For the past 16 years, BYU Law Professor Cliff Fleming has traveled to Budapest, Hungary, each spring to teach a legal course to a group of international students at the Central European University (CEU). This year he taught International Tax Law to 17 students from 13 different countries.
“My course gives them the foundation to understand how their countries will tax the international income of their clients, how their clients will be taxed by foreign countries and how to plan accordingly,” Professor Fleming said. “Perhaps most importantly, I teach critical thinking and policy analysis skills that they haven't been previously exposed to.”
Professor Fleming finds the experience rewarding as the students are “hungry to learn,” and he has the opportunity to instruct individuals who will be the next generation of global leaders.
“If I and my CEU colleagues are successful, the students leave with a skill and value set that will make them important contributors to the development of the rule of law and to the battle against corruption in their home countries,” he said. “For these reasons, teaching at CEU has the possibility of making a difference that isn't likely in an American law school. In turn, the CEU students bring experiences that American students haven't had, and I learn things from them that I can't learn from American students.”
Established in 1991, CEU is a model for international education: a center for regional and global studies where there is intellectual support for building open and democratic societies that respect human rights. The school was established by a Hungarian named George Soros who escaped the Communist regime, reached the West, and become a billionaire. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, he wanted to give something to his native land. He felt that higher education there was stultifying and that students needed to learn western-style critical thinking, the rule of law, the workings of free markets, and the values of an open society. Students are drawn primarily from the countries making up the former U.S.S.R., its former satellite countries, Central Asia, and recently from Africa and South Asia.