There is a certain irony in my addressing a conference of European foundations because I take a very jaundiced view of philanthropic activities in general and I am particularly opposed to conferencing and networking-not working I call it. In my opinion, philanthropy goes against the grain because our civilization is built upon the pursuit of self-interest, not on any preoccupation with the interests of others. As a consequence, philanthropy is often hypocritical and always paradoxical.

There is a basic paradox to charity: it turns the recipients of charity into objects of charity. Then there is the paradox of technical assistance: it is designed to meet the objectives of the donors, not the needs of the recipients. In my foundation, we regard technical aid to the formerly Communist countries as the last remaining bastion of the command economy.

We try to be different, but I can’t say that we entirely succeed because we are subject to the same constraints as everyone else and to think that we are somehow exempt from those constraints would be a self-deception. Of course, a certain amount of self-deception can be very useful; indeed, it is probably indispensable if one is engaged in a task that is full of paradoxes and contradiction. And yet, having said that, I think there can be no question: we are different from most other foundations. So, rather than criticizing others, I shall try to tell you what we are and what we do.

I set up the Open Society Fund in 1979 and the first foundation in Central Europe in 1984. It was in the form of a joint venture between my foundation in New York and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. A very unusual undertaking, it was, in fact, exempt from many of the constraints which bedevil foundations. We were not a normal foundation; we were an institution of civil society engaged in a subversive battle against an oppressive state and party system. We did not need to protect ourselves against being abused and taken advantage of by the applicants: they were on our side, and they protected us against anyone else unscrupulous enough to try. We were engaged in a subtle game with the authorities, where each of us tried to take advantage of the other; but the dice were loaded in our favor because we believed in our cause and we knew what we were doing while our opponents did not.

Our aim was simple: to demonstrate the falsehood of Communist dogma by fostering alternatives. We did not need to decide on priorities; they were decided for us by those who applied for support. We did not need to go into the merits of particular projects; their merit was that they allowed people to engage in non-Party, non-governmental activities. The amounts we gave were very small. The bulk of the contribution came from those who applied to us and most of them used government facilities and government funding for their purposes; so our leverage was enormous and we did not need to be very choosy. We supported an enormous number of projects, with a total budget that was in the neighborhood of $3 million a year. The Ministry of Culture complained bitterly that we had more influence on cultural life in Hungary than they did. We took it as the greatest accolade. It was a glorious experience and the Hungarian foundation never quite recovered from it. Nothing the foundation can do today, however well it is done, can compare with the sense of satisfaction and the sense of accomplishment we enjoyed then.

I don’t want to dwell on this experience too much because it was truly exceptional. I tried to repeat it in Poland and in China, but in both cases we failed. In China, the game was won by the authorities and the foundation became a branch of the security police. In Poland, civil society refused to play the game with the authorities so the foundation had difficulties in functioning-it could not even get a telephone. The formula did not work. We had to go through a number of variants, and it was only after the transition to democracy-indeed, after the fall of the Mazowiecki government-that the foundation became really successful. It operates along very different lines from the Hungarian foundation: it is more of a proactive foundation than a purely grant-giving one. Its approach is more appropriate to the post-Communist world than was the original Hungarian one. I must confess that I was dead set against this approach, and it is to the credit of the Polish foundation that it persisted until I was won over.

I am a student of revolutionary change. I had developed a theory of history in my student days which I proceeded to test successfully in the financial markets. When the Communist system began to disintegrate, I was better prepared than most people to keep up with the ever-accelerating pace of events. It was my hope that the foundations would help lead the transformation from a closed to an open society; but I can’t say that we have succeeded. I anticipated events reasonably well. I set up a foundation in Moscow in 1987, and I established separate foundations in Ukraine and the Baltic States well before those countries became independent. But the foundations could not lead the transformation because they themselves got caught up in the process. The foundation in Moscow went through two Kremlin-like coups and all it could show for the first five years of its existence was that it survived. Only in the last year or so has it become truly productive. But the time we have lost cannot be recaptured. The Ukrainian foundation, which started later, has been much more successful. I can honestly say that many of the institutions which are necessary for the functioning of a modern state and a civil society are supported by my foundation. Unfortunately, that may not be sufficient to allow Ukraine to survive.

