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The Summer University contributes to pursuing CEU’s open society mission by promoting excellence in research, teaching, learning, and social engagement. CEU's Summer University program offers high-level, research-oriented, interdisciplinary, and innovative academic courses as well as workshops on policy issues for professional development in the social sciences and the humanities. The short (one- or two-week) intensive courses, taught by teams of distinguished international academics (including CEU faculty), attract graduate students, junior or post-doctoral researchers, teachers, professionals, and civil society activists from around the world.

Course offerings cater to diverse needs of academic and professional development in the social sciences and humanities across a wide spectrum of disciplines. These include anthropology, cultural studies, environmental sciences, comparative religion, political science, public policy, sociology, international relations, legal studies, etc. The program encourages topics in newly emerging fields and transdisciplinary approaches.

The program is unique in its diversity of faculty and student body. It brings together groups of interested individuals to study together intensively in Budapest coming from enormously varied geographical, cultural, and academic backgrounds. Participants have been accepted into the program from over 130 different countries ranging from East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union to countries of Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. The courses are taught by a team of faculty who also represent a wide range of countries in an effort to match the diversity of the student body. They have come from approximately 80 different countries from the region as well as mostly from Western Europe and America. This exciting multicultural composition of the courses provides a stimulating environment for engaging participants and faculty in an inspiring and enriching dialogue during the summer school.

Key Facts

The twenty-seven summer schools from 1996 to 2022 offered 454 courses. The program has received more than 35,000 applications; around 11,000 participants attended, and 3,000 faculties taught the various courses. In any given year, the average number of countries represented in a course is around 16, ensuring the truly and uniquely international nature of the program.


Participants have been accepted into the program so far from 149 different countries ranging from East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union to countries of Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. In recent years, 19% of the participants have come from new EU member states, 21% from regional emerging democracies, 30% from developed countries , and 30% from non-regional emerging democracies.

The majority of participants are graduate students, junior faculty, and researchers; the rest of the participant body is professionals such as government officials, NGO workers, etc. The gender distribution is 57% female and 43% male.


Professors have come to teach courses from 89 different countries so far. In recent years, 37% of the faculty came from the region, 59% from Western Europe, America, Canada, Australia, Israel, and Japan, and 4% from non-regional emerging democracies.

SUN faculty teams are composed of CEU professors as well as other leading scholars and experts from universities and research or professional institutions all over the world. The diversity of the student body is matched by the geographical, institutional, and disciplinary variety represented in the course faculty.

In any one course, participants are able to work with a mixture of Eastern and Western academics and practitioners from 5-6 different countries, affiliated with CEU and other educational or professional institutions, often coming from different discipline areas. Most of our courses are designed to encourage a cross-disciplinary and cross-national inquiry into currently relevant issues such as ethnic relations, migration, nationalism and transnationalism, globalization, human rights, urban development, poverty reduction, religion and identity, gender, etc. A broad range of teaching methods is used to enliven the courses such as intensive reading seminars, panel and group discussions, individual and group projects, presentations, field trips, etc. During the course, while faculty members present their topics through lectures, seminars, etc., they also facilitate work on the development of participants' research and/or policy agendas through individual tutorials, office hours.

Institutions SUN faculty came from include...


e.g. Columbia University, Cornell, Harvard, Rutgers, Stanford, University of California, University of South Carolina, Yale University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Charles University Prague, Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences Budapest, Moscow State University, University of Ljubljana, University of Bucharest, Warsaw University, Catholic University of Leuven, London School of Economics, University of London, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Reading, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Amsterdam, Sabanci University, University of Toronto, Benjamin N. Cardoso School of Law, NY, USA, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, St. Paul, USA, etc. organizations and NGOs 

e.g. United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Society of Political Psychology, Open Society Foundations (OSF),  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, The Council of Europe, Roma Education Fund, European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC)  Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ), Internews Network, Research & Learning Group, BBC World Service Trust, Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA), The European Cultural Foundation, International Visegrad Fund, European Environmental Agency, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Group on Earth Observation (GEO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Environment Facility, World Bank Group


In the past few years, our most important partners included various programs and agencies of the European Union (e.g. European Environmental Agency, European Commission Joint Research Centre). Our summer school was involved in disseminating the results of several EU research projects and extending their networks (New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent (CA 16213), a COST Action and the Horizon 2020 Program Migration Solidarity and Acts of Citizenship along the Balkan Route, MIGSOL).

EEA logo       European Commission logo     COST logo     MIGSOL logo

International organizations such as the Council of Europe, the Visegrad Fund, the United Nations (United Nations Development Program, United Nations Population Fund), and the International IDEA have contributed to training professionals in various fields.

Council of Europe logo     Visegrad Fund logo        UNDP logo        UNFPA logo         IDEA logo

Academic cooperation with universities and university networks (Max Weber Kolleg, University of Erfurt, Queen’s University, Canada, OSUN, CIVICA, ETGN) as well as research associations (the Society for Applied Philosophy, European Consortium for Political Research, Standing Group for Local Government and Politics, and the European Urban Research Association) helped create and deliver successful courses.
The Open Society University Network (OSUN), of which CEU is a founding member, is SUN’s most important partner. The summer school facilitates collaborations among OSUN institutions and scholars on priority themes members of the network share. OSUN makes a substantial contribution to SUN’s program development with both expertise and financial support.

Queens logo     SAP logo     ECPR logo      EURA logo      ETGN logo

OSUN logo

Foundations like Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, Open Society Foundations, supported the program with their expertise and provided scholarships to ensure the diversity of the summer school. The Velux Foundations, the Roma Education Fund, and the Open Society Foundations’ Roma Initiatives Office have been providing ongoing support for our unique courses on Romani Identity issues.

FES logo     Fritz Thyssen Stiftung logo     Velux logo     Roma Education Fund logo      OSF logo

Several corporate partners supported technology-related courses (Google, Airbus, ESRI, Maxar Technologies), while BlackRock offered scholarships for female entrepreneurs to promote gender equality. OeAD student housing, a non-profit Austrian company partnered with SUN to promote mutual application to OEAD summer courses as well as CEU summer courses.

Blackrock logo        OEAD logo

We are grateful to all our sponsors whose support enabled us to invite participants from 80 different countries in 2019.

The SUN staff 

Throughout the whole year, the SUN office is ready to assist you with regards to information about the CEU Summer Program. All SUN staff members are involved in creating and updating the course websites, advertising the courses, liaising with applicants, participants and course organizers, notifying applicants, organizing social events and various other aspects of the program during the summer. Please find below the list of the SUN Office staff with their specific responsibilities in addition to their core activities.

Kornelia Vargha photo

Ms. Kornelia Vargha
Acting Director 
Coordinating academic and organizational tasks and providing major program guidelines; primary contact person for submission of summer course proposals and public relations for the program. 

Ms. Eszter Stubenvoll

Program Officer 
Faculty logistics (contracts, accommodation, etc.); fundraising; creating and monitoring budgets; contracting service providers 

Sarolta Szabo photo

Ms Sarolta Szabo 
Program Coordinator 
Student logistics (travel, accommodation, grant procedures); visa support for participants and faculty 


Bernadett Soos photo

Ms Bernadett Soós
Program Assistant
Faculty logistics, contracts, accommodation, travel reimbursement, etc.

Eva Bodohan photo

Ms Eva Barbara Bodogan 
Web Co-ordinator 
Application forms (SITS); IT matters (online course tools, e.g.: Zoom, Panopto, o365, Moodle; participant and faculty accounts; manuals; web content) schedules; advanced editing and graphic design for posters, brochures; room booking and audiovisual requests, social events, etc.