EUROPE: New head for Central European University

John Shattuck, a distinguished human rights leader and legal scholar, has been appointed president and rector of the Hungarian Central European University in Budapest. Shattuck will replace the present rector Yehuda Elkana next August. A former vice-president of Harvard University, Shattuck is currently chief executive of the John F Kennedy Library Foundation, a national public affairs centre in Boston, where he also teaches international relations at Tufts University.

He was Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor under President Clinton and played a key role in the establishment by the United Nations of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He also worked with an international coalition under UN authority to restore a democratically elected government to Haiti and negotiated the Dayton Peace Agreement and other efforts to end the war in Bosnia.

Shattuck subsequently served as US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, working with the Czech government to assist in overhauling the country's legal system, and with Czech educators to support innovative civic education programmes in the country's schools and universities.

Shattuck received the International Human Rights Award from the United Nations Association of Boston in 1998, the Ambassador's Award from the American Bar Association Central and East European Law Initiative in 2000, and the Tufts University Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award in 2003.

CEU chair of the board of trustees, Dr Leon Botstein, said he was delighted the university was gaining such a remarkable leader. "John has worked tirelessly to promote open society across the globe, and his leadership will reinforce the university's commitment to international justice and the rule of law," Botstein said.

"It is a great honour to accept this appointment," said Shattuck. "CEU has the capacity to be a new model for international education, a major convener on the international challenges of our time, and a source of support around the world for building open and democratic societies that respect human rights."

The CEU was founded with a large endowment by George Soros, the Hungarian-born international speculator who is said to have a personal fortune of US$9 billion. Forbes magazine ranked him as the 101st richest person in the world.

The university focuses on the social sciences, humanities, law, business, government and public policy. It currently enrols 1,500 students from almost 100 nations although most are drawn from Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Its 400 academics are drawn from major universities around the world.