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George Soros Announces $1 Bln To Start Open University

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George Soros, who is an advocate of liberal globalism, has announced that he is earmarking $1 billion for the creation of an open global university network that would save the world from climate change and dictators.

He made the announcement while addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

The octogenarian billionaire said the world democracy needs to be rescued from "would-be or actual dictators" like US President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Soros appealed to other philanthropists to contribute to his ambitious project, which aims to "better prepare students for current and future global challenges".

The global network to transform higher education is named the Open Society University Network (OSUN). It will integrate teaching and research across higher education institutions worldwide.

It will offer simultaneously taught network courses and joint degree programs and regularly bring students and faculty from different countries together with in-person and online discussions, Soros' Open Society Foundations said in a press release. The network aims to reach the students who need it the most and to promote the values of open society—including free expression and diversity of beliefs.

OSUN will seek to promote rigorous education and reach institutions in need of international partners, as well as neglected populations, such as refugees, incarcerated people, the Roma and other displaced groups. OSUN, with the help of its allies, is ready to start a massive "scholars at risk" program, merging a large number of academically excellent but politically endangered scholars into this new global network.

Terming the network as the most important and enduring project of his life, Soros said: "I believe our best hope lies in access to an education that reinforces the autonomy of the individual by cultivating critical thinking and emphasizing academic freedom".

Soros has given more than $32 billion over the past 30 years to education and social justice causes.

The Central European University (CEU), which Soros founded, and Bard College will form the core of the new network. They will partner with Arizona State University, and other institutions such as the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan and BRAC University in Bangladesh.

Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, will serve as chancellor of OSUN.

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