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This profile was last updated on 1/15/16  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Ms. Annette Laborey

Wrong Annette Laborey?

Board Member

Phone: (212) ***-****  HQ Phone
Local Address:  Paris , Île-de-France , France
Open Society Institute
400 West 59Th Street
New York , New York 10019
United States

Company Description: The Open Society Institute ( works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens and, through its...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

24 Total References
Web References
Annette Laborey, ..., 15 Jan 2016 [cached]
Annette Laborey, OSI - Paris Executive Director, Open Society Institute - Paris
Annette Laborey | Open Society Foundations (OSF), 12 May 2015 [cached]
Annette Laborey
Annette Laborey Board Open Society Foundations-New York, Open Society Global Board
Until December 2012, Annette Laborey was vice president of the Open Society Foundations, the executive director of the Paris office, and board liaison officer for all foundations and affiliated institutions.
Laborey has been involved in Central and Eastern European issues since 1974, running the Foundation for Mutual Intellectual Support (FEIE), cofinanced since 1978 by George Soros.
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Days of Dissent and Dreams of Democracy | Open Society Institute, 5 Nov 2009 [cached]
Annette Laborey at picnic after conferencein Krakow, Poland, 1991 (Photo courtesy of Annette Laborey [Adelheid von Bothmer])
Annette Laborey at picnic after conferencein Krakow, Poland, 1991 (Photo courtesy of Annette Laborey [Adelheid von Bothmer])
Open Society Institute senior writer Chuck Sudetic tells of the life and times of Annette Laborey, executive director of OSI-Paris, who in the 1980s helped dissidents behind the Iron Curtain survive and triumph.
Annette Laborey made many forays into communist Eastern Europe. She sometimes visited alone, carrying cash stuffed in her bra for her friends. Sometimes she traveled with her brother in his old Volvo, once with a small printing press he had concealed beneath her seat to smuggle to political dissidents in Hungary. On other occasions, she packed her kids, some of them infants, into a camper van with food and luggage, diapers and bottles, and books and candy, and set off eastward. They passed through border crossings along the Iron Curtain, without drawing the attention of glowering guards. They stopped wherever they wanted. They stayed, ate, and drank late into the night with friends, old and new. All along the way, Laborey expanded a network of writers, thinkers, and artists and helped chip away the totalitarian monolith.
Then, during a return trip to Paris from Poland in the summer of 1981, the halcyon days of Solidarity when there was nothing to eat except in hard-currency shops and restaurants for foreigners, Laborey realized that her mission would soon be accomplished.
"Les jeux sont faits," she said to herself.
"The game is over," she told her program officer at the Ford Foundation.
Annette Laborey worked for a Paris-based organization that is now all but forgotten except by writers, academics, historians, and other Eastern European intellectuals.
Laborey managed the foundation from 1975. She traveled into the East bloc developing contacts. She took care of visiting scholarship recipients who came to the West and rolled up in front of her office near Henry Miller's old haunts on the Boulevard Beaumarchais. She perfected the art of explanation and developed the stamina to endure smoke-filled nights and days and nights of vodka-fueled conversation. The vast majority of scholars were not hard-line anticommunists or people desperate to defect. They were, rather, young people who had gifted minds and who would, after exposure to the dizzying choices available in Western supermarkets and libraries, carry home a worldview that no longer squared with the warped image of the West officially propagated in their own countries.
"It was a lot about partying and trying to be normal under very abnormal circumstances," Laborey said. "I got a lot of credit for my capacity to drink vodka from morning to night."
Laborey began her career after graduating from the Sorbonne. Political dissent was growing in Eastern Europe, with individuals and groups in Poland and Czechoslovakia as the leading insurgents. The Helsinki Accords were signed.
"Through him I had the best contacts in Poland," Laborey said.
Still, Laborey visited Prague and other towns and cities in Czechoslovakia. Once, a Czech historian asked her to bring a specific book, Volume 3 from an important German historical encyclopedia. It had disappeared from every set in all of Czechoslovakia. "I wasn't caught," Laborey said. "I got to his kitchen and, when he saw that book, he literally cried."
East Germany, the East bloc's security and military lynchpin, was even more difficult to crack. "Even the East German opposition believed in the system, that the system was good, but badly applied. In East Germany, I could not avoid informers," Laborey said.
Laborey used émigrés in Paris to establish contacts in Romania, which was ruled at the time by Nicolae Ceausescu.
Laborey and her friends once ate her notes after a suspicious phone call rang in the artist's studio where they were meeting.
"I met [Eugene] Ionescu, but did not work with him, even though the Securitate said I had. One of my great contacts was Andrej Plesu," said Laborey.
Laborey eventually met Soros in 1981 and started to discuss financial support for the foundation.
Soros answered, "Well, Annette, think larger."
No more did Laborey have to spend time raising funds.
Laborey now had new resources to expand her work into the Baltic republics and Bulgaria.
In 1991, Laborey made a final journey from Paris to Poland for the foundation. This time she carried a cache of expensive French cheese to serve at a victory party in Krakow, a three-day-bash for a hundred members of the network she had nurtured during her years on the road. Members of Laborey's network had become leaders of their countries' new political establishment.
Media Development Loan Fund - About MDLF - Board of Directors, 23 Aug 2012 [cached]
Annette Laborey Executive Director, Open Society Institute
Media Development Loan Fund - About MDLF - Board of Directors, 20 Nov 2009 [cached]
As executive director (1973-1991) of the Fondation pour une Entraide Intellectuelle Européene, Annette Laborey worked to support independent intellectuals, journalists and creative artists in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia and, later on, in the Baltic States and the DDR. Since 1991, she has been executive director of the Open Society Institute in Paris, the Western European liaison and resource office for the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations.
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