Cosy US Relations Continue

US ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, has visited Durham University today as part of further collaborations with the states.


The ambassador’s visit comes after the annual conference of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, an organisation which aims to “erode the culturally rooted mistrust that sets nations against one another” through educational exchange.

Upholder of tweets and treaties.

This may come as a surprise to students who are aware of Durham’s prior involvement with the US to supposedly gather information on Iran.

WikiLeaks revealed that in 2008 Durham University received nearly £300,000 from the US State Department for projects that the US hoped would gather further intelligence on the country.

This led to Durham’s Iranian post-graduates fearing for their safety when returning home in case they were questioned by authorities.

Ayatollah Khamenei not giving a seminar.

In 2010, Durham University was also criticised for its use of foreign grants through a seminar held by a strong supporter of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The seminar, funded by a £5000 donation from the Iranian government, took place weeks after a Durham post-grad, Ehshad Abdo-Tabrizi, was arrested in Tehran for criticising the regime.

Sharne Procter: honoured.

Durham now hopes the ambassador’s visit will additionally strengthen contacts with America. Sharne Procter, Director of the International Office at Durham University, said: “We are really honoured to welcome the ambassador to the University as we are very proud to have such wide-ranging links with the US.”

Tight relations with America are being upheld despite the controversial nature of links in the past.