The opening ceremony for Oxford’s planned School of Government, to be funded by a £75 million donation from a American industrialist, took place on 20th September.Leonard Blavatnik, a Soviet-born American citizen who also has a home in Kensington, announced his intention to donate the sum earlier this year. The University will also contribute £26 million, and land in the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.This year’s Forbes World’s Billionaire’s List ranked Blavatnik 93rd, estimating his fortune at $7.5 billion. He is believed to be the sixth richest man in the United Kingdom.The source of the billionaire’s wealth has come under scrutiny among students at a time when universities are becoming increasingly reliant on large cash gifts from individual donors.Some have claimed that this is leading them to accept money from business tycoons regardless of their backgrounds. In 1996 the University accepted over £20 million from Wafic Said to establish the Said Business School, despite Said’s role in the notorious Al Yamamah arms deal.Leonard Blavatnik is the founder, Chairman and President of Access Industries, an international industrial group which holds investments in industries such as oil, coal, petrochemicals, plastics and real estate.He appeared in front of the High Court in 2008 when TNK-BK, a Russian oil company of which he is a partner, became embroiled in a $360 million tax dispute with BP.In June 2009 he sued investment bank JPMorgan Chase for losing $98 million of his money in toxic sub-prime mortgage investments. Earlier that year it was reported that ABN Amro, a Dutch bank owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, had given a £2.5 billion loan as part of the underwriting provided to Basell AF in its buyout of Lyondell. This was a part of a bigger loan funded by a consortium of banks. At the time, Basell was controlled by Access Industries. This move which was heavily criticised in light of the government bail-out of RBS. When asked about the source of donations to the University, a spokesman for Oxford said, “It is not for us to attempt to prove or disprove allegations as part of a scrutiny process: the University has neither the expertise nor the resources to carry out private investigations more properly conducted by civic institutions.“We are entitled to rely, and do rely, on the police, the courts, and other national and international regulators.”The annual Ross-CASE study, which measures the philanthropic performance of Higher Education and Further Education institutions, found that cash donation to British universities has risen by 18.8% in the past year, exceeding an annual total of £0.5 billion for the first time.There has also been a rise in the number of major cash gifts worth £500,000 or more. There have been 1655 in total this year, compared with just 119 two years ago. 22 institutions received a cash donation of £1m or more.Rod Schwartz, who lectures in social entrepreneurship at the Said Business School, commented, “On a general level we are quite open to the idea of bringing private sources of capital into the university arena. This can be very effective, especially given that we are in a fiscal crisis.“Having said that, it is essential for the long term survival and sustainability of universities that the capital is screened. Capital must come from sources that do not act against the independence or the ethical character of the university.”The School of Government will be the first of its kind in Europe, and will offer one-year Master’s degrees to “outstanding graduates” in the “skills and responsibilities of government”.There has been some criticism of the project, which has been described as a “finishing school for international statesmen”. Oxford claims that it will groom future statesmen in “a unique balance of the humanities, social sciences, law, science, technology, health, finance, energy and security policy”Lord Patten, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said, “This is a once-in-a-century opportunity for Oxford.“Through the Blavatnik benefaction, Oxford will now become the world’s leading centre for the training of future leaders in government and public policy.”The school is set to capitalise on Oxford’s history of educating politicians. 26 British Prime Ministers, including David Cameron, studied at Oxford. There are currently around 117 Oxford-educated Members of Parliament, and 140 Oxford graduates in the House of Lords.The School of Government, due to open in 2012 will have posts for 40 academic staff and offer places to 120 students.
Accra Great Olympics got their second win of the season after beating Inter Allies 1-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium in Week 6 of the Ghana Premier League.The ‘Dade Boys’ got a draw in their Week 5 tie at Sharks but they went one better when Philip Nii Kojo Sackey’s 28th minute proved the difference on the day. The defender was on hand to turn home a cutback from the right hand side to give Olympics all three points much to the delight of their fans who were at the stadium.In Tarkwa, Medeama left AshGold empty-handed after they beat the Obuasi-based side 1-0 at the Akoon Park. A Prince Opoku Agyemang penalty in the 66th minute settled the tie for the home side.Following Olympics and Medeama’s lead were Eleven Wonders who got themselves a 2-0 home win over Karela. Abdul Mugeese got two goals after striking home in the 51st and 72nd minutes.Aduana Stars needed an 86th minute goal from Pius Yeboah to get them a 1-1 draw at Berekum Chelsea in the Brong Ahafo clash. Berekum Chelsea had taken the lead in the 26th via a penalty from Stephen Amankona.King Faisal‘s wait for their first win of the season will continue into Week 7 after they drew 1-1 with Elmina Sharks. Kwame Peprah gave Faisal in the lead in the 47th minute but Alhaji Mustapha tied the score in the 70th minute.On Friday, Liberty Professionals got themselves a 2-1 at WAFA and Legon Cities registered their first victory after they beat Bechem United 1-0 at the Accra Sports Stadium.