Greater Surbiton

The perfect is the enemy of the good

Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi and the London School of Economics

Courtesy of Dan Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor, we learn that Colonel Gaddafi’s son and intended heir Saif al-Islam, whose recent speech warned Libyans to ‘Be ready for a new colonial period from America and Britain’ and pledged that ‘We will fight to the last man and woman and bullet’, had received his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2008 for a dissertation entitled ‘The role of civil society in the democratisation of global governance institutions: from “soft power” to collective decision making ?’

According to The Guardian, ‘While studying for his PhD, Saif enjoyed a life of considerable luxury in one of London’s wealthiest and most prestigious suburbs. In August 2009 Gaddafi bought his son a £10m house in north London. Inside the neo-Georgian eight-bedroom mansion, Saif could relax in his own swimming pool sauna room, whirlpool bath and suede-lined cinema room.’ After graduating, Saif al-Islam gave the LSE’s Centre for the Study of Global Governance a grant of £1.5 million, via an NGO that he headed. Professor David Held, one of the directors of Global Governance, was quoted at the time as saying ‘This donation will support us as we work to increase understanding of global problems and to encourage interaction between academics and policy makers.’ Held went on: ‘It is a generous donation from an NGO committed to the promotion of civil society and the development of democracy.’ Furthermore, it was reported that Saif al-Islam ‘had requested Professor Held’s assistance in developing a Centre for Democracy and Civil Society in Tripoli’. The late Professor Fred Halliday was alone among LSE staff in cautioning against acceptance of the donation. Saif al-Islam also gave a lecture entitled “Libya: Past, Present, Future” at LSE in 2009 as part of a series on the future of global capitalism, according to the Times Higher Education.

In light of the recent regime violence in Libya, the LSE has severed its ties with the regime and halted all activities funded by Saif al-Islam’s grant. The LSE students’ union responded by saying ‘We welcome the school’s decision to take no further funding from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation, however, we believe that this does not go far enough. The school should take action to ensure that the money that was stolen from the Libyan people for our benefit is now used for the benefit of Libyan people.’ It called on LSE to ‘work towards creating a scholarship fund for underprivileged Libyan students using the £300,000 that LSE has already accepted.’

Greater Surbiton News Service

Monday, 21 February 2011 Posted by | Middle East | , , , , , | 4 Comments