Joint Letter Concerning Academic Freedom in Hungary
Updated: Mar 13, 2022
In a collective letter with other organizations, the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies expresses grave concern about the increasingly restrictive climate for academic inquiry and scholarly research in Hungary.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide joins these organizations and call upon all international organizations, academic and professional associations, and other groups and individuals devoted to the promotion and defense of human rights to urge the officials of the Hungarian government to respect, guarantee, and implement the provisions and principles of higher education as specified in international conventions and treaties to which Hungary has long been a signatory.
18 March 2019
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister 1357 Budapest, Pf. 6. Hungary
Dear Prime Minister Orbán,
Hungary has produced outstanding scientists and thinkers of the highest caliber throughout history. Names like Bartók, Erdős, Halmos, Harsanyi, Kertész, Lax, Pólya, Szemerédi, Turán, von Kármán, and von Neumann are known throughout the world. Hungary is also home to some of Europe’s most prestigious universities and the world-renowned Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Hungarians are undoubtedly proud of these achievements, which are the envy of many. Yet such accomplishments can only thrive in a political environment that promotes the free pursuit of academic and scientific inquiry and safeguards institutions of science and learning. The very best work should be celebrated, rather than constrained.
We therefore wish to express our grave concerns about developments in recent years that have led to an increasingly restrictive climate for academic inquiry and scholarly research in Hungary. Our colleagues in Hungary have described to us attempts to close the country’s gender studies programs, to force the relocation of both the Central European University and the Institute of Political History, and to constrain the Hungarian Academy of Sciences through budgetary control. These measures taken by your government threaten the academic freedom of both individuals and institutions within the Hungarian Academy, and we ask that you recognize the danger of limiting academic freedom, freedom of expression, and institutional autonomy for Hungary’s distinguished tradition of scientific and intellectual achievement.
We know that your government shares our interest in seeing scholarship and science flourish in Hungary, and we hope you will agree that unconstrained intellectual freedom, without regard to ideological orientation, is essential for achieving this goal.
Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies American Anthropological Association American Philosophical Association American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages International Center of Medieval Art Middle East Studies Association