Other Group

Institute for Human Sciences (IWM)

Website:

www.iwm.at/

Location:

Vienna, Austria

Type:

Think Tank

Founder:

Krzysztof Michalski

Institute for Human Sciences (in German: “Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen,” or IWM) is think tank for the humanities and social sciences located in Vienna, Austria. [1]

Financier and billionaire George Soros is associated with the institution, having contributed a substantial amount for its support since 2010. [2] IWM is an official member of the Open Society University Network (OSUN), an international membership group of educational institutions affiliated with Soros’s network of philanthropies. [3]

Background

Institute for Human Sciences was founded in 1982 by Polish philosopher Krzysztof Michalski and “two German colleagues” to serve as a place of discussion for “dissenting thinkers” of Eastern Europe and scholars from the West. [4] It now embraces “the global south” in addition to and encourages the pursuit of a “humane future” which it defines as “open, just, and sustainable.” [5]

Funding

Institute for Human Sciences invites U.S.-based donors to make contributions to the “American Friends of the IWM” initiative at King Baudouin Foundation United States, a 501(c)(3) organization. It lists George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (also known as Open Society Institute) as one of its “Partners and Donors.” [6] Open Society Institute has given many grants to the Institute for Human Sciences over the years. [7] [8]

George Soros

George Soros has associated with the Institute for Human Sciences as early as 1988, when he was photographed at an IWM meeting. [9]

In April 1995, Soros delivered a lecture at IWM titled “A Failed Philosopher Tries Again,” an outline of his personal philosophy. “My philosophy can be summed up in one phrase: a belief in our own fallibility,” Soros wrote, before delving into his ideas on applying Karl Popper’s theory of reflexivity to economics. [10]

Soros has participated in a number of discussions and talks at IWM, including “Is Liberal Democracy at Risk?” in June 2011 and “The Future of the Euro” in September 2012. [11] [12]

In 2015 and 2016, George’s son Alex Soros was invited by IWM to be a “Guest.” Alex, who was pursuing a Ph.D. in History at University of California, Berkeley at the time, [13] presented three lectures on the 19th century German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine and his thinking on liberalism and modernity. [14] [15] [16]

Ivan Krastev, a global board member of Open Society Foundations, is a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences. [17]

IWM is an official member of the Open Society University Network (OSUN), a Soros-managed international membership group of educational institutions. [18]

Controversy

In 2021, IWM came under criticism for having gifted a fellowship to Ukrainian scholar Olena Semenyaka. After her fellowship was announced, it was alleged that she had extensive ties to the extremist ultra-nationalist Azov movement. IWM revoked her fellowship after her political beliefs had become known to the Institute; according to a Vice News report on the incident, it began investigating “how” her “far-right political activity went unnoticed by the jury” after the allegations arose. [19]

References

  1. “Mission and vision.” IWM.at. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.iwm.at/about/mission-and-vision. ^
  2. [1] “Partners and Donors.” IWM.at. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.iwm.at/about/partners-and-donors. ^
  3.  “About OSUN.” CEU.edu. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.ceu.edu/osun. ^
  4. “Mission and vision.” IWM.at. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.iwm.at/about/mission-and-vision. ^
  5. “Mission and vision.” IWM.at. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.iwm.at/about/mission-and-vision. ^
  6. “Partners and Donors.” IWM.at. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.iwm.at/about/partners-and-donors. ^
  7. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Open Society Institute. 2013. Part XV, grants and contributions. Accessed October 2, 2022. ^
  8. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Open Society Institute. 2014. Part XV, grants and contributions. Accessed October 2, 2022. ^
  9. “Lord George Weidenfeld (left) and George Soros at a meeting of the IWM.” Alamy. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.alamy.com/lord-george-weidenfeld-left-and-george-soros-at-a-meeting-of-the-iwm-institut-fuer-die-wissenschaft-vom-menschen-english-institute-for-human-sciences-in-vienna-weidenfeld-was-a-journalist-and-adviser-to-the-israeli-government-soros-appeared-particularly-as-an-investor-image216469162.html. Archive:  https://web.archive.org/web/20221002155713/https://www.alamy.com/lord-george-weidenfeld-left-and-george-soros-at-a-meeting-of-the-iwm-institut-fuer-die-wissenschaft-vom-menschen-english-institute-for-human-sciences-in-vienna-weidenfeld-was-a-journalist-and-adviser-to-the-israeli-government-soros-appeared-particularly-as-an-investor-image216469162.html. ^
  10. Soros, George. “Remarks delivered at the Institute for Human Sciences.” GeorgeSoros.com. April 27, 1995. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.georgesoros.com/1995/04/27/remarks-delivered-at-the-institute-for-human-sciences/. ^
  11. IWMVienna. “Is Liberal Democracy at Risk?” YouTube. July 6, 2011. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iv_UPu_uknM. ^
  12. IWMVienna. “George Soros: The Future of the Euro.” YouTube. September 10, 2012. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcJ5REY99Dk. ^
  13. Williams, Alex. “Making Good on the Family Name.” New York Times. July 18, 2012. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/19/fashion/alexander-soros-tries-to-live-up-to-his-family-name.html. ^
  14. IWMVienna. “Alex Soros: Heine’s Pantheism – The Gay Science and the Death of God.” YouTube. May 9, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJHJBkpIndc. ^
  15. IWMVienna. “Alex Soros: The Tyranny of Greece over Germany.” YouTube. November 6, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7El8XxHYWg. ^
  16. IWMVienna. “Alexander Soros: Heine, Wagner, Nietzsche.” YouTube. December 5, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql9IyAn5iGM. ^
  17. “Ivan Krastev.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/ivan-krastev. ^
  18. “About OSUN.” CEU.edu. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.ceu.edu/osun. ^
  19. Hume, Tim. Vice. January 11, 2021. Accessed October 2, 2022. https://www.vice.com/en/article/m7a5jy/austrian-academic-institute-revokes-fellowship-given-to-far-right-figurehead. ^
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