Monday, 15 August 2011

University attacked over Saudi links

Reported in today's Edinburgh Evening News is an attack on Edinburgh University's links with the Saudi royal family who have provided sponsorship to the tune of £5m over the last five years.  That figure is pocket money compared to the University's budget (expenditure 2009/10 £293.6m).  But the issue raised is whether oppressive regimes are buying influence through of sponsorship of reputable institutions, in a way which is harmful to democracy and human freedoms.

This issue has been raised before in this blog when concerns noted were in relation to the Confucius Institute hosted by the University as well as the Saudi links.  Articles discussing the issues are contained in the 2009 post.

Whilst dealings with unpleasant regimes may in some circumstances be inappropriate, searching questions need to be asked about whether the arrangement
  • allows undue political influence from undemocratic regimes
  • undermines the position of those suffering from oppression in the country concerned.

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