Person

Istvan Rev

Born:

1951

Occupation:

Professor

Nationality:

Hungarian

Istvan Rev is a professor of history and political science at Central European University and director of the Open Society Archives. He sits on the global board of Open Society Foundations. [1] Central European University, Open Society Archives, and Open Society Foundations were all created by George Soros; Rev has had a close relationship to the billionaire financier and left-progressive philanthropist since the 1980s. [2]

Academic Career

Istvan Rev’s academic research is concerned with historiography, historical anthropology, and cultural memory. [3] In 1975, Rev obtained a master’s degree in history, English language and literature, and sociology at Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest. [4]

Rev has taught at University of California, Berkeley; University of Chicago Law School; Jesus College, Oxford; Columbia University; Princeton University; Harvard University; and Central European University, where he is still teaching as of November 2021. [5] He writes books on the history of communism such as Prehistory of Post-Communism, published with Stanford University Press in 2005. [6] [7]

From 1975 to 1981, Rev was a junior fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences; he was promoted to a scientific fellow in 1981 and remained one until 1985. In 1985, he became a scientific fellow at the economic history department of the Karl Marx University of Economics in Budapest, a position he held until 1991. [8]

From 1985 to 1986, Rev was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. [9] He was a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Michigan in 1994, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles in 1995 and at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford from 1997 to 1998. [10]

Activity with Soros Organizations

Istvan Rev met George Soros in the 1980s, when Soros was beginning to create his philanthropic empire. Rev recounted to The Atlantic how Soros came to Budapest “alone, with a briefcase” and toward the end of the trip told Rev, “I found worthy causes on which I could spend $10 million, and I’m so happy.” [11]

From 1991 to 1993, Istvan Rev was the director of the Central European University’s Budapest College. [12] Soros created Central European University in 1991 as a way to promote the brand of “critical thinking” central to Soros’s Open Society philosophy. [13] Rev became a professor of history and political science at Central European University in 1991, and as of November 2021 he was still teaching. [14] In an interview with The Atlantic, Rev described himself as “the first employee” of the university. [15]

During the initial years of the Central European University’s existence, the university was targeted by the Hungarian education ministry for its lack of accreditation. Istvan Rev had to defend the university as director, and even after he stepped down from the director position in 1994. Recounting this history, Masha Gessen of the New Yorker described Rev as a “dissident” who was “running in and out of [university rector Alfred Stepan’s] office with updates on fraught negotiations with the Hungarian education ministry regarding the use of the word “university.”” [16]

Since 1998, Rev has served as the director of the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University. [17] The Open Society Archives hosts and actively collects materials on “recent history and human rights.” [18] The Atlantic described the archives as “a collection of artifacts of communism and the movements that resisted it.” [19]

In 2019, the Washington Post reported that the Central European University had to relocate to Vienna due to conflict with the nationalist administration of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “Prime Minister Orban has murdered my institution,” Rev complained to the Post. “He has ripped it from its historical and geographic context, and stripped it of its identity. . . . He has consciously inflicted grave damage on it in order to damage the prospects for liberal democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.” [20]

Rev sits on the global board of Open Society Foundations. [21]

Environmentalism

Istvan Rev was a founding member of Duna Kor (Danube Circle), a Hungarian environmentalist non-governmental organization established in 1984 to oppose the construction of the $3 billion Gabcikovo-Nagymaros dam and hydroelectric complex on the Danube River. [22] For this, Duna Kor published information on the construction project and worked to form relationships with scientists and professionals in the region to build momentum against it. In 1988, Duna Kor managed to host a conference with the World Wildlife Fund on the issue and brought international attention to the protest. After getting 150,000 signatures on the petition, in 1989 Hungary officially ended construction of its side of the dam; the other side was nearly finished and subsequently put into operation by the newly independent Slovakian government, which Hungary sued. [23]

References

  1. “Istvan Rev.” Global Board – Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 25, 2021.  https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/istvan-rev. ^
  2.  Foer, Franklin. “Viktor Orbán’s War On Intellect.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 20, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/george-soros-viktor-orban-ceu/588070/. ^
  3. “Istvan Rev.” Global Board – Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 25, 2021.  https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/istvan-rev. ^
  4.  [1] “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. (See CV) ^
  5. “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. (See CV) ^
  6. “Istvan Rev.” OSA Archivum. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.osaarchivum.org/about/staff-list/Istv%C3%A1n-R%C3%A9v. ^
  7. “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. ^
  8.  “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. ^
  9. “Istvan Rev.” Institute for Advanced Study. Accessed November 25, 2021.  https://www.ias.edu/scholars/istev%C3%A1n-r%C3%A9v. ^
  10. “Istvan Rev.” Global Board – Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 25, 2021.  https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/istvan-rev. ^
  11. Foer, Franklin. “Viktor Orbán’s War On Intellect.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 20, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/george-soros-viktor-orban-ceu/588070/. ^
  12. “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. ^
  13. “George Soros.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/george-soros. ^
  14. [1] “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. (See CV) ^
  15. Foer, Franklin. “Viktor Orbán’s War On Intellect.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 20, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/george-soros-viktor-orban-ceu/588070/. ^
  16. Gessen, Masha. “How George Soros’s University in Budapest Fell Victim to a Nationalist Bureaucracy.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, December 6, 2018. https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-george-soross-university-in-budapest-fell-victim-to-a-nationalist-bureaucracy. ^
  17. “Istvan Rev.” People – Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/istvan_rev. (See CV) ^
  18. “Open Society Archives.” Central European University. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://people.ceu.edu/unit/osa. ^
  19.  Foer, Franklin. “Viktor Orbán’s War On Intellect.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, May 20, 2019. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/06/george-soros-viktor-orban-ceu/588070/. ^
  20. Daniels, Ronald J. “Opinion | Central European University Is a Remarkable School. It Should Stay in Hungary.” The Washington Post. WP Company, January 23, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/central-european-university-is-a-remarkable-school-it-should-stay-in-hungary/2019/01/22/518a2fc6-1e61-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html. ^
  21. “Istvan Rev.” Global Board – Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 25, 2021.  https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/istvan-rev. ^
  22. “János Vargha / Duna Kör.” Right Livelihood. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://web.archive.org/web/20101130142121/http://rightlivelihood.org/duna-kor.html. ^
  23. “János Vargha / Duna Kör.” Right Livelihood. Accessed November 25, 2021. https://rightlivelihood.org/the-change-makers/find-a-laureate/janos-vargha-duna-kr/. ^
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