Saturday, March 5, 2011

The embarrassment of the dealings of the Libyan School of Economics

The London School of Economics is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. But that status has faltered in recent days by the institution's dealings with the Libyan regime, that have caused the public humiliation of some of its professors and triggered the hasty resignation of its director.

The outgoing is Howard Davies, an intellectual conceit that has served as head of financial watchdog and the Bank of England deputy governor and an influential figure in the circles of power in the UK. Davies has successfully piloted the global expansion of the LSE. But his reputation has not survived the riots in Benghazi, which the tabloids have helped to portray him as an unscrupulous manager decided to agree to any price with the dictator.

The head of the LSE has not resigned by a corruption but by the accumulation of embarrassing revelations that have rocked the UK in recent days. The first was his dealings in 2009 with the founding of Saif Islam, son of Libyan leader and former student of Central London. Saif Davies offered to donate two million euros and he decided to channel it in two directions: the creation of scholarships for Libyan university and the foundation of an academic program on North Africa.

For now, the institution had only received about 360,000 euros. But that did not stop criticism of the press and student protests, which were set up as guardians of the prestige of their university. The director stepped forward and apologized. Not only for the donation of Libyan foundation.

Also paid for his work as adviser to the Libyan Investment Authority is the body that manages the country's sovereign assets. Davies received about 30,000 euros to travel to Tripoli and Libyan advising managers how to invest the funds generated by their oil fields. "I made a misjudgment in accepting the invitation of the British government to visit Libya and then another error in accepting the invitation of the Libyan Government to advise its sovereign wealth fund, said yesterday in announcing his resignation," there was nothing wrong with that work and it was no secret, but I understand that makes things more difficult when defending the prestige of the institution.

" A few days ago, the LSE has attempted to draw a firewall suspending any relationship with Gaddafi's son and saying he would spend the money received college scholarships for North Africa. But the strategy fell apart yesterday when it emerged a second detail of embarrassing that academy had accepted more than a million euros to train an elite of young Libyans: about 250 in Libya and about 400 at its headquarters in London.

The figures appear in a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks, which reveals that the agreement was signed in September 2009. By then the political landscape was different. And not just because the Libyan dictator had just returned to the fold after two decades of ostracism. By the presence in the government of Peter Mandelson, who has cultivated the friendship too often Gaddafi clan, and the emergence of a favorable political context: that of a softening labor satrap eager to open the doors to investment British companies such as BP.

The least at this point is whether Saif Islam plagiarized his doctoral thesis on civil society in North Africa. What more to restore the reputation of the LSE, one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the UK. Its board announced last night that it has commissioned an independent audit to review its relations with the Libyan regime.

Meanwhile, the spotlight will implacable of his students. "This should be a place to learn," said Ashok Kumar last night, his representative, "not a place to make deals without scruples."

No comments:

Post a Comment