Other Group

Open Society University Network (OSUN)






Liviu Matei (Central European University)

Vice President:

Jonathan Becker (Bard College)

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The Open Society University Network (OSUN) is an international membership group of educational institutions established to promote the ideals of “open society” expounded by Karl Popper and supported by left-progressive billionaire George Soros and to expand access to higher education for underprivileged groups. It was founded by Soros’ Central European University and Bard College in January 2020. Soros endowed the network with $1 billion at its inception.1 It is functionally part of the Soros Network of core organizations supported by Soros to advance his beliefs in Popper’s “open society.”

Central European University and Bard College have a history of creating educational networks together, and OSUN will serve to build on this existing relationship. 2 Likewise, the leadership of Bard College has had a long-standing personal relationship with Soros.34

Educational Partners

Open Society University Network already has a number of institutions officially participating in the “first-phase” of its projects.5

Its partnered colleges and universities include Al-Quds University/Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences (Palestine), American University of Bulgaria, American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), Arizona State University (Unites States), Ashesi University (Ghana), Bard College Berlin (Germany), Birkbeck: University of London (United Kingdom), BRAC University (Bangladesh), European Humanities University (Lithuania), Fulbright University of Vietnam Sciences Po in Paris (France), and SOAS University of London (United Kingdom). 6 7

Its partnered research institutions and educational organizations include Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (United States), Chatham House (United Kingdom), Institute for New Economic Thinking (United States and United Kingdom), Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Austria), Open Society Archives (Hungary), Rift Valley Institute (Kenya), and the Talloires Network (United States). 8 9

The Network has stated that it is “actively in discussions with other potential partners that share its principles and academic ambition.” 10


Liviu Matei is the provost of the Open Society University Network. Matei has worked on projects for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a highly politicized project of the United Nations that promotes education through the conservation of historical sites across the globe and has worked in a variety of capacities for a number of international organizations.11

Jonathan Becker is the vice president of OSUN and the executive vice president of Bard College.12 He serves as the director of Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement, a program of the college that focuses on left-of-center and liberal issues such as identity politics, prison reform, illegal immigration, environmentalism, and left-progressive international order.13

Leon Botstein is the chancellor for OSUN. He has served as the president of Bard College since 1975 and is a conductor for a number of symphony orchestras in the United States and Abroad. Botstein is closely connected with George Soros and his associated entities and serves on the boards of numerous Open Society organizations. Botstein is a member of the global board of directors for Open Society Foundations and is the chairman of the board of directors for Central European University.1415


While the main stated goals of OSUN are to combat a supposed rise of authoritarianism and expand access to higher education, leaders of the organization have openly stated that it will also be used to advocate for environmentalist issues. George Soros, the primary funder and founder of OSUN, stated, “We’re living at a transformational moment in history. The survival of open societies is endangered, and we face an even greater crisis: climate change, which threatens the survival of our civilization.” Soros claimed that OSUN’s mission of educational reform is the best solution to combat climate change.16

Founding Member Colleges

Bard College is a liberal arts school located in New York and a founding member college of the Open Society University Network. Bard is funded annually in part thanks to a number of large grants from left-of-center and liberal organizations such as Open Society Foundations,17 the Silicon Valley Community Foundation,18 and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.19 The college has a recent history of being vocal in issue areas such as immigration, environmentalism, and LGBT issues, and is connected to left-leaning think tanks which push issues such as labor organizing, socialist economic theory, and identity politics.20

Central European University is an Austrian (formerly Hungarian) university accredited in the United States offering American degrees, and is a founding member of the OSUN.21 The University was founded with a large grant from liberal billionaire financier George Soros in 1991. The university received $20 million annually in support grants from Soros annually until 2001 when Soros gave the university $250 million.22



  1. “George Soros Announces Global Initiative to Transform Higher Education.” Open Society Foundations, www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/george-soros-launches-global-network-to-transform-higher-education.
  2. “Inside Higher Ed’s News.” Inside Higher Ed, www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/02/04/amid-authoritarian-resurgence-george-soros-pledges-1-billion-toward-new-university.
  3. “Bard College – NEWS ABOUT BARD COLLEGE.” LEON BOTSTEIN, July 2,  2016. www.leonbotstein.com/leon-botstein-music-room-9/category/Bard College. Archive: https://web.archive.org/save/https://www.leonbotstein.com/leon-botstein-music-room-9/category/Bard+College.
  4. Candid. “Soros, Open Society Award $60 Million to Bard College.” Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 18, 2011. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/soros-open-society-award-60-million-to-bard-college.
  5. Central European University, www.ceu.edu/node/24830.
  6. Central European University, www.ceu.edu/node/24830.
  7. Bard College. “Open Society University Network at Bard College.” OSUN, osun.bard.edu/.
  8. Central European University, www.ceu.edu/node/24830.
  9. Bard College. “Open Society University Network at Bard College.” OSUN, osun.bard.edu/.
  10. Central European University, www.ceu.edu/node/24830.
  11. “Liviu Matei.” Central European University. Accessed June 2 2020. https://people.ceu.edu/liviu_matei.
  12. “Jonathan Becker.” Bard College. Accessed June 7, 2020. https://www.bard.edu/academics/faculty/details/?id=107.
  13. “Publications.” Bard College Center for Civic Engagement. Accessed June 7 2020. https://cce.bard.edu/resources/publications/.
  14. “Global Board: Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/boards/global-board/member/leon-botstein.
  15. “People: Leon Botstein.” National Center for Family Philanthropy. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.ncfp.org/people/leon-botstein/.
  16. “A new global university wants to fight the climate crisis and authoritarian governments.” Study International News. Accessed June 7, 2020.
  17. “OSF Awarded Grants.” Open Society Foundations, Accessed May 22, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/grants/past?filter_keyword=bard+college.  
  18. “SVCF Grants Database.” Silliconvalleycf.org. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/2015grantees.
  19. “Grants Database.” Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed May 20, 2020. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2005/01/OPP36109.
  20. “Research Programs.” Levy Economics Institute. Accessed May 20, 2020. http://www.levyinstitute.org/research/.
  21. “George Soros – Open Society Founder and Chair.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/george-soros.
  22. Lewin, Tamar. “Soros Gives $250 Million To University in Europe.” The New York Times. October 14, 2001. Accessed March 31, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/14/world/soros-gives-250-million-to-university-in-europe.html

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