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FORGE PRESS Friday March 18 2011

NEWS UNIVERSITY

Cash and controversy: Unis d


Libya
lLibyas dictator Muammar Gaddafis ruling has made his country a pariah state. lIn recent demonstrations, the army has opened fire on unarmed protesters and rebels have urged the west to intervene. lGaddafi has said that he will not step down and will die if that is what it takes for him to stay in power. lThere have been talks of establishing a no-fly zone in the area by the UK and the US. lMany members of the media went missing last week when the demonstrations peaked, including a Guardian correspondent who was released earlier this week. The Libyan population is still rebelling under the rule of Gaddafi to break free from a repressive government.

High-ranking University staff met with members of the Gaddafi regime to discuss linking with Libyan universities
Mikey Smith and Helen Lawson Senior University of Sheffield staff, including Vice-Chancellor Keith Burnett, met with a high level member of the Gaddafi regime, and signed a student transfer deal worth 400,000 with Libyan universities, it has emerged. The deal was aided by the former British Ambassador to Tripoli, who was subsequently awarded an honorary doctorate by the University. A delegation from the University of Sheffield, led by former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs Professor Dominic Shellard, visited Omar Al Makhtar University, in Al Bayda in North-Eastern Libya in December 2009. Prof. Shellard discussed arrangements for joint Masters and PhD programmes, and signed a preliminary agreement for the two universities to collaborate in the future. At least one person died in Al Bayda, Libyas third largest city, when security forces opened fire on protesters during the day of rage on February 17. The city is now believed to be controlled by the Libyan opposition. During a visit to the UK in January 2010, Libyan Education Minister Dr Abdul Kabir Fakhri, met with Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett. An agreement was signed between the University of Sheffield and Tripolis Al Fateh University, with a view to strengthening cooperation between the two sides in scientific areas. At the end of March 2010, Prof. Burnett led a delegation of senior University of Sheffield staff, including Prof. Shellard and representatives from the Faculties of Science and Medicine on a second, six day long trip to Libya. The teams return to Al Bayda

Photo: giladlotan resulted in the finalisation of a deal to bring five PhD students from Libya to Sheffield to study at the Universitys Biomedical Science research centre. Omar Al Makhtar University committed 400,000 to cover student fees for that academic year. A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: The University has academic agreements with two Libyan universities, Omar Al Mukhtar University (OMU) and Al Fateh University (AFU). As part of the partnership with OMU, the University offers scholarships to five talented Libyan students to study a postgraduate degree at the University of Sheffield in the field of Medicine. The University has also helped to train academic staff at OMU, specifically in relation to improving the quality of their medical education. The University has had initial discussions with AFU regarding academic development of their Veterinary and Medical Sciences. Shortly before the second trip to Libya, it was announced that Prof. Shellard was to leave Sheffield to take the position of Vice-Chancellor at Leicesters De Montfort University. Omar Al Makhtar University later announced it had signed deals with De Montfort and Strathclyde Universities to co-operate in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Both visits to Libya included meetings with Sir Vincent Fean, the British Ambassador to Tripoli at the time. Sir Vincent made headlines toward the end of his time as Ambassador for his controversial role in the release of Lockerbie Bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. In a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, Fean warned that refusal to release al-Megrahi would have a disastrous impact on British interests in Libya. He said: They could cut us off at the knees. Sir Vincent is also a member of the board of trustees of the London Middle East Institute, part of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and of the University of London. It emerged last week that Mutassim Gaddafi, fourth son of Libyas military leader, was given private tuition at the SOAS in 2006.In 2010, SOAS signed an agreement with Al-Fateh University, reportedly worth 188,024. In 2008, Sir Vincent aided a $165m deal between the UK arm of military company General Dynamics to supply communications hardware to the Libyan army. The deal was the first of its kind to be made between a British company and Libya since the lifting of trade embargoes in 2004. Fean was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Sheffield on July 20 2010.

