Through the commitment, the New York City-based foundation will provide $10 million a year to expand and strengthen the work of Bard's Center for Civic Engagement, which is central to the college's undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and its leadership role as a founding partner of the Open Society University Network. Launched in late 2019 and endowed with $1 billion earlier this year, OSUN will build on the work of Bard, Central European University, and OSF to integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide, offer courses and joint degree programs, and bring together students and faculty from different countries.
"The Open Society Foundations have partnered with Bard College for nearly three decades to make higher education more inclusive and accessible," said OSF president Patrick Gaspard. "At a time when democracies and the right to free expression are under threat — and every institution of higher education is facing enormous challenges due to the COVID-19 and economic crises — we need to invest in teaching and education that advance the values of an open society. As George Soros has said, we need to export critical thinking."
"Bard is deeply grateful for the support of George Soros and the Open Society Foundations, their work in public schools and prisons, as well as international partnerships, and, most recently, their role in founding the Open Society University Network," said Bard College president and Open Society University Network chancellor Leon Botstein. "This philanthropy has enabled Bard to fulfill its mission as a private university for the public good."