LONDON – A prestigious London university announced this week that it has
suspended a study program funded by a charity run by the son of Libyan leader
Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
The London School of Economics (LSE) said on Monday
that it had reconsidered its links with Libya “as a matter of urgency,” and
suspended a North African research program partly funded by Seif al-Islam
Gaddafi following the recent violence in Libya.
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“The School has had a
number of links with Libya in recent years. In view of the highly distressing
news from Libya over the weekend of 19-20 February, the School has reconsidered
those links as a matter of urgency,” LSE said in a statement.
university said that in 2009 it accepted £1.5 million from the Gaddafi
International Charity and Development Foundation, which is chaired by the
younger Gaddafi, who is also a graduate of school.
According to its
website, the Foundation “carries out developmental and humanitarian activities
in the social, economic, cultural and human rights fields.” On Tuesday LSE said
it had only received £300,000 to date and that no more will be
LSE has also received scholarship funding in return for counsel
given to the Libyan Investment Authority in London.
Student Rights, a
London-based organization focused on tackling extremism on UK university
campuses has called on the university to donate the £300,000 it has so far
received from Gaddafi’s trust and donate it to a charity helping victims of his
father’s oppressive regime.
“It is abhorrent that an institution such as
the LSE is engaging openly with such a deplorable and oppressive regime,” said
Student Rights director Raheem Kassam.
“Much of the £300,000 has already
been spent or committed to research and publications.
The School is
looking closely at its commitments, particularly those to fund
The LSE Council will consider the position, and the use of
any remaining uncommitted funds, when the position has been clarified,” LSE told
The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Gaddafi received a doctorate from the LSE
in 2009 and gave the university the £1.5 million the same year.
donation will support us as we work to increase understanding of global problems
and to encourage interaction between academics and policy makers,” Prof. David
Held, a codirector of the center, said upon receiving the donation. “It is a
generous donation from an NGO committed to the promotion of civil society and
the development of democracy.”
“I have known Seif al-Islam Gaddafi for
several years since he did a PhD at the LSE,” said Held. “During this time I
came to know a young man who was caught between loyalties to his family and a
desire to reform his country.
In many discussions and meetings I
encouraged the development of his reform agenda and subsequently sought to
support it through research on the North Africa Program funded by the Gaddafi
International Charity and Development Foundation,” the professor
“My support for Seif al-Islam Gaddafi was always conditional on him
resolving the dilemma that he faced in a progressive and democratic direction.
The speech last night makes it abundantly clear that his commitment to
transforming his country has been overwhelmed by the crisis he finds himself
Held said that Gaddafi had “tragically, but fatefully,” made the
“As a result, the LSE has stopped new work on the North
Africa Program, although we will continue to pursue research and policy
development, as we have done, on behalf of the democratization process in the
Middle East,” Held added.