Over the past years I have been preoccupied with the future of my Foundations and what would happen when Aryeh Neier and I were no longer around. When Aryeh told me he planned to step down as President in 2012, my concern became all the more real.
The Global Board created a search committee, which I was closely involved with. Together we were looking for a strong leader for the Foundations: someone with a deep understanding of open society values, intellectual independence, and a commitment to justice.
Today, I am happy to announce the next president of the Open Society Foundations. Christopher Stone, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, is an expert in criminal justice with extensive international experience and will take the helm of the Open Society Foundations in the second half of next year.
This transition will bring the most significant change to the Open Society Foundations since Aryeh arrived. Over the last 30 years my Foundations have given away more than $8 billion to help build open societies around the world. The Foundations have grown tremendously from my first ventures in the late 1970s and 80s supporting scholarships for dissidents in Eastern Europe and black students in South Africa.
We are all extremely grateful to Aryeh for his leadership and dedication over the years. He is a brilliant and determined leader who has shaped the Open Society Foundations into what it is today—a leading supporter of efforts to promote democratic governance, rule of law, the rights of minorities, and civil and political liberties. I am confident that Chris will carry on Aryeh’s legacy.