An Introduction to the Open Society Foundations

The work of the Open Society Foundations is infinitely complex. I have been a part of the Open Society family since 1996, when the foundation in South Africa began to support work I was developing with then Minister of Justice Dullah Omar, but I only began to appreciate the breadth and depth of the Foundations when I was appointed to my present post in December of last year. Since then, I have searched for ways to convey in the simplest terms that fascinating complexity. I’ve wanted to capture in words and images the emotions as well as the facts, the passions as well as the strategies, and the ethics as well as the histories that make the Open Society enterprise so impressive. But how?

One answer is film. The gifted director, Jesse Dylan, has pieced together fragments taken from dozens of interviews to create a brief, powerful introduction to the Open Society Foundations. Even those who have worked with the Foundations for many years will likely find something new here, as well as reminders of much that is familiar. Recently, when I showed the film to members of the board of our U.S. Programs, a long-time member commented that he hadn’t known almost any of what he saw in the film. Perhaps you will have a similar reaction. Or perhaps you will see friends and colleagues describing ambitions that have compelled you, too. However familiar or new you find it, I hope the film captures something of what has brought you into this family, too: what has led you to work toward the ideal of an open society in your own community, and to get engaged.

119 Comments

Impressive, amazing, encouraging!!! Great Job!!! Thank you so much!!!

In a meeting in 2006, somebody made a joke about "when we will finally run advertisement spots about our work". It was worth the wait.

Thank you! :o) This video raises no mistrust that in the Open Society ambitions there might be a built-in "hidden agenda" (as some other philantro(-pic)(-capitalistic) endeavors sometimes do... :-) The ambitions appear to be pure and honest and participatory and true. Thanks - the video is simply - supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! ;-) Haha!

Rev: "Even if there's no hope." -- This is the acid test. Well Done. Looking forward to the Great Revolution in peace, in the loving, watchful eyes of George Soros, William K. Black, and Michael Hudson, as Justice smiles on even Economics + Politics in C.21. Yes, looking forward, even without hope, even without faith.

B"H

I believe Prof. Soros has good intentions but he is focused on the "human rights" model of human relations. Such rights are between individuals and political-military powers: "states". An alternative, much more ancient and widely respected model focuses on relations between individuals and relations between the individual and an ultimate ideal -- God. Prof. Soros's apparent rejection of this model has led him and his associates -- with the best of intentions -- to blindly condemn the Taliban for "human rights violations" while failing to see that most of the accusations -- most of the atrocity stories pinned on them -- are readily demonstrable nonsense. We -- the self-conceived benevolent, modern nations of the world -- have murdered them by the tens of thousands on the basis of these false accusations. We are the murderers and the terrorists in Afghanistan -- We are the wreckers of that society -- We, in our arrogance and ignorance, are horrors almost beyond words -- and almost all of those who see it are afraid to speak. Readers are invited to look for "Torah and the Taliban"

Shalom.

Thank you for a thoughtful statement on human rights and human relations. I disagree with your thought that "human rights" exist only between people and their governments.

This forum is an example of people cooperatively exercising their right of Free Speech without relationship to any one government. We decide what we will read, think, and reply. The Open Society Foundation provides this forum. We can create our own forum or participate in another forum.

In this context, Free Speech means acknowledging that each person here has the right to be heard, participate, and influence thought. No government action is involved.

Thank you George. I enjoyed the smile of love on your face and also the looks of determination on the other people in this video. I have no fear of anyone in posting this. That does not mean I do not have to, or more accurately feel I must, 'watch my words'. So I do not have pure freedom. Yet acknowledging that each person has a right to be heard, participate, and influence thought is not always, in my opinion, a right that is exersized in ways that are adequately watchful by my sense of what might be adequate.

This has bothered me for many years: how to find the line between Free Speech -- such as this forum makes possible, for me and other posters here at least -- and wise censorship that does not oppress.

I think most people here know that, ultimately, healthily watchful free speech cannot be finally brought about by laws or their enforcement. Yet for some time to come, those institutions will remain necessary to protect both watchfully free speakers and unwatchfully free speakers, because refractory states are still today a part of human nature, and will be for at least the forseeable future.

Yet my experience is that, in the measure one can learn and pass on, in moments before a refractory state erupts, I-statements of the form "I have 'X emotion' now", where 'X emotion' is limited to a noun or noun phrase, the forces of refraction are moderated, and in some cases entirely transformed into vital and vitalizing ideas and action.

I hope this will be useful to you and your OSF colleagues, and invite anyone reading this to be in touch by email.

Mr. Adler, your are entitled to you opinion but not to your facts, as it is said. If you have ANY facts that would support your statement "to blindly condemn the Taliban for "human rights violations" while failing to see that most of the accusations -- most of the atrocity stories pinned on them -- are readily demonstrable nonsense" please share it with us, If you do not have anything to prove this statement then please be honest and state that this is your belief or opinion devoid of factual support.

Very well put Thomas. I'm afraid Mr. Adler may not want to open his eyes out of fear.