Now we have foundations in various stages of development in some twenty-two countries. We are increasingly effective, but events are moving in the wrong direction. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the success of our endeavors and the prevailing state of affairs: the more the concept of open society is endangered, the greater the energies the foundations can mobilize. For instance, we are working wonders in Ukraine, but our foundation failed to take root in Prague. We are most successful where we can collaborate with a beleaguered but well-intentioned government as in Russia or Macedonia.

The goal of the foundation network is to promote an open society. The concept of open society is based on the recognition that people act on the basis of imperfect knowledge and nobody is in possession of the ultimate truth. This leads to a respect for the rule of law, to a society which is not dominated by the state, to the existence of democratic government, to a market economy and, above all, to respect for minorities and minority opinions. The key point that needs to be recognized is that an open society is more complex, more sophisticated than a closed society. A closed society expends most of its energies in preserving the existing order, whereas an open society takes law and order as its starring point and creates progress and prosperity from that base. That means that an open society is a more desirable but also a vulnerable structure.

The Soviet system represented a universal closed society because Communism was a universal dogma. But Communism as a dogma is now well and truly dead. There was an opportunity to make the transition to a universal open society, but that opportunity was lost because the free world failed to rise to the challenge. Now the danger is that what was a universal closed society is going to be reshaped into territorially separate closed societies based on an ideology of ethnic nationalism. To mobilize society on the basis of ethnic nationalism, you need an enemy. If you do not have an enemy, you need to invent one. Therefore, ethnic nationalism is a threat, not only co the countries concerned, but also to their neighbors. Where violence prevails, open society perishes.

It is in this setting that the foundation network operates. And, as the situation varies from country to country, so do the foundations there. Generally speaking, the foundation network is not only striving to create an open society, but is itself a prototype of an open society. In each country, there is a local board and a local executive; the scope, direction and effectiveness of the foundation are largely determined by the character and the abilities of the people involved. At first, most of our activities were initiated by the local foundations, but, increasingly, programs that work in one country are adopted by other countries while still other programs are introduced from the outside.

The network has its headquarters in New York. The CEU located in Budapest and Prague, and the Open Society Institute, centered in Budapest, are the two institutions which give coherence and direction to the activities of the foundation network. The university provides the talent and intellectual resources and the institute mobilizes them in the service of the foundation network. In addition, we are always ready and eager to sup­port other worthwhile initiatives, some of which go through the foundation network and some of which establish networks of their own.

Since we are aiming at a systemic transformation, I have been willing to fund practically any initiative that seemed well-conceived and fitted into our sphere of operations. As a result, the scope of our activities has been growing exponentially, doubling or more in each of the last four years. The outcome has been the evolution of an extremely complex structure in which literally no one knows everything that is going on.

It has all been very exciting and creative, but it is clearly unsustainable in its present form. The foundation network cannot continue to expand without introducing some order into the chaos, and we are currently engaged in doing so. We are evolving what I call an “open matrix” system of organization: on the horizontal axes are the programs in which we engage, while on the vertical axes are the countries on which we operate. Most, but not all, programs cut across many countries, and most, but not all, programs involve the national foundations. When there is someone in charge of the program both regionally and in the countries concerned and the relationship between the two is properly defined, the matrix is effective because it combines professional expertise with knowledge of local conditions. It gives me a sense that I am not wasting my money. I want to delegate responsibility to the people actually engaged in the programs, and the matrix system allows me to do so. People on both the horizontal and the vertical lines have a proprietary interest in what they are doing. As long as they agree, I am reassured. If they have a problem I am directly approachable from either side. This keeps the organizational hierarchy to a minimum.

The development of the matrix is following the development of the foundation network, not preceding it. We are ready to engage in many activities when the need and the opportunity a rise without having a matrix in place. That is why I speak of an “open matrix.” It is open in many directions. First, the national foundations have discretion to start their own programs, as do the program advisers. Second, we are willing to cooperate with other foundations or to support initiatives which come from the outside. Third, we are ready to modify our activities in accordance with changing circumstances. As a result, many of our activities do not even show up on the matrix. This is by design, and we have no intention of changing it. This approach should foster innovation and entrepreneurial spirit within the network.

