University of St Andrews to review Syria funding arrangement

The university will review the work of one of its academic research centres.

Updated: Apr 28, 2011, 15:30 PM IST

London: The University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the United Kingdom, has decided to review the work of one of its academic research centres because its funding was arranged by the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

According to The Guardian, the university has received over GBP 100,000 in funding for its centre for Syrian studies with the assistance of Syria’s Ambassador to the UK, Sami Khiyami.

“In view of significant international concerns about recent events in Syria, the university would be reviewing the centre’s work to ensure its high academic standards are maintained,” a spokesman for the university said.

The centre was opened in November 2006 as part of the university’s school of international relations.

The latest embarrassing disclosure follows the row that engulfed the London School of Economics over its links with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Meanwhile, Robert Halfon, a British Conservative politician, has called for an inquiry into universities’ links with the controversial Middle East regimes.

“We need to learn from what`s happened with Libyan funding of our universities, that universities should not accept money from governments like Syria, or those with connections to the Syrian government,” Halfon said.

“The danger is that you get compromised by the amount of money, and it inevitably influences your outlook on the Middle East. I’ve argued that universities that take money from dictatorships should receive a reduction in their public subsidy,” he added.