Dear B"H,
I believe you have a belevolent heart yoruself and surely are partly right in your statements, particularly about the ultimate ideal i.e., transcending the mundane. However, you cannot ignore the many atrocities committed in the name of the Torah and the Taliban.
Shalom.

I think prof soros is talking about his community I love the idea but how far can I apply it in my society

Very inspirational. I like Maureen's quote that "it's good to fund lost causes for a long time." That makes the seemingly impossible, possible. Keep fighting the good fight and the great work.

Excellent commentary Professor Soros. Lets hope that someday this can happen.

Great!

Men need an artificial idealism, to suppress the innate selfishness.

Thank You

Karl Popper’s idea of an open society inspired my deep belief in the possibilities of recovering human dignity. This video reminds all of us that there are immense barriers, but that they are not insurmountable, and that out there are many people making out of their lifes an example that we should follow.

The heart has always been there, open-minded and not closed-minded.

You are giving hope in building a better future. Well done.

Thank you Professor Soros! An Open Society opens Closed Minds!

It was Karl Poppers Open Society and it's Enemies that led me to the work of Mr.Soros many years ago. A friend of mine was the editor of two of Poppers books, and Popper recommended him to Mr. Soros to help educate former Soviet bloc countries about democracy to complete the circle, so to speak. I've been a great admirer of the work of Mr. Soros for many years now. I feel that I know his heart, because I know the heart of my friend, and he helped me understand the mind of Popper and his influence on Soros. I also think I know the mind of those that have attempted to assasinate his charactor. Their motivations are the very thing that the Open Society has mobilized to counter. I fully trust in and support the concept and values of the Open Society Foundation. Although I've never met him, and don't know him personally...He knows me. It's important to know that those that show their hatred for George Soros have hatred for the idea of an Open Society.

The video was put together masterfully! George is the Master of doing Good.

Thank you, Professor Soros, I feel so grateful for the fact that people like you are here to defeat our many moments of desillusion. But also thanks to mr. A. S. Adler for an eyeopening contribution.

This is the hope and change we have been waiting for.

Universal education is paramount to our planets survival.All people have a right to freedom.All wealth comes from the planet.Without education,greed and selfishness will be the priorities of man.

This is why George Soros deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yes, it's time, UNLESS the bestowers of the "Real" Nobel Prizes have the nerve to bestow it upon him in Philosophy. But this would require Olympian audacity and Platonic Love of Wisdom: Wisdom in Practice.

Socialism has no connection or relation to Communism, and Communism is only a buzz word for fact it is instead Fascism in total control.
Fascism desguised as Communism is an elite and covert ruling class few, that through conivance and criminal action take total control over an entire nation and people. Developing strong Secret Police plus agencies, and with greatly developed militaries, do so also around the world to any lesser nations and people.
America at this point evidences this very type government, Super Power nations if given this same inspection have same but lesser controil and world power, although evident being in collusion with the dominant power.

Communism-Fascism is power held by a very few, Socialism in proper form, is based upon the general population involved in common development, each contributing skill and ability as able, the entire nation developing from the contribution making possible advancement of the entire nation. The strength and security based upon every individualconcentrating upon the good of the entire nation and peoples.

To put it into as few words as possible, "Gullibility is man's greatest weakness. His leaders his greatest enemy" (KJH) It seems that both of these are beyond control,and therefore no hope for mankind.

Если бы люди верили в своё будущее то этот фильм им бы очень помог

Mr Soros: Will the open society movement open minds worldwide fast enough to mitigate the impending disasters of global warming? Do you think it might be necessary to try to intentionally advance societal evolution in conjunction with your foundational work?
After several years of research and thought, i believe that a positive tipping point and global sea change in human relations are possible. in optimism... LLPiper

The work Mr. Soros and the Open Society Foundations had been depeloving around the world is wonderful. I am a declared follower of this kind of work. But, even so, I would like to know how to contribute with my experience and knowledge to do some useful for the Humanity. I am journalist. I worked for newpapers 27 years. And right now I am seriously disapointed about the work that the politicians and gobernments had beed doing around the wourld. ¿How can I help and how can you help me? Thank you.

Thanks for the video.. Much has been said about the Open Society Foundation. ...and along it is a hidden agenda?
We all know how weak the human mind is...with a little bit of cash, it can be moulded and shaped into the giver's liking?
Even almost every religion is capitalizing this factor to gain a following...
Question: Where is the catch !!!

One more thing....

In this imperfect world...everyone claims they are open minded.. while those who oppposed are close minded.

Almost every closed mind advocates their open-mindedness and accused the other so called "open minded" being of closed mind themselves...So goes the oppposite...
Every open mind advocates their open-mindedness BUT ARE BEING accused by other so called "close mind" of being of closed mind too....

Seems open-mind is relatively subjective

Can we spare some grant to evaluate all these prejudices and make it more objective and logical?

As of now and has been the days of JUDAS ISCARIOT; everyone (almost 99.99%) has a price tag ~ as the rich can and will and always "MAKE AN OFFER the poor CANNOT refuse" A famous quote from Don Corleone (the Godfathers)

Pls enlighten me.... Shalom!

