George Soros is one the few individuals whose success stories vociferously strengthen the belief that difficult circumstances and unfair social and political forces shatter when confronted by an indomitable will of humans. Born in Hungary and growing up in a Europe in the thralls of Nazism, George Soros defied the external adversities with his unwavering belief in his strengths. The way George Soros escaped the hunt of Nazis’ for Jews speak volumes about his inexorable determination and firm belief in human qualities. Leaving a Hungary under Communists, George Soros went on to become one of the world’s top investors, a dedicated philanthropist and an enviable champion of democracy and civil rights. His is the story of not only how a meek waiter turned himself into one of the top investors of the world, but also of how his firsthand experiences of human miseries at the hands of depravities of unbridled power played out to turn George Soros into a prominent philanthropist and a voice for the wretched of the earth.
Open Society Foundations: Promoting Democratic Values through Philanthropy
A firm believer in the Popperian (Karl Popper) concept of the society and its progress, George Soros established the Open Society Foundations and started his philanthropy in 1979 in order to promote democratic governance, freedom of expression and other basic human liberties. The Open Society Foundations is an amalgam of foundations, partners, and projects spread over 100 countries encompassing all the major regions of the world. Through his philanthropic foundation, George Soros has given away $12 billion to date. The main issues which receive attention in George Soros’s philanthropic agenda include Education & Youth, Governance and Accountability, Health, Rights & Justice and Media & Information. In addition, the Foundation also offers scholarships, fellowships and grants to both individuals and organizations that work on the issues included in the agenda of the Foundation.
George Soros initiated his philanthropic venture in 1979 when he granted scholarships to black South Africans reeling under the Apartheid. He promoted through his various programs an environment of free thinking in former Communist bloc in Europe by ensuring the reprint of banned texts. George Soros established the Central European University as a seat of learning and critical thinking, a trend which was absent in Europe during the Cold War. With the Cold War vanishing into oblivion, George Soros expanded his philanthropic endeavors to other major regions of the world including the United States, Africa, and Asia with providing a wide range of programs to foster more accountable, transparent, and democratic societies. Moreover, George Soros has been interested particularly in making things easier for the downtrodden and sidelined groups in societies. For instance, he has helped groups representing Roma people of Europe, and others from the dredge of the society such as sex workers, drug addicts and LGBTI members.
Throughout his long legacy of philanthropy and his fight for transparency and democratic governance, his unstinting commitment to solve the world’s unwieldy problems has been the dominant theme in George Soros’ activism. The fortunes he made by his successful ventures in business has made it possible for him to spend money for bringing about a world in consonance with his ideals of equality, transparency, accountability, freedom of speech.
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