Saudi Arabia
lSaudi Arabias government is an absolute monarchy. lKing and Prime Minister Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz is one of the worlds wealthiest royals and makes all political and economical decisions of the country. lHuman Rights Watch and Amnesty International have repeatedly expressed concern over human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. lRecently, the Saudi Arabian army was sent to crush uprisings in Bahrain. Since then, there have been many violent crackdowns on demonstrators with at least five deaths. lSaudi Arabians were discouraged to protest on March 11, the countrys alleged day of rage, by the governments incessant prevention campaign. lIn the weeks before the planned day of protests, the population was bombarded with rumours that the Arab demonstrations were an Iranian conspiracy and that those who insisted on protesting would be punished. lThe day of rage went by without any demonstrations being held in the country.

Profiles: whos who?

Keith Burnett lUniversity of Sheffield ViceChancellor since October 1 2007 lPreviously worked at Oxford University for 20 years lAwarded a CBE for contributions to scientific communities in 2004 lReceives an annual salary of 251,000

Dominic Shellard lJune 2010 appointed ViceChancellor at De Montfort University lJoined University of Sheffield in 1996 lIn 2004 he became the head of the School of English lMade University of Sheffield Pro-Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs in 2008

Sir Vincent Fean lStudied at the University of Sheffield lHigh Commissioner to Malta (200206) lAmbassador to Libya (200610). Consul General to Jerusalem since 2010 lReceived an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield last year

Tim Crick l The current Director for International Liaison at the University of Sheffield lVisited Saudi Arabia in June 2010 to strike deals with the Government lMet potential students from Mexico City and Monterrey on visits during February and March 2011

FORGE PRESS Friday March 18 2011

www.forgetoday.com // news@forgetoday.com

UNIVERSITY NEWS

deals with Libyans and Saudis


Saudi Arabia funds University with 6.5million for researchers to solve countrys chronic osteoporosis problem
Mikey Smith The University of Sheffield has received more than 6.5m in funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in return for sending three researchers to a Saudi state university, and providing consultancy services. Attention has been drawn to the human rights record of the oil rich nation after Saudi police fired upon protesters calling for social and economic reform yesterday. The University signed a five year consultancy contract worth $200,000 a year with the Centre for Excellence for Osteoporosis Research at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah. A 6m agreement was also reached to send three members of University of Sheffield staff to Jeddah as visiting researchers. The deals were struck during a visit to Saudi Arabia by Tim Crick, the Universitys Director of International Liaison, in June 2010. Police opened fire on prodemocracy protesters March 10 in Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia. Witnesses report rubber bullets and stun grenades were used to disperse a crowd of around 200, and that at least three people were wounded. The University say the aim of the deal is to improve the lives of ordinary people in Saudi Arabia, where osteoporosis is a major health concern. A spokesperson said: All of the Universitys activities have been carried out transparently and information about the Universitys links with the country is publicly available on our website. Our activities have also been conducted with the encouragement and full support of the UK Government and associated agencies. The University of Sheffield is working to solve Saudi Arabias chronic osteoporosis problem and has signed a joint research contract with the Centre of Excellence for Osteoporosis Research (CEOR) at King Abdullah University to conduct vital life-saving research into bone disease. As part of this agreement the University has also provided expert advice to academic colleagues in this area of medical research. King Abdulaziz University is the second oldest university in Saudi Arabia, and has been a state institution since 1971. As with most Saudi universities, male and female students are strictly segregated. Saudi Arabia does not recognise LGBT rights. Homosexuality is illegal and is punishable by imprisonment, flogging or in some cases death. The death penalty is also applied to a wide range of other crimes, including sorcery and blasphemy. Amnesty International has raised concerns over reports of unfair trials, cruel punishments and the use of torture. A group of 40 Saudi women were arrested on March 5 for protesting outside a government building in the city of Dammam. The group were demonstrating for the release of Shiite prisoners held in connection with the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, and were reportedly beaten before being detained. At the start of March the countrys council of senior clerics issued a blanket ban on public protest on the grounds that they are incompatible with Saudi traditions and the principles of sharia law. Saudi Arabian troops were sent into neighbouring Bahrain on March 14 to support the Royal Family after protests by Shia

