance, for example, to put a professor from Azerbaijan in contact with a lecturer from Nigeria. It also gave me the chance to meet with students from our own course before beginning my own teaching; for example, this was the venue for meetings with a participant from the Czech Republic concerning how she could access information from Washington about her research on Sudan."

(John Calabrese, The American University, Washington)

*

"The fact that students represented both professional and scholarly careers added another layer of understanding and learning. The process of making the practitioners consider academic positions, and academics consider practical considerations adds yet another layer of richness to the learning experience. Both the professional and demographic diversity could have caused cohesiveness problems in the course, but a careful representation of the various perspectives promoted much cross-cultural exchange."

(Roger Coate, University of South Carolina, Walker Institute of International Studies)

*

"The majority of participants were a real joy. So was their diversity. Most of them came from sociology or anthropology background, some from economics, others political science, a few from the humanities. Geographical diversity always pays off as it did this time too. The Middle Eastern, the subcontinental, the north American, the central Asian (our INTAS grantees) and the different European poles made for a vibrant mix in discussion."

(Judit Bodnar, CEU, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology)

*

"Our course benefited significantly from the presence of participants from India and Argentina. Dumping native provincialisms in favor of a Central European provincialism is not a sustainable strategy: CEU has to open up to the challenges and opportunities of globalization, while continuing to have a special focus on, and an anchor in, the "Region"."

(Sorin Antohi, CEU, History Department)

 

Teaching style

"[...] a prerequisite for the successful and indeed meaningful discussion at the end of the week was that the resource persons were genuinely interested in each other's classes, and during the time they could spend in Budapest they followed each other's classes on a regular basis. The success of the two closing discussions is also underlined by the fact that the students suggested that we should conduct even more such round table discussions in courses of similar format."

(Istvan Bodnar, CEU, Philosophy Department / Eötvös University, Department of History of Philosophy, Budapest)

*

"The lecture methods provided the base material, the directed discussions allowed the participants to raise questions and issues associated with the materials, and the case methods required them to apply the concepts to real-life experiences as well as think of the theoretical issues in practical terms"

(Roger Coate, University of South Carolina, Walker Institute of International Studies)

*

"The main vehicle used for comparative discussion was the Lawyering Dilemmas that were presented by each participant for class discussion. Each Dilemma was analysed by the group via an interactive discussion focused on the key lawyering and strategy questions raised by the case. Participants used the dilemmas to reflect on effective and ineffective public service lawyering in their communities. The dilemmas were an unqualified success, as they allowed each participant's experience to become the focus of the discussion, and provided the best incentive for rethinking practice through new perspectives, both comparative and theoretical. The only challenge we faced was how to organize the schedule to allow for discussion of each participant's dilemma in detail."

(Holly Maguigan, Frank Upham and Diana Hortsch, New York University School of Law, Global Public Service Law Project)

 

Interdisciplinarity

"It was only to be expected that the course would attract such a varied audience: ancient philosophy is taught in every major university of the world, whereas ancient science reaches audiences of far more modest size in the faculties of arts and humanities. This "imbalance" between the two core areas of the course created from the outset an interesting cognitive tension: whereas the course on the philosophy side was well within the range of our audience, most of the classes in ancient science, or the ones on the delimitation and demarcation between science and philosophy in the ancient world, proved to be novel ground for quite a few of the participants. From the reactions and comments one could gauge that there is still a significant deficit in this regard in the region."

(Istvan Bodnar, CEU, Philosophy Department / Eötvös University, Department of History of Philosophy, Budapest)

*

"All faculty were present throughout all meetings, engaging seriously and enthusiastically in discussions, during and after classes, coming forward with new ideas, sharing personal insights into their very own agendas of thought and experience. The very divergent profiles of the faculty, both with regard to their academic disciplines and area of specialization, increased the span of thematic areas covered and generated a productive sense of the complexity of the issue."

(Aziz Al-Azmeh, CEU, Aziz Al-Azmeh, CEU, Department of Medieval Studies)

*

"Our other highlight was the diversity of faculty in disciplinary terms, regional focus and experience. A faculty consisting of early to mid career academics with good international credentials also proved an attraction for the students; facilitated communication both formally and informally."

(Judit Bodnar, CEU, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology)