David Held, often described as an “informal academic adviser” to Saif Gaddafi, son of the fallen Libyan leader Mu’ammer Gaddafi, during his time at the LSE, will become chair of politics and international relations and master of University College at Durham University on 1 January.
Professor Held had been a co-director the LSE’s Global Governance research centre, which was shut on 31 July. The closure followed criticism of the LSE’s acceptance of a £1.5 million gift to the Global Governance centre from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation.
Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice, was asked by the LSE to investigate the decision to accept the donation and the institution’s other links to the Gaddafi regime, including allegations that Saif Gaddafi’s doctoral thesis was plagiarised. The findings of his report will not be made public until the University of London has published its own report into the plagiarism allegations.
After the decision to accept the gift, Saif Gaddafi gave the LSE’s Ralph Miliband Memorial Lecture in 2010. Introducing him, Professor Held said: “I’ve come to know Saif as someone who looks to democracy, civil society and deep liberal values for the core of his inspiration.”
A spokeswoman for the LSE, which denies that the Global Governance centre was shut because of the row over links to Libya, said of Professor Held’s move: “This is a personal decision made by Professor Held for academic reasons.”
Professor Held says in a statement issued by the LSE press office: “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 has previously said that his support for Saif Gaddafi “was always conditional on him resolving the dilemma that he faced in a progressive and democratic direction…He tragically, but fatefully, made the wrong judgement.”