Dear Professor Soros An Open Society opens Closed Minds.
this video very inspirational for me and for our work and for us,I would to tray to apply it in my society (Indonesia) to be better future.

Thanks George for the excellent work you're doing.

"Reality is extremely complex" this is very important to remind to all of the followers of the idea of open society. If some is trying to impose a vision for change, for which the society (or a group) is not ready for or is hypocritically accepting to get a marginal profit - acceptance in the "western" world then this society or a group gets into schizophrenically state of mimicking change. I have many examples of open society fellows which are now a covert helpers of the status quo in countries where corrupt governments are in power and basic rights are squeezed to the limits. In a way - educating the lingo and the terms marking a "open society" concept gives power to the wrong people. I don't blame Mr. Soros for his efforts or the organization. It is a matter of systematic weakness of any big organization dealing within a complex and difficult world. Maybe the question is what are the real universal values and how to get in check with the complexity. Many issues which were discussed are obsolete - because of the speed of change, because of the tendency such gatherings to attract the wrong people with covert intentions and... because corrupt groups of people with obsession with the power are getting smarter and faster in the game of mimicking change, staging "reforms" and getting organized on a world level. Thank you for you efforts anyway! Peace!

Your opinion, while pragmatic, is hardly helpful. We all know of the intrinsic, base goals of greed and power in some individuals but that doesn't mitigate the brutal reality into which so many are born. Yes, there are bad guys out there but we can't let them win. Soros and others like him are fighting for the sake of all the children and young adults out there who deserve human rights and liberties. To sit back in cynicism serves no one. If you're not part of the solution...

A really fine video. Just like the work of the Open Society Foundations, it gives one courage and hope. The video should be given a wide screening. Thank you for being there!

Thank you for making this. Makes me proud to work for this unique organisation, but it also really resonates with why I think we do what we do. Given the sometimes overwhelming sense one gets that the problems of the people we work for are intractable and insoluble, it is encouraging to hear Mr. Soros say that these are struggles, nonetheless, worth investing in. Bravo to the director.

Wow! This is a brilliant piece; open society defined in couple of minutes.

Dear Monsieur Soros,

For years i have been admiring your philanthropy, and reading your ideas regularly, this encouraged me in 2007 to dedicate 5 pages of my magazine "Balance" to George Soros and his Open Society Institute for International Development. (without your permision) Here is one of your own quotes: "What is to be done? We need to establish certain standards of behavior to contain corruption, enforce fair labor practices and protect human rights. We have hardly began to consider how to go about it."

Well Dear Monsieur Soros you have surpassed your philanthropy to being today the VOICE the world should listen to with a lot of respect and consideration for the authenticity and profound knowledge of the world's macroeconomy and heart felt humanity; your desire to make changes that count, honor your personality, and the fact i had to stop publishing Balance Magazine for lack of funds, console me for the reason that we have in you the best ambassador for the improvement and development of our world, if only you were heard with open hearts and intelligence. I had a good laugh, as you also have a sense of humour, when you suggested to Merkel to get out of the control situation of Germany......getting actually hated today by the poor majority..... Yes you are idealistic...but with so much common sense and humanity.... accept all my consideration and please do continue your idealistic mission,

Claire Costom.

Reading the Life and Times of a Messianic Billionaire, by Michael Kaufman and now following George's life I have a very good picture and understanding of the Man. (George) Yes he is doing an exceptional, dedicated work for Humanity. Or at least that is the intention. Time will tell the rate of success. When I look around in this time and age there is no match for unselfish giving for a cause that you believe in. He is wise, but not like his ancestor Salomon Shalom George.

What a wonderful idea ... brings us to learn, greater understanding of each other and to live together.

God bless you Mr. Soros. You and OSF have my prayers.

Thank you for the vison, the insight, the goal to reach for. How can we help?

Great, incredible job, and surely not as easy as turning the palm of the hand. I was deeply touched by all the achievements that you have done so far. I am very impressed, I would like to be part of your mission, but how ? Greetings from Indonesia.

A breath of fresh air. Crystal clear like light blue

Suggest to add subtitles. I think a high proportion of the people who watch this film are not native English speakers.

ABSOLUTELY!

Dear Professor Soros,

Your philosophical opera grants to you a place in the rank of important philosophers of this world.

For my side it will be very interesting if you extend the analysis to the sense of history. I am interested to discover an proper answer to the question of the sense of human society history. Where we are, but the most important is where the society will arrive. Till now, a correct answer is missing: the idealism and the dialectical materialism could not correctly imagine it, as well the systems convergence theories failed on this issue. Especially after 1989 events in Eastern Europe, with the socialist-communist system end, all the previous points of view were infirmed. What do you think about the next, and the next, and the next possible social system? To the God, I think. And the philosophy will end in religion…My self, I studied philosophy, and I will be very interested to take part in such research.

George Soros your amazing!

This planet ( Earth ) owns all of us. We have the choice to make it a sustainable, cleaner and a safer planet until the end. Engage now save the planet and society for many more lifetimes. Prof. George Soro Global Sanity Check 2012. What is going to happen on 12.21.2012? Hmmm!

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