US investor George Soros plans to donate $US1 billion ($A1.5b) to universities to foster democracy and educate persecuted communities.
He made the pledge on Thursday night on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Soros said he wanted to use the money to connect existing universities around the world, in reaction to global warming, world-wide protest movements and political trends.
Last year, "the strongest powers, the US, China and Russia, remained in the hands of would-be or actual dictators and the ranks of authoritarian rulers continued to grow," the 89-year-old billionaire said at the dinner he hosts each year at the gathering of politicians and executives in the Swiss town of Davos.
The higher-education network will include the Soros-funded Central European University and aims to foster critical thinking among students.
The funds will also be used for students from neglected populations such as refugees, prisoners, Europe's large Roma minority and Myanmar's Rohingya people, according to Soros.
The Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor is an outspoken critic of politicians such as US President Donald Trump and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Far-right politicians and media have accused Soros of promoting irregular mass migration into Europe, owing to his engagement for refugees.
Australian Associated Press