Event: ‘Authoritarianism in Central Europe’


ef0f6fdb-a2a7-47d4-8cfa-61a3e5a38ae71a648722-0b31-4e15-9f4e-d3c22723c8a5TIME: 13:00 – 14:00, 30th May 2017

VENUE: The Henry Jackson Society, 26th Floor
Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP


Dr William O’Reilly
Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, Cambridge University

Christian Davies
Guardian Contributor from Poland

To register your interest, or for any further information, please email
rsvp@henryjacksonsociety.org, stating clearly whether you are a member of HJS.

Please note that you will need to receive a confirmation email to be able to attend the event.


The Central European University (CEU) was founded in Hungary in 1991 and has since risen to be ranked among the top 200 universities in the world in eight disciplines, particularly political science and international studies. For two decades, it has been seen as a bastion of liberal Western values in the former Eastern bloc. Yet it is now threatened with closure by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Protest has been swift, with Orban’s detractors comparing closure of the university to similar measures taken by Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 15 Nobel Prize winners, the US State Department, and universities around the world have also expressed their support for the university.

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to an event with Dr William O’Reilly, from Cambridge University, and Christian Davies, a Guardian contributor based in Poland. They will discuss the likelihood of CEU’s closure, and the prospect of increased authoritarianism in Central Europe. They will also ask searching questions about the decisions being made by the the Orban government, asses how the campaign to keep the CEU open is progressing, and debate the future of liberal values in Central and Eastern Europe.

William O’Reilly has worked on a range of topics in early modern European and Atlantic history, and is particularly interested in the history of European migration, colonialism and imperialism. Since taking his DPhil at Oxford in 2003, William O’Reilly has taught early modern History at the University of Cambridge. He has also been a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, Budapest; Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; Visiting Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest, and at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna; a DAAD Fellow at the University of Hamburg and Erasmus lecturer at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria and the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany.

Christian Davies is a freelance journalist based in Warsaw. He writes regularly about history, politics and foreign affairs for The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, and Gazeta Wyborcza. He was formerly a researcher for Rory Stewart MP and, before that, for Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP. He studied at University College London and London School of Economics.


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