UK universities criticised for pursuit of Egyptian links

In a letter signed by more than 200 prominent academics, leading British universities have been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Egypt, including unanswered questions about the abduction and murder of Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni, in pursuit of opening campuses under the country’s authoritarian regime, writes Ben Quinn for The Guardian.

The letter writers also highlight wider concerns about academic freedom, the welfare of LGBT staff, and the trend towards what they say is a marketisation of higher education. The British government and the advocacy group Universities UK are promoting partnerships between British higher education institutions and their Egyptian counterparts. The British academics write in their protest letter: “We question the wisdom and legitimacy of this move to do business-as-usual with an authoritarian regime that systematically attacks research, education and academic freedom.”

Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International, said: “The troubling and unresolved murder of the Cambridge University research student Giulio Regeni has been raised on numerous occasions with various representatives of the Egyptian government, including the minister for higher education and Egyptian ambassador to the UK. The case was raised again during the recent delegation of UK university leaders to Egypt.”
Full report on The Guardian site