Blair to Yale Academia – Politics & Religion

Comment at end

7th March, 2008

THE SUB-DIVIDED POLITICIAN

tblair_inusa.jpgWatch video of Tony Blair on his future on leaving No 10, eight months ago.

When I was a child my father used to say to me, in exasperation I suppose, “You’re a one. I’m glad there aren’t two of you”.

I wonder if Tony Blair’s dad ever wishes there were two of him; all the more to go round, and just possibly at a slower and less demanding pace. Some will question whether he is taking on too much, but it’s probably a walk in the park for this man. He will not a be a full time lecturer, by any means, but I have to admire his willingness, energy and ability to take on new diverse challenges. For most of us, one of his present jobs would fill a lifetime.

blairtennisastridenetmarch07.jpg

 

And striding several horses at once is hands-in-pockets time. So what’s another little task, or three!?

 

Then there are these three:

His yet to be launched Blair Faith Foundation for Religious Understanding. And then there might … just might be the EU Presidency looming. I also understand that he is attending the G2o in Japan at the end of this week on Climate Change. So if it’s a no-no for the Big EU job, look out for a newly created World Climate Czar post for Mr Blair, as suggested here a year and a half ago. Have you noticed it’s all gone terribly quiet on the climate issue?

The G20 meeting will look at ongoing discussions for a new treaty on fighting global warming once the Kyoto Protocol’s obligations end in 2012.

The meeting will be attended by energy and environment ministers from the Group of Eight — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States — and emerging economies such as Brazil, China and India.

Blair launched the G20 dialogue in 2005 when he hosted the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. This weekend will mark the fourth meeting of the initiative.

PLAYING BALL WITH TONY

tblair_football_oldtrafford_centre-thumb-225x301.jpg

    (Somehow the EU job is beginning to look less likely, unless all the others are happy to play ball with HIS timetable. On second thoughts, they just might be).

    As though he knows something the rest of us don’t, the former PM is taking up yet another post of high responsibility. Perhaps he knows that the EU job does not have his name on it after all. Perhaps he knows the Israeli/Palestine settlement will take a decade, as did Northern Ireland. Or perhaps he’s just keen to contribute something in areas in which he believes deeply; the power of politics and of religion.

    All good stuff for the hi-speed motorboat, as the French called him recently. He starts at Yale this autumn. I’m sure many would-be students are right now explaining to Mom & Dad why they want to drop their planned science/modern languages/medicine/economic degrees, in a rush to clamber onto the Blair motorboat … specialism.

    MR ‘PRIME MINISTER‘ BLAIR

    The Americans SO respect their politicians. The first thing Mr Blair will have to impart to those at Yale is that once you are no longer Prime Minister, you lose the title, unlike in the USA where Bill Clinton and others are still called “Mr President”. Or perhaps it’s we Brits that should change OUR habit.

    After all, to me, and to some of us here, Mr Blair still is THE Prime Minister.

    I LOVED this:


    Yale University’s Press Release

    Prime Minister Blair to Teach at Yale

    New Haven, Conn. — Yale University is pleased to announce the appointment of Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Howland Distinguished Fellow for the next academic year.

    Mr. Blair will lead a seminar at Yale and participate in a number of events around the campus. The course in which he will participate with Yale faculty will examine issues of faith and globalization. His efforts at Yale relate to the work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation that he will be launching later this year.

    The Deans of the Yale School of Management and Divinity are working with Mr. Blair on finalizing details of the program.

    The Howland Distinguished Fellowship was created in 1915 to recognize a “citizen of any country in recognition of some achievement of marked distinction in the field of literature or fine arts or the science of government.” Among those who have been Howland Distinguished Fellows in the last century are the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, journalist Sir Alistair Cooke and stateswoman Indira Gandhi.

    Yale President Richard C. Levin stated: “The appointment of Mr. Blair provides a tremendous opportunity for our students and our community. As the world continues to become increasingly inter-dependent, it is essential that we explore how religious values can be channeled toward reconciliation rather than polarization. Mr. Blair has demonstrated outstanding leadership in these areas and is especially qualified to bring his perspective to bear. We are honored that he is planning to join the Yale community.”

