China could get Soros institution

October 19, 2001

International financier and philanthropist George Soros is considering establishing a private university in China dedicated to promoting democratic values in higher education.

Mr Soros, who stopped supporting cultural activities in China after the violent political repression of 1989, said the legal basis now existed in the country for such a university.

"I've just been to China and had a really good reception to the idea. I've received expressions of interest," he said.

Mr Soros was speaking in Budapest after official celebrations for the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Central European University.

Any future China project will almost certainly be modelled on the CEU.

CEU was set up in 1991 as an educational centre to train future leaders and to counter what Mr Soros feared would be a rise in violent nationalist movements after the collapse of communism in the region.

At the celebrations he announced an endowment of $250 million (£170 million) to the CEU, designed to give the university financial security and independence.

"With this I cut the umbilical cord. Anyone contributing to the CEU in the future will not be giving to a Soros institution," he said.

The endowment brings Mr Soros's total support for the CEU to almost $500 million.

The CEU is accredited by the State of New York and operates as an offshore American university. It has about 900 students and 4,000 alumni in 46 different countries.

Mr Soros said he was in talks to create a sister institution to the CEU in Warsaw, Poland.

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