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April 26, 2016

US Embassy has dedicated a multifunctional room at the Embassy in honor of US Ambassador Palmer, whose sage diplomacy and fervent advocacy for democracy led up to Hungarian independence in October 1989. His Excellency Mark Palmer has also been a founding member of CEU Business School - then first called International Management Center – and was also a member of the school’s first board along with the founders, Mr George Soros and Mr Sandor Demjan. On the occasion of the name giving celebration, CEU Business School has donated a portrait on Ambassador Palmer to the US Embassy by artist Laszlo Nemeth.

Ambassador Colleen Bradley Bell has delivered a message on the importance of the US diplomatic work at the time of the economic transition of Hungary and spoke highly on the clear steps and committed work the mission pursued under the leadership of the late diplomat and how diplomacy contributed to the democratization of Hungary. Ambassador Bell has expressed her respect to the memory of the diplomat by giving a certificate to Dr Sushma Palmer, the widow of the late Ambassador and also expressed her appreciations by presenting another certificate to CEU Business School for donating the portrait. Director of External Relation of the Business School, Ms Judit Hildegard Hajos received the certificate and was then asked to deliver a short speech on the occasion of the ceremony.

The speech of Ms Judit Hildegard Hajos delivered on the occasion of the US Embassy dedicating a room to a founding member of CEU Business School, late Ambassador Mark Palmer on 19th April, 2016:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Excellency, Dr Palmer!

CEU Business School, which became affiliated with CEU only 15 years ago, has a history longer than that of CEU itself. Established principally by Mr. George Soros, the International Management Center, as it was called then, admitted its first cohort in 1989 – a bold step to be sure while the communists were still in power - two years before CEU started to offer classes. In 1987, Mr. Soros and a well-connected business executive in Hungary, Mr. Sandor Demjan (who, after the transformation, became one of Hungary’s most successful entrepreneurs) jointly decided to found a graduate management school in Budapest to serve talented people of the region and help the economic transition of these developing markets. A group of visionary leaders from the US, Canada and UK, recruited by Mr. Soros,  provided much of the initial funding while Mr. Demjan made available a chateau in a Budapest suburb, to serve as the first home of the International Management Center (IMC). Mr. Demjan, as well as some of the original international founders have remained continuous supporters of the School to date, which has merged with the Central European University in 2001 and became an autonomous, all the while remaining an integral part of the full bodied university.

As the first Western style management school in communist Eastern Europe, the founding of IMC generated a great deal of favorable international publicity and received strong endorsements for teaching best practices and know-how to students who, upon finishing and returning home, had become savvy business and corporate leaders, primarily in Central Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Among the key supporters of Mr. Soros’ venture, was the highly effective and flamboyant US ambassador to Hungary in the late 1980s, Ambassador Mark Palmer, who served on the IMC Board of Directors. First and foremost, we respect him as a core founder of the school; he also provided IMC with substantial funds for professorships, teaching and learning opportunities and the possibility to publish and distribute business books in the region. Ambassador Palmer also supported the foundation of The Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, established by the U.S. President and Congress in 1990, to promote private-sector development in Hungary.

The importance of the work and efforts of gentlemen like Ambassador Palmer and ladies like Zsuzsanna Ranki is an outstanding achievement, the results of which still bring exponential developments both in economic terms and in a social context if we include the almost 3000 alumni of our school, its international management and faculty, an invaluable addition to meeting the current global challenges.

It is up to historians to determine the contribution and role of the CEU Business School in a broader context, but what I can say now, as a representative of my organization as well as an alumna of the CEU Business School, is a warm thank you in the name of our fellow alumni and all those who have chosen to commit their values to an open society, open to learning and caring for the development of transitioning economies. Thank you for your perseverance and your believe, thank you for the foundation of our school and for all the vigorous effort to make it a success.  

Donating this portrait of His Excellency Ambassador Mark Palmer to the US Embassy is an honor for us and serves as a token of our appreciation for the enduring support and commitment we have received from you. Although we cannot get the key to this room later sadly, what we can do and what we want to do is to pass on the key messages we learned from you obviously: the enthusiasm, the can-do attitude, to focus on the next steps rather than the origins, to teach intellectual curiosity and nurture talent. Above all we are proud to carry on the believe that access to fundamental rights, opportunities and information will gear economic hope and more peace in a democratic future!

“At CEU Business School, you will join a truly international community. Located in Budapest, Hungary, our school is at the crossroads of the new business world in many ways, and we leverage this distinctive fact. Working and studying in an environment that reflects and values global diversity is essential for all management professionals today. Our graduates are ready to become valued members of pacesetting multinational companies, entrepreneurs and global leaders.”
Mel Horwitch University Professor
Maciej Kisilowski, Associate Professor of Law and Public Management
  • "I have been recently nominated as the Regional IT Manager for West Africa at Unilever. My CEU Business School education has been a key differentiator during an otherwise very competitive recruitment process. I would like to thank all my great peers of the 2013-14 cohort and the wonderful faculty at the B-School for the valuable learning experience I had during my time in BP."

    Moussa Moumouni

    MSc in IT Management class of 2014

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