Praise and Comments about the Openness Project




"This is important work ... Forty years ago, we stopped producing any more documentary information... we can only tell anecdotal stories which get more and more mythical.  But now the younger generation is taking over.  And I see our scholarship is now in good hands."
-- Arpád Göncz, President of Hungary, addressing the participants in the Budapest conference, 28 September 1996.
 

"A clear conception of our country's history is one of the basic conditions for building genuinely democratic self-awareness in our society .... I am happy that the co-operation between the National Security Archive in Washington and the Czech foundation, Prague Spring 1968, has resulted in this voluminous collection of documents, which, I hope, will lead American readers to a closer understanding of the dramatic events that the then-Czechoslovakia lived through three decades ago." 
 -- Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, in the Preface to The Prague Spring ’68, A National Security Archive Documents Reader (CEU Press, 1998)
 

"I hope your conference will generate not only new insights, but further cooperative research projects.  That would be a material contribution to the renewal of a civil society in the Czech lands and elsewhere.  Serious joint scholarship in search of international truth is one of the cornerstones of that civil society.  An enviable task awaits you.  I wish you success." 
-- U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Adrian Basora, addressing the first Prague conference 18 April 1994.
 

"I researched and wrote this book while a visiting fellow at the National Security Archive in Washington.  I cannot imagine a better home.  The archive provided me with what every writer needs -- a stimulating atmosphere, creative and helpful colleagues, research assistance (especially with Freedom of Information Act requests), and a spirited, if not always triumphant, softball team." 
-- Tina Rosenberg, in The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 420.  Winner of the 1995 National Book Award and the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction.
 

"The conference organized by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, a group that focuses on encouraging governments around the world to open their archives, addressed the varying degrees of access that scholars now have to the gold mine of cold war information that lies in the archives of the former Communist bloc." 
-- Jane Perlez, “Archives Confirm False Hope Fed Hungary Revolt,” The New York Times, 28 September 1996.
 

"Now, forty years later, scholars and survivors assemble in the handsome rooms of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, its high windows looking across the Danube from naughty Pest to haughty Buda.  Inside, it looks like just another academic conference.... Yet in Budapest the witnesses have survived not just, say, too many good dinners at the Carlton Club in London, but a death sentence commuted at the last minute to fourteen years in prison.  So the occasion is not ordinary at all.... this dramatic confrontation of documents and memories, of written and oral history...." 
-- Oxford University historian Timothy Garton Ash, "Hungary's Revolution: Forty Years On," The New York Review of Books, 14 November 1996, pp. 18-22.
 

"In the last several years, the National Security Archive and the Cold War International History Project, two not-for-profit groups in Washington, have been pressing governments, from Japan to Guatemala to Romania, to open up their archives to historians....  At a gathering last weekend of political scientists and Hungarians and Americans involved in the stormy [Hungarian] events of 40 years ago, delicious and surprising new findings emerged." 
-- Jane Perlez, "Thawing Out Cold War History," The New York Times, 6 October 1996.
 

"The documentation provided in the [conference] briefing book is extraordinarily good ... [and is] invaluable in the classroom. The documentation is so recent, it is where diplomatic history meets contemporary public policy ... This makes the teaching of diplomacy come to life in ways that would have been hard to imagine a few years ago." 
-- U.S. Amb. Robert Hutchings, director for European affairs at the NSC (1989-92), special adviser to the secretary of state (1992-93), and a participant at the second Prague conference, 14-16 October 1999.
 

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