Former LSE academic linked to Gaddafi’s son made new Castle Master


Former LSE academic David Held, who held close ties with Saif-al-Islam Gaddafi, has been announced as the new Master of Castle.

In a statement Held said: “I will be taking up the positions of master of University College and chair of politics and international relations at the University of Durham from January.

“This move is being made for academic reasons and I look forward to the new avenues of research that this role will bring. I have many links to LSE which will be maintained in the years ahead.”

Professor Held was an academic adviser to the toppled dictator’s son when he studied at LSE, and was caught up in the scandal earlier this year which forced LSE’s director Howard Davies to resign.

Often described as an “informal academic adviser” of Saif Gaddafi, Held  is leaving LSE ahead of a report into the scandal.

Professor Graham Towl, Deputy Warden of Durham University, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Professor David Held as Master of University College.

“Professor Held was selected from a very strong field of candidates from across the world following a rigorous interview process and is joining Durham from another leading institution, the LSE.

“He has a particular passion for education at undergraduate and postgraduate level and also brings both entrepreneurial experience, for example in modern academic publishing, and a wealth of management skills which will prove invaluable in his role as Master.

However, Castle Senior Man Christopher Winterhoff was critical of how students were consulted on the issue.

He said: “There is a general dissatisfaction, not just at Castle but throughout other colleges, as to how the University communicates with its students and their representatives concerning matters such as (but not limited to) the appointment of Heads of College.

“On my request concerning any information regarding the selection process or the current stage of the selection, I was greeted with a short and inconclusive answer.

“It seems as though the students who are the main stakeholders in the appointment of the Head of College position are being ignored in the process.”

Held had been a co-director the LSE’s Global Governance research centre, which was shut down earlier this year after heavy criticms of LSE’s acceptance of a £1.5 million gift to the Global Governance ­centre from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.

Former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf has been commissioned by the LSE to investigate the decision to accept the donation. He is also to look into allegations that Saif Gad­dafi’s doctoral thesis was plagiarised.

Held replaces Maurice Tucker, a firm favourite among students at the college.

More to follow.

6 thoughts on “Former LSE academic linked to Gaddafi’s son made new Castle Master

  • If people want to see what the new master of Castle looks like, here he is in a Youtube video

  • .. “selected from a very strong field of candidates” . Why oh why then select this man who is so clearly tainted.

    Is the University hoping he will bring in more Libyan money? This appointment will certainly concern alumni who may consider reviewing their donations to the University.

    Has the reputation of the University deteriorated to such a degree that it is only able to attract a man like this to this prestigious post.Why if thepost was offered in July did it take until November to make the announcement ?

    Lots of questions , answers needed

    Prof Towl may be delighted but many others are not.

  • According to Wikipedia, this gentleman is credited with “assisting” Saif Al Islam Gaddafi on his PhD thesis. Earlier this year, the BBC and Channel 4 reported that the thesis not only contained plagiarism but other individuals were paid to write sections of it. Regardless of how upsetting it is that DU have employed a man with such close connections to Saif, his lack of judgement with regards to academic standards is also hugely concerning. It takes about 10 minutes to google him and read any number of articles that would cause concern to most potential employers. Clearly the DU panel involved with the rigorous interview process have different standards to us mere mortals or perhaps they don’t know how to use the internet. Or maybe, just maybe, despite the fact they interviewed a “very strong field of candidates from across the world” there really weren’t any better candidates for this role.

  • One should not be surprised by this appointment. After all the outgoing Castle Master, Prof Maurice Tucker was also funded by the Gadaffi regime to the extent that he was invited to visit Libya by the Gadaffi regime just days before the civil war started. I very much doubt that Libyan money will be heading to Durham since the Libyan Transitional Council now in control has made it clear that it will steer away from any person/organisation that had a connection with the Gadaffi regime. When will Durham Univeristy learn that in the long run it is best to keep away from these noxious regimes?

  • In light of what has been said about how Saif al Islam was awarded his PhD, shouldn’t Durham Univeristy investigate how certain PhDs were awarded to Libyan students here in Durham? Were these theses of the required PhD standard or were they written using the same methods used in Saif Al Islam thesis? Informed sources clain that the latter is the case. Will Durham university invreacestigate?


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