Bolyai Initiative Committee
The Bolyai Initiative Committee is an informal association of Hungarian university staff members, intellectuals and students aiming to reopen the Bolyai University of Cluj/Kolozsvár and to advance the achievement of a Hungarian-language higher education network in Transylvania.
The BIC was founded in May 2005 by the members of the Organizing Committee of the 1st Conference on Minority Higher Education.
As a result of the intrics of László TŐKES, and the provincialism of some Hungarian professors of the Medical and Pharmacy University of Marosvasrahely, the Bolyai Initiative Committe had to suspend its activity in March 2013.
Summary of the BIC's activity
A university is more than an education institution. It is a spiritual workshop, which is paramount for the economic development of a region and for the survival of a group of people. This is, for certain, the reason why the Romanian government has been spending important resources on blocking the re-establishment of the state-financed Hungarian language university in Transylvania.
The Bolyai Initiative Committee is an organization of Hungarian academic staff and students in Romania. It aims at accelerating the process of breaking independent of the Hungarian language higher education in Romania, which has been blocked for years now. Our activities are directed towards the following:
1. Informing the international public opinion and the European decision-makers
The leaders of the BIC have informed on several occasions personally the MEPs and the decision-makers of the European Union on the humiliating and discriminative conditions in which the Hungarian language education exists in Romania. The first visit was made in September 2005 with the participation of Lehel Kovács and Péter Hantz. The teachers from Transylvania benefited of the unanimous support of the Hungarian MEPs, irrespective of their political affiliation. In May 2006, Péter Hantz handed over a petition to the UN at the Wilson Palace in Geneva, and then in September met in the Hague Mr Rolf Ekeus, the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.
On the initiative of the BIC a number of renowned scientists, including Nobel, Fields and Wolf-prize awarded professors demanded in an open letter the re-establishment of the Bolyai University. As a result of the letter the grave situation of Hungarians in Romania was brought to the forefront of the attention of the German, Swiss, Austrian and British public.
2. Solidarity with other European minorities
The nationalist Romanian academic and political leadership very often states the lie that there are no universities in Europe which would teach in the language of the national minorities. The databases (http://conf.bolyai.eu) prepared as a result of the Conferences on Minority Higher Education organized by BIC in 2005 and 2006 showed how untrue these allegations are. The participants at the 2006 event in Cluj / Kolozsvár could see for themselves how deprived of rights are the Hungarians in Transylvania, and thus, accepted a declaration of solidarity.
3. Eliminating discrimination from middle-level education
Ethnic Hungarian school students are required to have a native-speaker level command of the Romanian language at the 8th grade graduation examination as well as at the baccalaureate. This renders impossible for many ethnic Hungarian young people to pursue their studies. On the initiative of the BIC, the Romanian Anti-Discrimination Council analyzed this case and found the complaint rightful. As the Ministry of Education has not taken any steps in this regard so far, the BIC is planning further actions in this respect.
4. Mobilization of the Hungarian community in Romania
As a first step of the re-establishment of the Bolyai University we would create Hungarian faculties at the Babeş-Bolyai University. On the initiative of the BIC 83% of the Hungarian academic staff, i.e. 149 teachers supported with their signature this project. The proposal on the creation of the Hungarian faculties had been submitted to the Senate of the University, but its debate was sabotaged. In December 2005, after the downfall of the Hungarian deputy rectors we started again the collection of signatures. In October 2005 a series of demonstrations took place, where protesters demanded the re-establishment of the Bolyai University and the elimination of the anti-minority discriminations in the public education. The manifestations took place in 4 cities in Transylvania where over 2,000 people gathered. In March 2006, the BIC organized a higher education forum in Cluj / Kolozsvár. The Final Declaration adopted at the forum listed the short-term demands of the Hungarians in Transylvania with respect to the development of the higher education. All relevant organizations, including the DAHR, the historical churches, professional associations and NGOs have signed the declaration. In December 2006 young people of Transylvania marched the streets again protesting against the firing of the 2 teachers, Péter Hantz and Lehel Kovács, who placed Hungarian inscriptions on the premises of the Babes-Bolyai University.
5. Gaining the support of the Romanian community
The nationalistic Romanian leadership does everything in their power to mislead and instigate the Romanian public. In order to counterbalance that, we are organizing Romanian-Hungarian intellectuals’ forums in Transylvania and Bucharest, and we regularly organize press conferences for the Romanian media.
6. Displaying Hungarian symbols and inscriptions
One of the main aims of the Romanian nationalism is to hinder the replacement of all symbols that prove the presence of the Hungarians in Transylvania. Although the rector of the Babes-Bolyai University signed an order to display Hungarian inscriptions on the university premises, as it later became clear, he had no intention whatsoever to indeed implement that decision of his. The leaders of the BIC decided to take action and on November 22, 2006 placed Hungarian inscriptions on the university premises. These were torn off, broken to pieces and stepped over on the very same on the rector’s order, while Péter Hantz and Lehel Kovács were immediately released from their positions.
The BIC plans to continue organizing Conferences on Minority Higher Education and Romanian-Hungarian intellectuals’ forums, edit publications and prepare surveys on education, inform the international public, minority protection organizations, and political decision-makers and to maintain the website (www.bolyai.eu) of the would-be Bolyai University. In certain cases we will seek justice in court. We request your financial support in order to make us able continue our activity and achieve our goals. Please send your donations labeled “Bolyai” to the bank account of Pro Kárpátia Foundation. Please e-mail us at email@example.com to let us know about the donation and the name of the donor. We confirm the receipt of your donation.
The Bolyai University Emblem
(designed by Elemér Könczey graphic artist)