Saturday, 4 April 2009

Think tank challenges University

In a report published at the end of March the Centre for Social Cohesion questions the changing nature of aspects of academic funding. In particular it raises questions about whether the sources bring undesirable influence. Edinburgh University hosts a Confucius Institute (which has featured on this newsblog before) and Centre for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (reported here last year).

The report suggests that Confucian Institutes are openly political organisations which serve as diplomatic arms of the Chinese government abroad. It queries whether the reliance on funding from undemocratic governments with poor human rights records is compromising academic standards and impartiality.

In a similar way the report raises questions about the public engagement function of the new Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and the Centre for the Study of Islam in the Modern World which has been established with Saudi funding at the University.

The report, A Degree of Influence, can be found on the Centre for Social Cohesion's website here - in full and summary form.

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