SOAS University of London is one of 12 universities and colleges participating in the first phase of the Open Society University Network (OSUN), launched in conjunction with Bard College, NY, which was announced by George Soros at Davos on 23 January 2020.  

In what he hailed as the “most important and enduring project of my life”, George Soros said it was important to fund institutions that would help resist the drift towards growing authoritarianism and that OSUN would seek to reach out to "places in need of high quality education and in serving neglected populations". 

Professor Stephen Hopgood, Deputy Director SOAS, and Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, Reader in International Relations at SOAS, have been in conversation with the OSUN team in New York about the role SOAS will play as one of twelve universities participating in the first phase of this transformative new global university network.

The head of SOAS's Global Engagement Directorate, Dr Helen Kelly, has been providing input to OSUN on running a global university network.  

Stephen Hopgood said: "SOAS could not be more proud to be part of the launch of George Soros's groundbreaking vision for a global networked university that promotes civic engagement, open societies and providing education to underserved communities."

Leslie Vinjamuri said "OSUN will be transformative in providing access to a liberal, open education, across the globe. It is a tremendously inspiring initiative and comes at a time when the values we embrace at SOAS are under attack in many societies. I am tremendously proud and excited that SOAS will be part of the first phase of this university network."

In the first phase, SOAS will work with OSUN and the other partners to develop a shared curriculum and teach students as part of this global university network, creating opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds across the world.

Partners in the network include Al-Quds University/Al-Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences, Ashesi University (Ghana)  and BRAC University (Bangladesh)

The Open Society University Network (OSUN) is a new global university network that integrates learning and the advancement of knowledge across geographic and demographic boundaries, promotes civic engagement on behalf of open societies, and expands access of underserved communities to higher education.

In his remarks at the World Economic Forum, George Soros said that:

“OSUN will be unique. It will offer an international platform for teaching and research. In the first phase it will connect closer together an existing network."  In the second phase, OSUN shall open up this network to other institutions who want to join and are eager and qualified to do so. He added: 'We are looking for far sighted partners who feel their responsibility for the future of our civilisation"

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