Difficulties can arise, however, when both the vertical and the horizontal axes are involved, but the lines of responsibility and authority are not clearly defined. I will give you an example. At the time I established the Central European University, I also established a Higher Education Support Program (HESP), which was designed to help other institutions of higher learning. It was my express wish to put more resources into the educational system than we took out by establishing the university. But it is only recently, however, after more than a year of chaos and inefficiency, that the lines of responsibility within HESP have been properly defined.

Now we have three types of programs: national programs with their own budgets, which are administered by local committees nominated by the local foundations; institutional programs, which are administered by the Open Society Institute; and regional programs, such as the Civic Education Project (CEP), which have structures of their own.

Financially, we operate with what Janos Kornai called “soft budgetary constraints.” While we try to establish budgets at the beginning of the year, we do not enforce them rigorously and we are ready to add new lines in the course of the year. Flexibility and results take precedence over budgetary controls. This is possible as long as we are expanding but it is fraught with dangers. Soft budgetary controls were the bane of the Soviet system. We must therefore counterbalance our approach with a process of elimination; we must constantly reexamine our activities and cut back on those which do not measure up to our expectations. This is a hard discipline to follow, especially as we become increasingly institutionalized. For instance, when I decided to cut back on the Prague College of the CEU, it caused consternation and hurt the standing of the CEU as an institution. But if we are unwilling to cut we cannot continue to add and we will lose our flexibility.

I shall use our newly established matrix to provide a brief overview of our current activities and our plans for the future. On the vertical axes, we have foundations in twenty-two countries with offices in forty-five cities. This does not include the Open Society Foundation of South Africa and our activities in the United States and other parts of the world. On the horizontal axes we have established twenty major program areas. These programs focus on three broad areas of concern: Education and Culture; Communications; and Human Rights and Humanitarian actions. Let me comment briefly upon each.



The Central European University

By far the most important program area, both in range and in the amount of money expended, is education. Our flagship is the Central European University, a postgraduate institution devoted to the humanities and social sciences with its main campus in Budapest and a branch campus in Prague. The CEU is chartered under the laws of New York State. The language of instruction is English. The university currently offers programs in Economics, Politics, Sociology, Law, History, Environmental Studies, Medieval Studies, History and Philosophy of Art and Architecture, and European Studies. The faculty is predominantly Western-educated, but includes a growing body of local scholars. The student body is recruited primarily from the region. Students from the region receive full scholarships.

Established in 1990, the CEU is rapidly becoming a center for critical thinking and advanced study. Alongside the graduate study programs, research institutes have been established to deal with specific problem areas. Projects currently underway include research on the privatization process (in cooperation with governments throughout the region), on nationalism and ethnic identity, on constitutional developments (in cooperation with the University of Chicago Law School), and on the environment. The CEU arranges internships and scholarships for its most promising students to study at leading Western universities. Currently, CEU students have opportunities to study at Oxford, the European University in Florence, Cornell, the University of Chicago, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley and elsewhere.

Originally, I committed $5 million a year for five years to the university. I initially envisioned a founding period of five years during which order would emerge out of chaos; after that time, the university would settle down to a “regular” institutional existence, but it was, and remains, my hope that the innovative and creative beginnings would become deeply etched in the CEU’s institutional memory. After three years the university has taken on a well-defined shape. With the appointment of Alfred Stepan, formerly dean of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, as president, and Anne Lonsdale, formerly the director of external affairs at Oxford University, as secretary general, the founding period can end sooner than I thought. Based upon the results to date, I am now ready to ensure the permanent existence of the university. To this end, I am committing a minimum of $10 million a year for a minimum of twenty years. In addition, I bought an attractive historic building in the center of Budapest and we are constructing a modern annex next to it. The new college will be ready for occupancy for the 1995-96 academic year. I am hopeful that the university will also be able to attract financial support from other sources.

