High cost of 'diplomacy'

September 24, 2009

After the furore surrounding MPs' expenses, it was with amazement that I read the news item about the use of university funds by Simon Lee, former vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, and his wife ("Auditors clear former v-c and wife's expenses", 17 September). In Ethiopia, where the majority of the population lives in poverty, I was appalled to read that Leeds Met found it appropriate for its "informal ambassador" to spend £265 per night on a hotel. Many tourist hotels there cost less than $50 (£31) per night and are owned by locals, too. I can't imagine that staying at exclusive (and no doubt internationally owned) hotels did anything to develop Anglo-Ethiopian relations.

Claire Moxham, VSO volunteer at Jimma University, Ethiopia, 2001-03.

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