Each spring for the past 20 years, BYU Law Professor J. Clifton Fleming has traveled to Budapest, Hungary, to teach international taxation to students attending the Central European University (CEU).
“My hope is that by teaching these very bright and promising students important lessons on how to be excellent professionals…we are building a cadre of professionals who have very good skills, understand free market economics, understand personal and religious liberty, and who will make a difference in their home countries.” Professor Fleming said.
The Central European University, accredited in both Hungary and the United States, was founded in 1991 by George Soros, a Hungarian-American financier and philanthropist. Upon its opening, Soros’ vision for the CEU was “…to build a unique institution, one that would train future generations of scholars, professionals, politicians, and civil society leaders to contribute to building open and democratic societies that respect human rights and adhere to the rule of law.”
Students enrolled at the CEU come from more than 100 different countries—many that were formerly part of the Soviet Empire and therefore do not have democratic traditions or roots in free market economies. These students often have limited opportunities in their home countries and therefore consider it a great privilege to attend the CEU and interact with professors from around the world.
Professor Fleming’s perspective on legal education has broadened through his interactions with CEU students. After seeing the cultural and educational challenges students face in Eastern Europe, he is inspired by their hard work and dedication.