Cablegate: CERGE-EI “American-style” Education With UNIX Labs

Posted in Cablegate, Europe, UNIX at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: UNIX in the Czech Republic amid Westernisation

According to the following Cablegate cable, “The CERGE-EI library [...] has been a depository library of the World Bank. Computer facilities include a UNIX lab with high-capacity works stations and several PC labs. The ratio of computers to students is among the highest in Europe.”

It is all in ¶10 of the following cable.

E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON [Economic Conditions], EZ [Czech Republic] 
REF: STATE 159943 
¶1.  SUMMARY:  Post strongly supports ASHA financial 
assistance for CERGE-EI, the leading economics doctoral 
program in the region, fully-accredited in both the Czech 
Republic and the United States.  CERGE-EI has the best 
economics library in the country, containing a wealth of 
American texts and journals that teach and promote 
market-based economics.  END SUMMARY. 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
Demonstration Center for American Ideas and Practices in 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
¶2.  CERGE-EI was founded in 1991 "to meet the post-communist 
countries' critical need for economists, to educate a new 
economic leadership for the region in the region."  CERGE-EI 
provides an "american-style" education and is accredited by 
the New York State Board of Regents.  Its four-year doctoral 
program consists of two-years of course work followed by 
two-years of supervised dissertation research.  The working 
language of the institution is English, and CERGE-EI 
encourages its students to conduct part of their dissertation 
research at partner institutions in Western Europe and North 
¶3.  CERGE-EI's English Department is unique among major 
doctoral programs in economics, and provides students with 
the skills necessary to successfully participate in economic 
research and publication at the highest levels.  As 
increasing percentage of students in doctoral programs in the 
U.S. come from non-English speaking backgrounds, visitors to 
CERGE-EI frequently observe that the innovative program at 
CERGE-EI and the integral role English instruction plays in 
its doctoral program provide a model that should be adopted 
at their own institutions. 
¶4. The Executive and Supervisory Committee of CERGE-EI draw 
distinguished economists from top U.S. universities:  Joseph 
Stiglitz from Columbia University; Philippe Aghio of Harvard 
University; Orley Ashenfelter, Richard Quandt and Henry 
Farber of Princeton University; Jan Svenar and Jan Kemtna of 
the University of Michigan;  Gerard Roland, Michelle White 
and Roger Gordon from the University of California system. 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
Importance and Quality of CERGE-EI in the Field of Education 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
¶5.  One of CERGE-EI's primary goals is to educate future 
economic leaders of countries in transition throughout the 
world.  The student profile is as follows:  60 percent men; 
40 percent women; 25 percent from Russia, Ukraine and 
Belarus; 24 percent from the Czech Republic, 20 percent from 
the Balkans; 18 percent from Poland, Hungary and Slovakia; 11 
percent other former Soviet states; 2 percent from the rest 
of the world.  80 percent of CERGE-EI graduates are employed 
in the region.  The average grade point average of entering 
students is above 3.6 (out of 4.0). 
¶6.  A glance at CERGE-EI alumni profile speaks to the 
importance and quality of its program; 38 percent of CERGE-EI 
graduates find employment in the public sector (ministries, 
central banks and international organizations), 25 percent in 
university teaching, and 37 percent in the private sector. 
Graduates include economists at International Financial 
Institutions (IFIs) such as the International Monetary Fund, 
the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and 
Development.  Czech National Bank Governor Zdenek Tuma is a 
former CERGE-EI faculty member.  Graduates in the private 
sector are employed by private banks Citibank Komercni Banka) 
and consulting firms (e.g. McKinsey & Company, the Boston 
Consulting Group).  Graduates teach in Universities in the 
region, in Western Europe and in the U.S. (e.g., Tilburg 
University in the Netherlands, University of Iowa).  When the 
World Bank commissioned a major study calling form reform of 
Czech capital markets, CERGE-EI professors joined the study 
team to provide local expertise and CERGE-EI students were 
employed to conduct data analysis. 
¶7.  Recognizing the critical impact of economic training on 
the success of reform, CERGE-EI offered to provide doctoral 
study in Prague for two Iraqi students.  As such, CERGE-EI 
has been at the crux of transition countries' struggle to 
from a totalitarian, centrally-planned economies to market 
democracies.  In the words of CERGE-EI, "experience in the 
post-communist world has demonstrated that early intervention 
to establish an effective higher education system is a 
critical component of supporting the enormous political and 
social changes necessary to build democracy and prosperity." 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
Competence in Professional Skills, Sound Management and 
Financial Practices 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
¶8.  CERGE-EI is a tax exempt (IRS 501C3 status) institution 
subject to U.S. audits.  Its 2003 budget was USD 3.0 million, 
excluding grant-finance expenditures on research and other 
programmatic activities.  2003 income sources break down as 
26.7 percent Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; 
22.1 percent affiliate Charles University; 
13.5 percent Corporate Donations; 
14.4 percent International Organizations; 
8 percent Earned Income including Grant Overheads; 
7.7 percent Individual Donations; 
6.7 percent Interest & Endowment Income; 
0.9 percent Foundation & Government grants. 
2003 expenses breakdown as follows: 
26.4 percent Permanent Faculty; 
18.4 percent Student Stipends & Mobility; 
12.7 percent Physical plant & Building renovation. 
10 percent library; 
8.6 percent support staff 
7.1 percent materials & supplies; 
6.4 percent Development & Public Relations; 
4.4 percent Senior Part-time faculty; 
4.3 percent Computer Department; 
1.7 percent seminar & research support 
The Library 
¶9.  Established in 1992, it is simply the best economics 
library in the Czech Republic, and one of the best in Central 
and Eastern Europe.  Econoffs toured the library and were 
impressed by the number of recognizable U.S. economic texts 
(used for introductory and intermediate micro- and 
macro-economic courses) and U.S. economic journals.  The 
estimated number of registered users of the library is 
currently about 2000.  The library contains 25,000 books and 
270 periodicals, including journals published by:  American 
Economic Association, American Statistical Association, 
Brookings Institutions, University of Chicago Press, 
University of Wisconsin Press, MIT Press, Cornell University. 
Over 600 full-text on-line journals are available in the 
electronic library.. 
¶10.  The CERGE-EI library contains THE most extensive and 
up-to-date economics collection in Central and Eastern 
Europe, with over 80,000 printed items and subscribe to over 
250 periodicals and electronic databases.  One of the first 
open-stack facilities in the region, the CERGE-EI library is 
widely used by the general public as well as by students from 
other institutions.  Since December 1994, it has been a 
depository library of the World Bank.  Computer facilities 
include a UNIX lab with high-capacity works stations and 
several PC labs.  The ratio of computers to students is among 
the highest in Europe. 
Local & Embassy Comments 
¶11. Econoffs conducted interviews with four local contacts 
from government and business sectors, as well as with 
locally-hired staff at the Embassy who interact with 
CERGE-EI.  CERGE-EI is a highly regarded institution, 
particularly known for its independent, intellectual and 
theoretical academic content, and with the best library in 
the country.   Any criticism of CERGE-EI tends to be its 
"over" emphasis on theory versus applied economics.  In June 
2005, the Ambassador commended CERGE-EI for its continued 
leadership in higher education and success in building 
partnerships with American and other international university 
and training programs.  In the Embassy's efforts to support 
Czech-American cultural and educational exchanges, we are 
continuing our partnership with CERGE-EI through the 
Embassy's Office of Public Affairs.CABANISS

UNIX in general is hardly mentioned in Cablegate (only 3 occurrences in a quarter of a million cables).

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