Research Support Scheme

In addition to its own programs, the CEU also sponsors scholarly research at other institutions. In this respect, it acts as an independent alternative source of funding like the various foundations and the national endowment agencies in the United States. Grants are allocated by an international commission headed by Sir Claus Moser. Projects involving regional comparisons and research groups working in more than one country are given preference.

Open Society Institute

Recently established as an operating foundation, the Open Society Institute is expanding its work to initiate programs in the United States, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere while continuing to administer the Higher Education Support Program, the Institute of Constitutional and Legislative Policy, and the Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict Research Institute in Eastern Europe. Loosely affiliated with the CEU, the Open Society Institute in Eastern Europe mobilizes the intellectual resources of the university to address problems of political, social, and economic policy in the region. From its New York base, the OSI will directly administer programs involving research and public education as alternatives to law enforcement in dealing with the drug problem in the U.S.; research and public education on ways to help the dying end their lives in dignity, com­fort, and freedom from pain; and scholarships for students from selected countries such as Burma and the former Yugoslavia, where political conditions have forced their emigration or exile. The OSI also plans to establish an Africa-based program for the development of open societies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Higher Education Support Program

The most important program administered by the Open Society Institute involves support and assistance to other institutions of higher learning in the region. Most HESP grants are awarded to institutions not connected with the CEU, but HESP  also supports a  number  of newly formed or reformed institutions which are linked to the CEU in one way or another and form a loose  network  around  it.   The most notable members of this network are: the American University in Bulgaria; the New Bulgarian University, Sofia; the International Management Centre, Budapest; the Invisible College, Budapest; the Invisible College, Cluj; Trnava University, Slovakia; the Graduate School of the Polish Academy, Warsaw; the Economics Department, Warsaw University; the Kiev-Mohyla Academy; the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; and the New School of Economics in Moscow. Plans are underway to create a network of graduate institutions consisting in the first instance of the CEU, the Graduate School of the Polish Academy and the newly established Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

Transformation of the Humanities

One of our  most  comprehensive  educational  initiatives  is  the Transformation of the Humanities Project whose goal is to replace Marxism and  Leninism  in  primary  schools, secondary schools, and universities. Started in Russia, it is gradually spreading to other countries.  The Russian program is administered by a small task force consisting of Western and local experts and Russian Ministry and Soros Foundation officials.  It plans and implements programs, bur the foundation retains the purse strings.  It is a formula that works and could serve as a model for international assistance in other fields as well.  The Transformation Project has successfully initiated public competitions for new textbooks and teaching materials and helped implement new teaching methods, giving out over 1,000 grants and organizing workshops for teachers and principals.  In less than eighteen months the first new teaching materials have been introduced into classrooms.  So far only $12.6 million has been allocated and only a little more than $5 million has actually been spent on this project in Russia, but the results are so impressive that we plan to spend $250 million in the next five years in Russia alone. Similar programs are underway in Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzia, and are in preparation in several other countries. Building on the success of this formula, we are planning a large-scale program to support science education in Russia.

Textbook Publishing

In addition to the HESP program administered by the Open Society Institute, each national foundation has its own HESP budget which is administered by a local committee. The Open Society Institute in turn has a HESP Advisory Board on which both the Central European University and the local foundations are represented. HESP also operates regional programs, the most important of which is the Civic Education Project, operating out of Yale University, which places graduate instructors from the United States and Western Europe in universities of the region. There are over 100 graduate instructors currently teaching in ten countries.


The foundations provide scholarships for students to study locally, within the region, and in the West. The CEU grants 500 full scholarships per year to students enrolled in its courses of study. We have provided forty-seven full scholarships for students at the American University in Bulgaria and scholarships for students from the region to attend an MBA course at the International Management Centre in Budapest. Students from the region who receive support from Western universities for one year of study at either the graduate or the undergraduate level are eligible for supplementary funds for living, book and travel expenses. A new program for students from the former Yugoslavia who are enrolled in Western institutions will provide those students with supplementary benefits as well.

