Person

Leon Botstein

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Global Board Member of the Open Society Foundations

 

Political Party:

Democratic Party

Residence:

Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College, [1] the chairman of the George Soros-founded Central European University, and the chancellor of Open Society University Network (OSUN), a higher education partnership founded by Central European University and Bard College that is functionally a part of the Soros Network of left-of-center advocacy philanthropies. [2]

Botstein has had a “long and affectionate relationship” with Soros since the 1980s, [3] has said that individuals including Soros have “created” Bard College due to contributions and donations, [4] and called Soros’s $500 million endowment to Bard College through Open Society Foundations the “most historic moment since the college’s founding in 1860.” [5]

Botstein supports the elimination of student debt, [6] said that the 2016 election of Donald Trump was about “racism” against then-President Obama, [7] and says issues such as freedom of speech and critical discourse should be addressed with sensitivity to the perspectives of critics with critical race theory-influenced concepts such as “equity” and “justice” in mind. [8]

Career

Leon Botstein is the president of Bard College, a role he has held since 1975. [9] He is also the chairman of the George Soros-founded Central European University and the chancellor of Open Society University Network (OSUN), a higher education partnership founded by Central European University and Bard College that is functionally a part of the Soros Network. [10]

Botstein has had a “long and affectionate relationship” with Soros since the 1980s [11] and has said that individuals including Soros, Leon Levy of the eponymously named Leon Levy Foundation, and Dick Fisher are the people who “created” Bard College due to their large donations and endowments. [12]

In what Botstein called the “most historic moment since the college’s founding in 1860,” [13] George Soros pledged a $500 million endowment to Bard College through Open Society Foundations in 2021. As a structured challenge grant, Botstein and Bard College would have to obtain matching donations to receive the full grant amount. The Quantum Group of Funds, a Soros-managed fund, [14] will manage income from the $500 million endowment until Bard raises matching $500 million on its own. [15] Soros also committed $100 million to Bard through the Open Society Foundation through ten different $10 million grants over a decade [16] and $60 million in 2011 for the college’s Center for Civic Engagement. [17]

In his role at Bard, Botstein works to strengthen the belief that there is a link between democracy, liberty, and the critical race theory-inspired concept of “social justice” and that issues such as freedom of speech and critical discourse should be addressed with sensitivity to the perspectives of critics, along with “equity” and “justice” in mind. [18] He has opposed the Hungarian government’s decision to shut down Central European University [19] and heavily criticized Russia’s decision to ban Bard College, effectively ending its institutional affiliation with St. Petersburg State University. [20]

Botstein’s book, Jefferson’s Children: Education and the Promise of American Culture, has influenced public school policy in Baltimore, Cleveland, Newark, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, D.C. [21] [22]

Botstein supports the elimination of student debt, [23] has said the SAT standardized test “makes a mockery of the ideals and benefits of learning,” [24] and was one of the leaders of the Bard Prison Initiative, a consortium of 15 colleges that offers 160 courses to prisoners and has awarded over 600 Bard degrees. [25]

He was also a critic of the Trump administration, saying the future of American universities was at threat due to President Trump’s border, immigration, and refugee policies [26] and claiming Trump’s victory in the 2016 election was about “racism” against then-President Obama. [27]

Political Contributions

Leon Botstein has made political contributions to the left-of-center pass-through ActBlue, the Democratic National Committee, the congressional campaigns of Representative Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Senator Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY), the unsuccessful congressional campaign of Sean Eldridge (D-NY), and the unsuccessful presidential campaigns of John Kerry in 2004 and President Jimmy Carter in 1980. [28]

Personal Information

Leon Botstein holds a BA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2011 [29] and is the principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. [30] Botstein was born in Zurich, Switzerland, and resides in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. [31]

