IIE President Allan Goodman and IIE European Office Director Chris Medalis took part in this conference commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, discussing IIE's program to assist students who fled Hungary at that time, in an effort that was a precursor to today's IIE Scholar Rescue Fund. The two-day conference was co-sponsored by IIE Europe in partnership with the Embassy of the United States and other foreign embassies and international organizations.
The conference reviewed the events of the 1950's era from the point of view of participants, based on the personal experience of those who left Hungary after the Revolution, found a new home in other countries, and have contributed to their development. The focus was on remembrance and a vision of the future as keys to the interpretation of the events that shook the world and a memento of international solidarity provided for those who fight for freedom and democracy.
IIE's Role in Assisting Students Who Fled Hungary: IIE’s Emergency Program to Aid Hungarian University Students 1956-1958
As a result of the violent suppression of a popular uprising, thousands were forced to flee Hungary. A joint committee was set up between the Institute of International Education and the World University Service to aid these refugees. Together they arranged for approximately 1,000 students to receive admission to U.S. universities; many later became leading professors in the sciences and social sciences. In order to help the refugees overcome lack of fluency in English, the Institute set up two special centers for intensive training and pre-academic orientation at Bard and St. Michael’s Colleges. Substantial funds to make this possible came from the Ford, Rockefeller, and other foundations as well as the business community. Thanks to the endowment of the Scholar Rescue Fund at IIE today, there will always now be a source of help to assure that no tyranny can destroy knowledge.
The IIE Europe Office published an anniversary booklet titled "Hungarian Refugee Students and United States Colleges and Universities: A Report on the Emergency Program to Aid Hungarian University Students in the U.S., 1956-1958", with support from the U.S. Embassy in Hungary. The booklet was distributed to all conference participants and is available through IIE’s worldwide offices and the Hungarian Cultural Institutes of the Hungarian Ministry of Culture and Education. Download the full report here.
1956 and Hungary: the Memory of Eyewitnesses - In Search of Freedom and Democracy
Presentation by IIE European Office Director Chris Medalis
Remarks by US Ambassador April H. Foley
IIE European Office - Budapest
US Embassy in Budapest
Saving Lives and Ideas: A History of IIE's Role in Assisting Threatened Scholars
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund
Archival Photos of 1956 Hungarian Uprisin