At the end of the year, as part of our efforts to make a difference in our smaller (or larger) community, Blinken OSA traditionally organizes charity actions. Last year, however, instead of donations, we collected stories: positive stories about inspiring people.
The early years of Central European University are in the focus of a Czech language book by Tereza Pospíšilová, now available in OSA's Library (Středoevropská univerzita v Praze a česká sociologie. Studie transnacionální filantropie. Sociologické nakladatelství, Praha, 2017).
After the fall of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe, many archival materials were made available for researchers of the region. The impact of this “archival revolution” has not yet been completely measurable, as there are many documents  still waiting to be processed, to be made public, and interpreted by experts of various fields. Our new curated collection, “The Free Europe Committee Enxrypted Telex Communication" is made up of such “undiscovered” documents from Blinken OSA's holdings.
The Hoover Institution’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Historical Recording Description Project (HRDP) is an initiative to produce English-language content summaries for digitized radio broadcasts from RFE/RL collections. The radio broadcasts are over 33 languages and dialects.
In 2017, the International Human Rights Day is marked by two anniversaries connected to the history of what was once Europe’s foremost human rights watchdog, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF): its unfortunate closure in 2007 and the 80th birthday of its long-time Chairman, Karl von Schwarzenberg.
In 2017 the Voices of the 20th Century Archive and Research Group celebrates its 10th anniversary. The group operates within the Institute of Sociology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The project was started with the technical, institutional and academic support of the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives. The project group collects and digitizes copies of interviews and other research documents offered by acknowledged Hungarian social scientists.
In each academic year Blinken OSA – in co-operation with the departments of History and Legal Studies – offers postgraduate academic courses to Central European University students. The regular courses seek to address a broad spectrum of archival matters concerning the historian’s craft, documentary works, or legal and cinematic documentary practices related to human rights. Some of them require an active, hands-on approach to materials curated by Blinken OSA.
At the start of this semester (January 2017), I was feeling anxious, excited, and driven to take on a new challenge and experience unlike any other opportunity I have had during my time at George Mason University. I felt anxious because I wanted to succeed and prove to my colleagues and supervisors that I can take on any challenge, however, not having the proper experience with extensive research and archival work still proved as intimidating.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the opening of the “Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires - the Soviet War” exhibition at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at the Central European University. I am delighted to address you at the opening of this exhibition not only because I have the utmost honor and privilege to contribute a few items from my modest Soviet Afghan war collection, but also because my acceptance of this invitation from OSA was my way of saying “I STAND WITH CEU”.
A recent encounter with the concept of Visible Thinking (VT) during a training organized by the Amsterdam based Thinking Museum inspired this brief piece about its applicability in an archival setting. Blinken OSA is a repository of unique collections primarily related to the history of the Cold War and international human rights violations, a research center as well as a public space with exhibits, conferences, screenings, film festivals, a special archival teaching program, and education outreach programs for K-12 schools. So how can a complex institution such as Blinken OSA make use of VT to bring history closer to younger generations and encourage critical thinking? In the following, I will detail a few VT routines tailored to familiarize participants with particular archival collections and historical events, and rethink them in a contemporary context.