Other Educational Programs

Because of the foundation’s goal of addressing the specific needs of each locality and its openness to new kinds of projects, there are many other educational programs in place. One regional program which is less costly than any of the above is concerned with introducing new methods in health education. Organized by a small team of devoted professionals from the United States, it has generated enthusiastic support from local teachers. By the end of 1994, this program will have reached 20,000 teachers and approximately 400,000 students. Six ministries of education/health in the region have adopted it as a national program.

Student Advising Centers attached to practically every foundation office in the region offer information and advice about individual universities, application procedures, Graduate Record Examinations, TOEFL exams, and other issues of concern to students wishing to study in the West.


Our library program is modeled on HESP; it has a regional pro­gram officer based at the Open Society Institute and local committees attached to the local foundations. This structure is just now being established but we have already made a number of grants, some of them sup­ porting projects jointly sponsored with the Mellon Foundation.  We are in the second year of a program which sends young librarians from the region to a course of study at the Library of Congress. We are also working on a regional scheme to provide English-language journals to libraries in con­ junction with the New School for Social Research in New York. The CD­ ROM Project provided CD-ROM subscriptions as well as equipment and training workshops to twenty-five medical libraries in ten countries.


The English Language Program supports those for whom training in the English language serves a specific need, either professional or scholarly. Programs in 1994 will include support for military, engineering, academic, medical and business purposes.   The foundation has been particularly eager to support the training of English-language teachers and the preparation of students for TOEFL tests. A number of the English-language pro­grams have been run in cooperation with other agencies, including the International House of London, USIA and the British Council.


The foundation supports a number of important, disparate initiatives in the area of public and private management. We have established a regional network to select and prepare people for internships abroad. We have helped introduce Junior Achievement programs in several countries. The Privatization Training Institute in Moscow, set up in cooperation with the Ministry of Privatization there, has led to a number of similar initiatives throughout the former Soviet Union. Local foundations have introduced a number of programs as well. Regionally, we have introduced an accountancy training course and have concluded an agreement with the United States Treasury to introduce their training courses to the region. We support an ongoing program for retraining the military in Ukraine.  To bring coherence to these various projects, we recently established a task force to use the expanding network of Privatization Training Institutes as a base for introducing training courses to a broader public and for arranging training abroad for those who demonstrate exceptional promise.  The foundation plans to give priority to the retraining of military officers, both in Ukraine and in Russia.


The training of public servants and the improvement of local governments are essential to the building of open societies. The Institute of Local Government and Public Service, established under the auspices of the CEU, provides intellectual and financial support to other educational institutions and to local governments. The institutes most important customer is in Ukraine where the chairman of the executive board of our foundation, Bohdan Krawchenko, is in charge of training civil servants.

  1. LAW

Ukraine has also provided a model for our engagement in the field of legal reform. We have established an independent legal foundation in the country with a very broad and comprehensive program. Its activities include the formation of professional associations, the establishment of libraries, and the organizing of courses, workshops and conferences which will help professionals and citizens build a new legal culture. Separately, we have provided a Council of Advisors to Parliament which, among other things, helped design a very good election law, Parliament, however, adopted a different one. We are also sponsoring the creation of a law faculty at Kiev Mohyla Academy. All these activities, both in Ukraine and elsewhere, are supported by the Constitutional and  Legislative  Policy  Institute (COLPI), which is part of the Open Society Institute in Budapest.


Soviet science managed to survive and stay in the forefront in a number of areas in spite of the repressive nature of the Soviet regime. It is now endangered by the collapse of the Soviet economy. Its disintegration would be a major loss for the world. To preserve the best in Soviet science and to point the way to a more open merit-based system of support, I established the International Science Foundation with an endowment of $100 million over two years. In the first phase, we distributed some 26,000 emergency grants of $500 each, a sum deemed sufficient to provide mini­mum support to top scientists. About 5,000 similar grants were distributed through other organizations. In the second phase, $50 million will be available in the form of research grants awarded through an international peer review process. Much-needed scientific periodicals are being made available through libraries. E-Mail communications are in the process of being developed. An excellent delivery system has been established both for money and for scientific equipment and supplies. All the funds will be fully committed within the next few months. The Russian Minister of Science has officially indicated his willingness to provide matching funds in the future, and if there is similar support forthcoming in the West, the International Science Foundation may have a longer-term future.


