Michael Ignatieff, Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, international commentator on contemporary issues of democracy, human rights, and governance, and a Canadian citizen, has been elected Central European University’s fifth president and rector by the University’s Senate and the Board of Trustees. Ignatieff, an award-winning writer, teacher, former politician, and historian with a deep knowledge of Central and Eastern Europe, is well placed to lead the University following the excellent growth and progress CEU has enjoyed under the leadership of John Shattuck. Founded in 1991 by Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, CEU is a U.S.- and Hungarian-accredited graduate institution in Budapest with a clear mission to study and promote the principles of open society and democracy.

“I am delighted with the choice of Michael Ignatieff to succeed John Shattuck, under whose leadership CEU has grown into a unique global institution,” said Soros, CEU founder and honorary chairman. “Dr. Ignatieff is a scholar and policy practitioner and as such is ideally suited to lead CEU in these challenging times.” 

Ignatieff was selected and recommended by the Rector Search Committee, headed by CEU Trustee Jonathan Cole, former provost of Columbia University, in an intensive process involving the review of over 150 sources and candidates from all over the world, with the help of search firm Isaacson, Miller. Shattuck, who served seven years as president and rector, announced in September 2015 that he will step down on July 31, 2016.