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February 16, 2012 / charityprofiles

George Soros and the Principle of Open Societies

George Soros was born in Budapest Hungary in 1930 in the midst of the long dispute between fascism and communism. He survived the World War II when the Nazis tried to occupy his native Hungary and the imposition of Stalinism after the war. He was a witness to all the violence and other forms of intolerance during these times, which helped shape his thinking and influenced the finance and philanthropic strategies he had later in his life.

In order to escape the torturing effects of war, Soros left Hungary in 1947 and fled to England. He graduated with a degree in Economics at London School of Economics in 1952.

Later he worked as a financial analyst in New York. While there, he adapted the philosophy of Karl Popper in his work The Open Society and Its Enemies, which Soros studied while at the London School of Economics. While implementing the principles he came to believe, Soros realized that he is more of a businessman than a philosopher. So in 1973, Soros established a private investment company which was later known as Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds.

His memories of wartime in Hungary moved Soros to provide financial support to black students at University of Cape Town in South Africa. Then he created a foundation in Hungary which focuses on education and culture. He was also an avid supporter of dissident movements in Eastern Europe, helping people in Communist states to organize themselves in order to have an avenue for voicing their opinions, promote tolerance, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

He continued his desire to create open societies when communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR collapsed. He established the Central European University in 1991, an institution dedicated to the teaching of democracy. He also founded the Open Societies Institute.

His charitable endeavors grew into a network of foundations and non-profit organizations devoted to the creation on open societies in many parts of the world. He has already donated no less than $8 billion spreading in 70 countries worldwide. These funds were for the purpose of supporting the efforts for human rights, freedom of expression, access public health and education.

 

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