Encouraging international dialogue remains an important aspect of our activities. Several of our foundations run public competitions for the purpose of providing stipends for study trips and for conferences abroad. The study trips cover a wide variety of fields. In 1994, for example, 100 physicians from twelve countries are receiving three-month fellowships at top medical facilities, including the Mayo Clinic. In the fields of sociology, law and public administration, we have supported a number of participants in conferences which will help the development of curricular reform and research projects in the region. The number of people who have received grants runs into the thousands.


East-West exchanges are often supported by Western governments. East-East contacts have practically no sponsorship. This regional program, created in 1991, is designed to fill that need. The program promotes regular communication and cooperation through the network of Soros foundations. It also provides a unique opportunity to foster a creative exchange of ideas and experiences among the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. East-East projects encompass education, civil society, minority rights, economics, local government, media, and the arts. Taken together, they pro­mote and foster an open society in the region.


Since we have a research program-the Research Support Scheme–connected with the Central European University and extending to other institutions in the region, we discourage local foundations from giving research grants, but we do not prohibit them from making such grants where appropriate.

  1. YOUTH

The transition to open society must be led by the next generation. Therefore, we encourage local foundations to establish contact with students and student organizations. The greatest accomplishment of the Hungarian foundation was to support self-governing student colleges during the waning years of the Communist regime. We recently introduced, on a regional basis, a Youth Project which will give grants for projects pro­ posed by the students themselves. Over 600 students from throughout the region applied to the initial competition. Another new regional program has supported the production of a debate manual for teachers and students. Over 400 students presented themselves for the first national debate com­ petition. Currently, twelve countries are participating in a secondary school exchange program.


Our concern with the next generation also focuses on children under the age of six since those years have a disproportionately large influence upon the rest of their lives. As a general rule we refuse to undertake projects which ought to be paid for by the state, but in the case of children under six, we are willing to make an exception, at least for the next few years, because it is clear that most states will not be in a position to take proper care of these children. In theory, we are ready to spend large amounts of money on this age group in certain countries and for limited periods. In practice, we have not yet found many well-formulated projects except in the former Yugoslavia. We are introducing the Head Start Program in 15 countries, with the hope that this may develop into a large­ scale, comprehensive effort. Our largest project to date has been the provision of school meals in Budapest.


Until recently, this field has remained in the hands of the national foundations, but in 1993 a regional arts and culture program was established. Most of the foundations are quite active in supporting cultural journals, book publishing, and the visual and performing arts. The regional program does not replace individual foundations’ activities, but serves as an additional resource. Our goal is to introduce some cooperation and coordination into these activities.   In the former Soviet Union we are ready to provide temporary assistance to established artistic institutions, such as museums and theaters, to enable them to survive the economic collapse. A number of programs help support young and promising artists. For the last several years, our Art Documentation Center in Budapest has flourished under the direction of Suzanne Meszoly. Based on that success, we have established a network of Soros Centers for Contemporary Arts.


Two major regional program s foster the development of a stronger health infrastructure in the region. One involves the shipping of in-kind gifts of medicine and medical equipment; the other concerns the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, an initiative spearheaded by Wiktor Osiatynski in Poland and gradually introduced in other countries. A promising treatment involving acupuncture, which has been introduced from the United States, has attracted the attention of the foundation as well. The training of doctors and medical personnel is also begin ning to take on a regional character.


  1. E-MAIL

Electronic mail holds the possibility of bringing to the region a new method of communication which is particularly suitable to an open society. Internet offers a freeway for direct international communications. Making it widely available seems like a cost-effective way to promote pluralism. Internally, we need E-Mail for our own offices and also for the International Science Foundation, which plans to use E-Mail to maintain contact with its grantees. Beyond that, we ought to be able to expand the network to other users at a relatively low marginal cost.

