Few organisations have done quite as much as the Soros Foundation to help Hungary through its transition from communism to democracy, Gábor Horn, chairman of the board of the Republikon Foundation said on Thursday.
US billionaire George Soros’s first foundation started work in Hungary in the 1980s, “providing funding without orders or expectations”, Horn told the conference on the impact of Soros’s foundations on Hungary. “Our task was to make use of the money in the most effective way,” he said.
In the mid-1990s, seeing that the political transition was completed, Soros turned to supporting health care and education, providing equipment such as computers with internet access to public schools, which was at that time scarce, he said.
Horn said that events taking place in Hungary today were “shocking”. “The political smear campaign, the hate-incitement and the mass of lies is causing untold damage,” he said, adding these misdeeds were motivated by short-term political interests but would have a lasting effect. “It will take 30-40 years before we get over this,” he said.
Tibor Vámos, an academic and member of the first foundation operated jointly by the Soros Foundation and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, said: “We can be proud of the Soros family“, several members of which have outstanding accomplishments to their name. “Soon Hungary will be proud the Soros people,” he added.
Sociologist Miklós Vecsei, who participated in social programmes in the 1990s and is now a deputy chairman of the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service, said that the Soros foundation’s schemes always aimed to “help the needy and strengthen their voice”. He emphasised that the foundation’s programmes were never implemented in their own right but were followed through and particularly directed towards the funding of other organisations.
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