Have your say


Comment on this issue, send your views to: King Abdullah is described as a cautious reformer. letters@forgetoday.com

Saudi Arabian protesters campaign against the dominance of Sharia law. demonstrators. King Abdullah has meant that They joined forces from the four I have been able to attend the other members of the Gulf Co- University of Sheffield, one of operation Council. the UKs best universities, and Sheikh Ali Salman, head of the pursue my studies for the benefit Bahrain Wefaq opposition group, of my country. told Al Jazeera: The military His Highness has opened the should withdraw from Bahrain, doors for all women to study the military of Saudi Arabia, and overseas, and has invested this is a call to the Saudi king, heavily in the education of girls King Abdullah. and women, and Saudi women Saudi Foreign Minister Saud are extremely grateful. Al Faisal said Any finger lifted King Abdullah is seen by many in the face of the Kingdom, will as moderately progressive, and be cut off. has been instrumental in opening Conservative MP Robert Halfon the nations first non-segregated has called for universities linked university. to hardline regimes to have their But critics, including Human funding cut. Rights Watch, Amnesty The University of Sheffield International and the United hosted the first Saudi womens Nations Committee Against academic forum in March 2010, Torture, have accused him of not intended to highlight the practical acting fast enough to improve achievements of Saudi female equality in Saudi Arabia, students in the UK. particularly for women and girls. PhD student Ahlam Al- The Universitys full statement Zahrani, who organised the on its links to Saudi Arabia can event, said: The generosity of be read at www.forgetoday.com

Meetings with Gaddafi and 75m deals: universities links with Libya
Nicole Froio The Universities of Exeter, Durham and the London School of Economics (LSE) have also been reported to have links with Middle Eastern dictatorships. The University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor, Steve Smith, personally met with Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli to discuss a 75m deal that involved educating elite Libyan officials. Smith is also president of Universities UK, which represents 133 institutions. A University spokesperson confirmed the meeting took place but assured that nothing came out of it. He said: Money was never exchanged and no links were ever established. The initial proposals just fizzled out and the Universitys strategic priorities changed. In a University statement to the press, it was also reported that the travel costs of the visit were paid by the British Council and that no gifts or funds were exchanged. The University of Durham was accused of accepting blood money from the Iranian government by Robert Halfon MP, who insisted that the universitys funding should be cut as a punishment. He said during Business Questions in the House of Commons: If a university takes blood money, it should lose an equivalent amount in public subsidy. Halfon claimed Durham had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, rectifying a promise to publish joint books, hold joint conferences, and undertake joint research and exchange students and members of staff. In return, Durham was paid 10,000 by the government. This accusation follows the revelation that Durham sought more than 250,000 from the US government to develop relationships with Iran. The director of the London School of Economics (LSE), Sir Howard Davies, resigned over University dealings with the Libyan government after the release of a University statement to the press that said the organisation was embarrassed. Sir Howard admitted to advising the university to accept the money from Libya and said this turned out to be a mistake. He said: The short point is that I am responsible for the schools reputation, and that has suffered. The LSE accepted 1.5m from Gaddafis son and University alumnus Saif al-Islam alGaddafi to set up a north Africa research programme that is now suspended. The total of 300,000 donated by the Gaddafi family is now being used to set up a scholarship fund for Libyan students. Mr Halfon also asked for the LSEs funding to be cut. Further inquiries will be made regarding allegations that Saif Gaddafis PhD thesis was plagiarized. A US consultancy has admitted to organising meetings between academics and policymakers from the US and the UK with Gaddafi in hopes to bring him closer to the west. A leaked cable, published by WikiLeaks, revealed that other UK universities took part in these dealings.

Simon Smith, Exeters VC.