We are approaching the task of building E-Mail networks in the region both from the top down and from the bottom up. Our goals include the establishment of international as well as local connectivity, the provision of terminals, access to databases and, most important, training. From the top down, our regional staff arranges training for the local staff and cooperates with the International Science Foundation to bring about international connectivity. From the bottom up, we are setting up E-Mail support programs at most local foundations.  The E-Mail program works jointly with our library program and with HESP. It is broader than the library program because it involves other users including the media; the library program in turn is broader than HESP because it covers more than just university libraries.

  1. MEDIA

Most national foundations are very active in the field of media, providing training courses as well as material support. The level of material support is dictated by need. For instance, we are actively supporting the remaining independent media in Yugoslavia, and we are ready to support whatever independent initiatives there are in Croatia, but we are less forth­ coming in other countries where the need is not so great. For the support of radio broadcasting, we have an excellent regional program officer in the person of Sasa Vucinic, who was previously editor-in-chief and general manager of Radio B-52 in Belgrade; we also have Stuart Auerbach, on leave from The Washington Post, working on print media. In the field of television we have been cooperating with another foundation, lnternews. Perhaps our greatest success to date has been the establishment of an independent media center in Kiev, which is now receiving United States Government support. We have offered to take over the Institute and Archives of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, and, if our offer is accepted, we intend to make it the cornerstone of our media program, including a regional news service as well as a media training program for the region.



Under the direction of Aryeh Neier, the recently appointed head of the Open Society Institute and the former executive director of Human Rights Watch , we are beginning to focus our efforts more comprehensively in the area of human rights. We recently established a program to monitor the treatment of minorities, refugees, asylum applicants, and other migrants in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Eventually, the foundation will support a network of three institutes, one at the CEU, one in Sofia and one in Moscow, which will cooperate with each other and submit human rights projects to the Open Society Institute. Our goal is to monitor as well as address the ongoing and potential ethnic conflicts in the region. Reporting, the dissemination of information to the public, and the development of processes for effective intervention will remain central to our activities.

  1. ROMA

In addition to encouraging local foundations co support gypsy pro­grams, we established in 1993 a Roma Foundation with a board composed of Roma people. The aim of the Soros Roma Foundation is to respond to requests for assistance from the Roma community with particular emphasis on education, cultural programs and the monitoring of the rights of Roma throughout the region.


In 1993, the foundation allocated $50 million in humanitarian aid to Bosnia. Most of these funds have now been expended in efforts to bring food, water and fuel to the inhabitants of the besieged area. While the operation has been successful, the patient is dying. Approximately $10 mil­lion of the above sum was spent by our various foundation offices in the former Yugoslavia, including Sarajevo. We do not intend to continue operating, as we have in the past, through the UNHCR, but we shall continue to support humanitarian aid through our own foundations. We are also willing to become involved in other countries or regions where such efforts are needed, as, for example, in Afghanistan where we are engaged in relief operations for Tajik refugees.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of all our activities. All other programs fall into the open category. For instance, our computers for school programs have not been mentioned, although we spent $500,000 on it in Romania. Similarly, last year, forty-five high schools in Hungary received networked computers and a great variety of educational software. It has since become a civil society initiative, adopted by numerous other schools in the region. In addition, a number of programs in professional training and retraining for school teachers, lawyers and individuals in media are underway. And a recent project for the very young which has not been mentioned will enable a group composed of educators and television producers and writers in Russia to adapt Sesame Street for Russian audiences. It would take too long to list every program, but enough has been said to show that the range of activities is very wide and the organization is very complex.

We are eager to mobilize both financial and intellectual resources from the outside, but we have no particular mechanism for doing so. As a general rule we do not provide financial support to Western organizations or individuals who seek to provide assistance to the region, but the local foundations are ready to cooperate with them. We encourage such organizations to contact the local foundations directly, but we warn them that not all local foundations are equally responsive. Projects which are regional in scope should be addressed either to the Open Society Institute in Budapest or to the Soros Foundations headquarters in New York. The Open Society Institute specializes in those subjects which are taught or researched at the CEU-including Law, Economics, Ethnic Problems and Public Administration-and, of course, higher education in general. All other subjects are administered in New York. As you can see, it is not very easy to find your way within the organization, but I want to encourage you to try.