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Saturday, August 31 • 14:00 - 15:30
Podiumsgespräch: Es war einmal ... wie die Open Society Foundations nach Berlin kamen! (English)

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Imagine you helped a refugee to find their way to the asylum office, and you ended up in jail as a result? Imagine you lost the right to live in the place of your residence, and being found guilty of a criminal offence as a result?

This is Hungary in 2019.
Hungary is an EU member state and receives significant foreign direct investment from German companies.
In 2018, Hungarian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment banning homelessness. Homeless people can be taken into custody if they ignore police requests to leave their space and they face accelerated trials and prison sentences. The police can confiscate or destroy a homeless person’s belongings at any time, including personal effects. The homeless person can be required to pay for expenses generated by such actions.
Academic freedom is also under threat: in 2018, the Hungarian government forced the Central European University out of the country and banned Gender Studies. In June 2019, the government decided to take over the assets of the research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Science.
Open Society Foundations closed its international office in Budapest and moved to Berlin in August 2018, leaving what it called "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment" in Hungary. OSF departed Budapest after the government announced restrictions on non-profit organizations under a law dubbed the "Stop Soros" bill. “The government of Hungary has denigrated and misrepresented our work and repressed civil society for the sake of political gain, using tactics unprecedented in the history of the European Union,” OSF president Patrick Gaspard said in a statement at the time.

In this session, staff members that worked for Open Society Foundations in Budapest will relate their experiences of being forced out of Hungary and of their transition to Berlin, discussing the political evolution of a progressive transition into ‘illiberal democracy’ and authoritarian state.

avatar for Selmin Çalışkan

Selmin Çalışkan

Open Society Foundations
Selmin Çalışkan ist Direktorin für Institutionelle Beziehungen für das Berliner Büro der Open Society Foundations. In ihrer Position vernetzt sie das neue Open Society Büro mit wichtigen Akteuren und Akteurinnen der Berliner Community, allen voran der inspirierenden und... Read More →
avatar for Balázs Denes

Balázs Denes

Balázs Denes ist Jurist und Menschenrechtsaktivist aus Ungarns Hauptstadt Budapest. Er hat einen Abschluss in Rechtswissenschaften der ELTE University und war Gastwissenschaftler an der Columbia University in New York. Balázs begann seine Karriere als Praktikant bei der Ungarischen... Read More →
avatar for Csaba Csontos

Csaba Csontos

Open Society Foundations
avatar for Anita Kárpáti

Anita Kárpáti

Open Society Foundations
Anita Kárpáti is a programme administrative specialist at the Open Society Initiative for Europe, bssed in Berlin, providing technical assistance in grantmaking as well as coordinating logistics for events organized by the programme. Prior to joining OSIFE, Anita worked for the... Read More →

Saturday August 31, 2019 14:00 - 15:30 CEST
10 | Open Society Foundations

Attendees (6)