Bernadett Sebály

Year of Enrollment: 
Departmental Affiliation: 
Public Policy

Prior to CEU, Bernadett worked for 10 years to build strong community organizations, drawn to a vision of participatory civil society. She is the co-editor of the book titled "The Society of Power or the Power of Society? The Basics of Community Organizing," a compilation of studies of American academics and practitioners on the organizing approach. She co-founded and organized in The City Is For All, a multi-class alliance of house poor and coordinated Civilizáció, a Hungarian network of CSOs during a period of repressive government measures. She worked with Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group International, and helped design and build a community organizing program in Hungary with the Civil College Foundation. Her goal is to link the worlds of social movements and academia in a way that is fruitful for all.

Bernadett is pursuing a PhD in Public Policy at the CEU's Doctoral School of Political Science. She draws on her significant field experience in her research on the policy impact of social movements. She has published articles on housing, disability rights, and organizing, and writes her dissertation on the relationship between movement structures, constituent participation, and policy impact. She is particularly interested in how the combination of movement strategies influences a more far-reaching political-economic transformation. She aims to provide answers for social movements and donors working in an authoritarian environment. Bernadett was the winner of CEU's 1st-year PhD award for 2019/2020 and a Visiting Graduate Scholar at P3 Lab at SNF Agora at Johns Hopkins University in 2022/2023.

Bernadett is dedicated to shaping the self-representation of civil society in Eastern Europe. She is a research affiliate at the CEU Democracy Institute, where she leads a project on post-transition movement history in Hungary. The project received the Engaged Research Award of the Talloires Network of Engaged Universities and the Open Society University Network (OSUN) in 2022. Previously, she led two participatory action research processes with the School of Public Life and the European Community Organizing Network, respectively.

Bernadett has more than ten years of experience as an educator and also received training in pedagogy. She regularly holds trainings with the School of Public Life, a grassroots social movement training center in Hungary. In her teaching practice, she draws on the principles of critical pedagogy and uses co-operative teaching techniques. Bernadett holds a degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Miskolc, and in Public Policy from the Central European University (CEU).

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