The Financial Times has selected liberal activist and investor George Soros as its Person of the Year for 2018, citing the prominent billionaire as a "standard bearer of liberal democracy and open society."
"The Financial Times’s choice of Person of the Year is usually a reflection of their achievements," the London-based newspaper's editorial board wrote of their choice. "In the case of Mr. Soros this year, his selection is also about the values he represents."
FT goes on to say that Soros's ideas are "under siege from all sides" including from "Vladimir Putin’s Russia to Donald Trump’s America" while attracting "the wrath of authoritarian regimes." -The Hill
"For more than three decades, Mr. Soros has used philanthropy to battle against authoritarianism, racism and intolerance," the editorial reads. "Through his long commitment to openness, media freedom and human rights, he has attracted the wrath of authoritarian regimes and, increasingly, the national populists who continue to gain ground, particularly in Europe."
In November, Soros' Open Society was driven out of Turkey after one of the founders of the Turkish OS branch, Hakan Altinay, was arrested along with 12 others and charged with supporting an opposition figure accused of trying to overthrow the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In May, the Open Society closed its Budapest Office and moved its operations to Berlin after the country passed an "Stop Soros" law aimed at making it more difficult for foreign NGOs to operate in the country.
Open Society purports to support "justice and human rights" in more than 100 countries; but in more recent years, it has primarily focused on Soros' liberal agenda of open borders and free trade while resisting the wave of populist sentiment that has swept across Europe and the US.
Soros has made headlines over the last several years for his funding of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which have assisted migrants on their journey into Europe. In 2016, the Hungarian-American billionaire announced a $500 million pledge to "invest in startups, established companies, social-impact initiatives and businesses founded by migrants and refugees themselves," Soros wrote in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. "Although my main concern is to help migrants and refugees arriving in Europe, I will be looking for good investment ideas that will benefit migrants all over the world."
Last month, a New York Times exposé revealed that Facebook had hired a GOP public relations firm which smeared anti-Facebook activists as paid Soros operatives. On Thanksgiving eve, Facebook admitted to targeting Soros, to which Open Society Foundation President, Patrick Gaspard, and Soros adviser Michael Vachon, lambased the silicon valley giant.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that while it was indeed Facebook's collective decision to go after Soros, "it was never anyone’s intention to play into an anti-Semitic narrative against Mr. Soros or anyone else."