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FreeSZFE’s Emergency Exit Program Awarded European Citizens’ Prize

Ábrahám Vass 2021.10.28.

FreeSZFE’s Emergency Exit program, a solution for those students who decided to leave the University of Theater and Film Arts Budapest (SZFE) following its forced takeover, will be one of the awardees of this year’s European Citizens’ Prize, launched by the European Parliament.

As we previously reported, SZFE’s takeover was one of the most controversial political events in Hungary last year. Perhaps not completely independent from political reasons, the Fidesz-led government moved to bring the institution under a foundation, led and overseen by government-ally figures. SZFE’s students and teachers alike saw it as a regression of their independence and freedom and began to protest. Despite blockades of university buildings and multiple demonstrations, the authorities eventually managed to inflict their will.

Self-education association FreeSZFE’s Emergency Exit program was established after the forced takeover. Within the program’s framework, those leaving SZFE would be accredited by certain foreign universities, but training will still be held at FreeSZFE in Budapest by the teachers who had previously decided to step down and side with protesting students.


The European Citizens’ Prize, launched in 2008 by the European Parliament, is intended to reward on an annual basis, individuals or groups who have particularly distinguished themselves in strengthening European integration by the expression of European cooperation, openness to others, and practical involvement in the development of mutual understanding. It is awarded upon nominations of members of the European Parliament.

EP's European Citizens' Prize Goes to Oltalom Charity Org., Dominican Sister Baritz
EP's European Citizens' Prize Goes to Oltalom Charity Org., Dominican Sister Baritz

The European Parliament has recognized Hungary’s Oltalom Charity Society and Dominican Sister Laura Baritz with its European Citizens’ Prize for 2021. The European Citizens’ Prize, introduced by the European Parliament in 2008, is awarded to individuals or groups with exceptional achievements who have contributed to promoting mutual understanding and tighter integration among EU citizens and […]Continue reading

As of now, five European universities recognize the credits students have earned and the studies that they have continued with their teachers: Salzburg’s Universität Mozarteum, Ludwigsburg’s Akademie für Darstellende Kunst Baden-Württemberg, the Warsaw Theater Academy (and its outsourced puppet department, Akademia Teatralna im. Aleksandra Zelwerowicza in Bialystok), the Accademia Teatro Dimitri in Switzerland, and the Film Academy Vienna.

 Featured photo illustration via Theatre and Film University Students Union’s Facebook page