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George Soros donation creates innovative Balkan programme at LSE

The Open Society Institute, founded by LSE alumnus George Soros, is to grant $1,000,000 to the LSE Foundation to establish a Faculty Development Programme for Fellows from the Balkans at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The programme will receive matching funds from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. George Soros was instrumental in founding the Central European University, which will be a key partner in the Faculty Development Programme at LSE.

The goal of the programme is to improve the research and teaching capacities of Balkan universities. The project will bring 30 junior and mid-level academic staff to LSE for successive periods of three months, over a three-year period, to participate in a research program and to improve teaching methods and curricula. The countries and republics included in the program are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. If the programme is as successful as expected, other areas of the world may be included in an expanded programme, after the initial three-year program has been completed in 2005. The programme will start immediately, with the first fellows being recruited by May of 2002.

The Centre for the Study of Global Governance at LSE, chaired by Lord Meghnad Desai, will be responsible for overall management of the programme. But many other departments, institutes and centres will also be involved.

The core staff will include Programme Director, Mary Kaldor, who recently received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) award in the New Year's Honours for her contributions to social science. Professor Kaldor is one of several editors of the newly published Global Civil Society Yearbook 2001.

She said: "Thirty of the best young faculty members from universities throughout South Eastern Europe will study through LSE over a three-year period, adding excitement and fresh perspectives to the School. These individuals will ultimately return home to shape the political and economic futures of their countries, during a time of profound transition and new optimism. The role of LSE in nurturing this process will be critical."

A Senior Academic Coordinator, Vesna Bojicic, will liaise with faculty from the Balkan Universities. Several other researchers will be involved administratively. An advisory committee will be established to include Balkan scholars from other universities and from the Open Society Institute and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Ends

Contact:
Fiona Hodgson, LSE Foundation CEO, on +1 212 851 2992.
Denise Annett, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7053.

Notes:

As a student at LSE, Soros was greatly influenced by LSE professor Karl Popper and his seminal work on the Open Society and Its Enemies. Soros named his foundation the Open Society Institute (OSI) to honor Popper's ideas. The OSI is a private operating and grant-making foundation that seeks to promote the development and maintenance of open societies around the world by supporting a range of programmes in the areas of educational, social and legal reform, and by encouraging alternative approaches to complex and often controversial issues. The new Faculty Development Programme at LSE will be the first of its kind.

Soros informed LSE Director, Anthony Giddens, and LSE Foundation CEO Fiona Hodgson, of his decision to recommend the gift when he addressed 200 alumni at the North American Campaign launch seminar in New York in November. At the seminar, Soros gave a briefing based on his forthcoming book, George Soros on Globalization (Public Affairs, March 2002).

LSE currently has around 7,300 full-time and part-time students, based in 18 departments and more than 30 research centres or institutes. The Centre for the Study of Global Governance was established in 1992 to debate global public policy issues. The Centre has published over 28 discussion papers, organized many conferences, and through its Global Dimensions programme, has recently welcomed guest speakers including President Bill Clinton.

19 February 2002

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