Mihai Șora studied philosophy at the University of Bucharest from 1934 to 1938, where he was a student of Mircea Eliade. From 1939 to 1948 he studied in Paris and Grenoble on a fellowship granted by the French government. He joined the French Resistance during World War II, and was a member of the French Communist Party.
After travelling back to Romania in 1948, Șora was prevented from returning to France. Barred from holding a teaching appointment in communist Romania, he nevertheless became an influential editor. Șora's family emigrated to the West in the 1970s, and he was allowed to visit them in the 1980s, but he was forced to publish under pseudonyms rather than use his own name.
In March 1989 he joined intellectuals protesting the treatment of dissident poet Mircea Dinescu. After the fall of Nicolae Ceaușescu in December 1989, he briefly served as minister of education in Petre Roman's postrevolutionary coalition. He was one of only two cabinet members to endorse the March 1990 Timisoara Proclamation, which unsuccessfully proposed a law to prevent former Securitate members from occupying leading political positions. He was a member of the Group for Social Dialogue, writing for its weekly publication Revista 22, and the Civic Alliance Foundation, which later became the Civic Alliance Party.
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