References

  1.  “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/leon-botstein. ^
  2.  “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.leonbotstein.com/biography. ^
  3. Gregory, Alice. “Pictures from an institution.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/pictures-institution. ^
  4. Gregory, Alice. “Pictures from an institution.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/pictures-institution. ^
  5. Rosenfeld, Arno. “With $500 million gift, Soros deepens involvement with Bard College.” Forward. April 6, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://forward.com/fast-forward/467197/with-500-million-gift-soros-deepens-involvement-with-bard-college/. ^
  6. Botstein, Leon. “Why Clinton must take drastic measures to end the student loan crisis if she wants to beat Trump.” Hechinger Report. August 11, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/. ^
  7. [1] Botstein, Leon. “The Election Was About Racism Against Barack Obama.” Time Magazine. December 13, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://time.com/4597969/election-racism-obama/. ^
  8. Botstein, Leon. “Stop the Generational Moralizing About Free Speech.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. December 4, 2017. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.chronicle.com/article/stop-the-generational-moralizing-about-free-speech/. ^
  9. “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/leon-botstein. ^
  10.  [1] “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.leonbotstein.com/biography. ^
  11. Gregory, Alice. “Pictures from an institution.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/pictures-institution. ^
  12. Gregory, Alice. “Pictures from an institution.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/pictures-institution. ^
  13.  Rosenfeld, Arno. “With $500 million gift, Soros deepens involvement with Bard College.” Forward. April 6, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://forward.com/fast-forward/467197/with-500-million-gift-soros-deepens-involvement-with-bard-college/. ^
  14. Langlois, Shawn. “Co-founder of George Soros’s legendary Quantum Fund warns of the ‘worst bear market of my lifetime.” MarketWatch. April 4, 2020. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/co-founder-of-george-soross-legendary-quantum-fund-warns-of-the-worst-bear-market-of-my-lifetime-2020-04-01. ^
  15. [1] Seltzer, Rick. “Soros Pledges $500M to Bard Endowment.” Inside Higher Ed. April 2, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/04/02/soros-pledges-500m-bard-endowment. ^
  16. Seltzer, Rick. “Soros Pledges $500M to Bard Endowment.” Inside Higher Ed. April 2, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/04/02/soros-pledges-500m-bard-endowment. ^
  17. “Soros, Open Society Award $60 Million to Bard College.” Philanthropy News Digest by Candid. May 18, 2011. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/soros-open-society-award-60-million-to-bard-college. ^
  18. Botstein, Leon. “Stop the Generational Moralizing About Free Speech.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. December 4, 2017. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.chronicle.com/article/stop-the-generational-moralizing-about-free-speech/. ^
  19. Leon Botstein, Carol Christ and Jonathan Cole. “Hungary’s xenophobic attack on Central European University is a threat to freedom everywhere. Washington Post. April 4, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2017/04/04/hungarys-xenophobic-attack-on-central-european-university-is-a-threat-to-freedom-everywhere/. ^
  20. Saul, Stephanie. “Russia Bans Bard College, and Other Universities Ask What’s Next.” New York Times. August 5, 2021. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/05/us/bard-college-russia-ban-undesirable.html. ^
  21. Gregory, Alice. “Pictures from an institution.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/pictures-institution. ^
  22. “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/leon-botstein. ^
  23. Botstein, Leon. “Why Clinton must take drastic measures to end the student loan crisis if she wants to beat Trump.” Hechinger Report. August 11, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/. ^
  24. Botstein, Leon. “College President: SAT is Part Hoax, Part Fraud.” Time Magazine. March 7, 2014. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/. ^
  25. “Our Work.” Bard Prison Initiative. Accessed November 28, 2021. https://bpi.bard.edu/. ^
  26. Botstein, Leon. “American Universities Must Take A Stand.” New York Times. February 8, 2017. Accessed via Web Archive. November 27, 2021. https://archive.ph/SEM21. ^
  27. [1] Botstein, Leon. “The Election Was About Racism Against Barack Obama.” Time Magazine. December 13, 2016. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://time.com/4597969/election-racism-obama/. ^
  28. “Leon Botstein.” Federal Election Commission Individual Contributions. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=leon+botstein. ^
  29. “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 26, 2021. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/who-we-are/global-board/member/leon-botstein. ^
  30.  “Leon Botstein.” Open Society Foundations. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.leonbotstein.com/biography. ^
  31. “Leon Botstein.” Leon Botstein Website. Accessed November 27, 2021. https://www.leonbotstein.com/biography. ^
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