Investor and philanthropist George Soros said Thursday he would invest $1 billion to establish a global network of universities to promote personal freedom and open society as part of his fight against authoritarianism and nationalism.
The network will be called the Open Society University Network, and “aims to reach the students who need it the most and to promote the values of open society — including free expression and diversity of beliefs,” according to a statement.
It will also look to “reach institutions in need of international partners, as well as neglected populations, such as refugees, incarcerated people, the Roma and other displaced groups,” and work with “politically endangered scholars.”
Soros described the project as “the most important and enduring project of my life.”
The Central European University, which was founded by Soros, and Bard College in New York will be key members of the network.
Soros unveiled the investment in a speech at the World Economic Forum on Thursday in which he described it as part of his fight against authoritarianism and nationalism, according to media reports.
During a question-and-answer portion of the speech, Soros, who has been a frequent critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is ‘just be honest’ Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN’s Axelrod says impeachment didn’t come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE, called the president a “con man and the ultimate narcissist.”
Soros has become a lightning rod for conservatives because of his financial contributions to progressive initiatives and Democratic candidates.
Updated at 2:20 p.m.