BUDAPEST, December 9, 2013—The Institute of International Education's European Office is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2013 IIE Europe Award for Excellence. This year the award will be presented to Gábor Bojár on December 10th to recognize his accomplishments in promoting closer educational relations between the United States and Europe by establishing a highly competitive school of information technology for an international student body.
A successful entrepreneur, Mr. Bojár is the founder of the Aquincum Institute of Technology in Budapest, Hungary, which brings together globally acclaimed scholars, entrepreneurs, and undergraduate students from some of the world’s leading universities.
AIT’s distinguished faculty includes Ernő Rubik (inventor of Rubik’s Cube), András Falus (Professor of Genetics and Immunology and member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Péter Csermely (Professor of Network Sciences and member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) and its founder, software entrepreneur Gábor Bojár himself.
With a degree in physics obtained at the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary (1973), Mr. Bojár founded Graphisoft a software development firm in 1982 – still under the socialist system. The company grew rapidly, was listed on the Frankfurt and Budapest stock exchanges by the turn of the millennium, and has become one of the top software vendors of the sector globally. Graphisoft's leading product ArchiCAD® is used by hundreds of thousands of architects all around the world.
In 1996, Mr. Bojár founded a real-estate development company to re-cultivate a run-down industrial site on the bank of the river Danube. Today, Graphisoft Park—Budapest's prime revitalization project and the recipient of several awards and recognitions—hosts the local headquarters of about 40 R&D companies, including some of the world’s top players in the ICT and biotech industries. In 2007 he sold Graphisoft and established the Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT), which provides a unique study abroad experience to North American undergraduates in IT fields. AIT is meant to serve as an example of social entrepreneurship demonstrating the viability of a self-sustaining investment in higher education. As Mr. Bojár explains, one of the main goals of the institution is to “bridge the gap between academy and business.”
“AIT is a learning supercollider where elite American and Hungarian undergraduate students collaborate intensely with remarkable educators to design and lead the future of the global information explosion,” said Michael Crayton, an American student from Olin College.
According to another student, Sarah Llewelyn (Skidmore College): “AIT has been inspiring, full of amazing people and unique classes. It’s an eye-opening experience—both in terms of cultural immersion and the breadth of computer science.”
“I had an opportunity to study with Hungary’s top mathematicians and scientists, and entrepreneurs like Gábor Bojár, the Bill Gates of Hungary,” Kevin Zhu (Princeton University) commented.
Mr. Bojár has received numerous national and international awards for scientific and business excellence, including Széchenyi Prize (1997), Order of Merit (2002) and Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006; and invited as a speaker of several prestigious events including the Davos World Economic Forum.
“With the IIE Europe Award for Excellence, we wish to recognize and thank Mr. Bojár for what he has done for education: his visionary leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and genuine commitment to investing in higher education led to the birth of a new type of institution that responds to the needs of today’s world. Through AIT, Mr. Bojár has contributed to advancing U.S. study abroad and promoting Europe as a study abroad destination for North American students—he is not only a successful entrepreneur but also a remarkable educator,” said IIE Europe’s Director Ágnes Vajda
By establishing and managing the Aquincum Institute of Technology, Mr. Bojár has furthered IIE’s mission of fostering mutual understanding through the international exchange of students, and contributed to promoting closer educational ties between the United States and Europe.
About the Institute of International Education
An independent, not-for-profit founded in 1919, The Institute of International Education (IIE) is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and training organizations. IIE designs and implements over 250 programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors annually with funding from government and private sources. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to scholars in danger. IIE has a network of 19 offices around the world led by talented and dedicated international education experts. IIENetwork is IIE’s membership program with over 1,200 member institutions around the world. Each IIENetwork designee is an important link in a network of over 6,000 individuals with a commitment to the internationalization of their institutions.
About the IIE European Office
IIE's European office is located in Budapest, Hungary. Founded in 1990, this office represents IIE's program operations in Europe. Covering over 30 countries in Western, Central and Eastern Europe, the office focuses on supporting and strengthening internationalization of universities, developing and managing scholarship and study abroad programs, and collaborating with corporate partners to design and implement programs and services that meet their specific corporate needs and philanthropic objectives.
About the IIE Europe Award for Excellence
The IIE Europe Award for Excellence is an award initiative that was launched by the IIE European Office in 2011 to recognize outstanding achievement in international education. The criteria for recipients include meaningful contributions to IIE's mission of Opening Minds to the World®, relevance to European higher education, and high impact on the European education community.