    Tony Blair continues to be active in public life. He has many interests, principally his Middle East role for the USA, UN, Russia and EU as the Quartet Representative, helping the Palestinians to prepare for statehood as part of the international community’s effort to secure peace. He will also be launching the Tony Blair Faith Foundation later in 2008. The foundation will promote understanding between the major faiths and increase understanding of the role of faith in the modern world.

    Mr. Blair served as Prime Minster of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.


     

    And the report here by The Guardian:

     

    Tony Blair is to take up a senior academic post in the autumn at one of America’s most prestigious universities teaching politics and religion.

    Yale confirmed yesterday he is to join the schools of management and divinity, at the campus in New Haven, Connecticut.

    He will combine his work at Yale with his duties as a special envoy to the Quartet, an international body committed to peace in the Middle East.

    He is to spend part of each month in London and part in New Haven.

    His work with the Quartet – which represents the United Nations, the US, the European Union and Russia – takes up about ten days a month. Sources close to Blair say that he is taking on an enormous work burden and will be tremendously over-committed in the coming year.

    The deans of the Yale schools of management and divinity are in discussion with Blair about how much time he will spend at the university.

    Professor Richard Levin, president of Yale, said: “The appointment of Mr. Blair provides a tremendous opportunity for our students and our community. As the world continues to become increasingly inter-dependent, it is essential that we explore how religious values can be channeled toward reconciliation rather than polarisation.”

    He added: “Mr Blair has demonstrated outstanding leadership in these areas and is especially qualified to bring his perspective to bear. We are honoured that he is planning to join the Yale community.”

    Blair and his then chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, sounded out the London School of Economics in 2006 about setting up a school of government but backed off after resistance from staff and students over his role in the Iraq war.

    Blair’s close links with President George Bush and his support for the 2003 Iraq invasion are less controversial in the US than in Britain.

    Yale has strong ties with Bush and his father, both graduates. Blair’s son Euan is an undergraduate at the university.

    Blair, who is in the US and is due to return to the UK next week, saw Bush in Washington on Tuesday.

    Yale had not been planning to announce his new post until later this year but brought forward a statement after being contacted by the Guardian.

    His decision to teach religion as well as politics confirms how important his Christianity was during his years in Downing Street. Fearful that it could turn off some voters, he played it down in the run-up to the 1997 general election and the early years of his premiership.

    He is to set up a Blair Faith Foundation, based in London, before heading to the US for the autumn term. The foundation is intended to promote understanding between Christianity, Judaism and Islam, and look at the role of religion in the modern world.
    The new body was inspired by the Clinton Foundation, which raises money for the developing world.

    Yale said that he will teach a seminar and be involved in other events round the campus, all related to examining issues of faith and globalisation related to his Faith Foundation. While at Downing Street, he read the Koran to try to better understand the Muslim world in the aftermath of 9/11.

    His post at Yale is the Howland Distinguished Fellowship, created in 1915 for a “citizen of any country in recognition of some achievement of marked distinction in the field of literature or fine arts or the science of government.” Among those who have been Howland Distinguished Fellows are the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, journalist Sir Alistair Cooke and stateswoman Indira Gandhi.




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    9 Responses to “Blair to Yale Academia – Politics & Religion”

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    7. Barrie Singleton Says:

      Blair had charisma, oratory, ambition and a messianic vision. He would have been a wonderful gift to Shakespeare but not to the world.

    8. keeptonyblairforpm Says:

      Barrie,

      Co-incidental that many powerful Shakesperian characters were flawed heroes? On the other hand the only place we get “perfect heroes” are in Greek mythology and modern comic strip characters.

      Given the choice between your chosen words for Blair and the uncharismatic, tongue-tied, boringly jobbing politician with a narrow focus, give me your Blair description any day.

      Time will tell. You may be right. In which case there may well be a future Shakespeare working on a tale or two right now.

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      […] then started a Faith Foundation (presently recruiting, Mr Snow) and a Sports Foundation, took up a professorship at Yale on Religion & Globalisation, is also an adviser to at least two international companies,  JP […]

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