An intense learning experience in a remote castle
for Central Europe’s most promising young leaders and thinkers.

CSS hosted the inaugural Summer Leadership Academy  on July 25 – July 29 at Bercel Kastély in Nógrád County, Hungary. Over the course of five days and four nights, twenty-five selected participants gained an invaluable theoretical grounding in philosophy, economics, politics, and law, while also taking part in workshops and simulations. The Academy participants were selected from among 140 highly qualified applicants mostly from Hungary, but also from Central and Eastern Europe, the UK and the USA.

Academy overview

Click here to see photos from this year’s Academy.

If you want to:

  • better understand the intellectual roots of a free and prosperous society,
  • be equipped with practical leadership skills, and
  • create life-long friendships with future leaders

…then the Summer Leadership Academy is for you!

The Academy is designed for young leaders and thinkers who are committed to strengthening their own understanding of the free and prosperous society. The Academy promises to be the new incubator of future leaders in Hungary and in Central and Eastern Europe who are committed to promoting the ideas of responsible liberty and equipped with the skills necessary to implement them.

Click here to read the bios of the Class of 2012.


Courses are taught in English by top-quality speakers from Hungary and around the world. Summer Academy Faculty include:

  • Roger Scruton
    Celebrated philosopher and author of more than 30 books; Visiting Professor at Oxford University; and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.
  • Roger Pilon
    Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC.
  • Juliana Geran Pilon
    Director of the Center for Culture and Security at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.
  • Sam Potolicchio
    Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University and named one of this year’s 300 Best Professors by the Princeton Review.
  • Peter Záboji
    serial entrepreneur, European Entrepreneurship Foundation
  • Thierry Baudet
    Dutch journalist and academic at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Ferenc Horkay H0rcher
    political philosopher, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary.
  • András Jakab
    Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law Heidelberg / Institute for Legal Studies Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Plus: special guest speakers from our sponsors.


Free Markets and the Free Society:

— The First Principles of Liberty
— Checks & Balances: constitutionalism in practice
— Capitalism, Socialism, and the Search for Human Dignity
— International Organizations: in theory and reality
— Property Rights: The Key to Prosperity

Western Culture:

— Ideas Have Consequences: an introduction to philosophy
— Rebels with a Cause: the story of freedom fighters behind the Iron Curtain
— Art, Architecture, and Music in Modern Life
— Where Communism Went Wrong
— In Defense of the West
— Religion and Society


— Leadership Virtues & Skills (including simulations)
— Business & Ethics
— Managing Yourself—the challenge of a lifetime!
— Profiles in Leadership
— Civic Engagement & Volunteerism


— classical music concert
— outdoor activities
— gala dinner
— and more

All expenses, including room, board, study materials and use of the castle’s facilities are complimentary. Participants are only be responsible for transportation and travel expenses to and from the Academy.


The Academy is held at the secluded Bercel castle in Nógrád county where only conference participants will be present.  Bercel is 1.5 hour drive north of Budapest. The castle was built in 1889 and was owned by Béni Kállay, a minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1997, it was completely restored and renovated to accommodate modern conveniences. All rooms have wireless internet and their own bathrooms.


The Summer Leadership Academy is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors.



If you have questions about the Academy, please contact
Emese Böröcz at

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