Benjamin Barber: Scholar for dollars? – Foreign Policy

Over the last couple of weeks there’s been increasing attention to the lavish support for research on “civil society” and democracy furnished by none other than Libya’s Gadaffi clan.  As it turns out, Benjamin Barber is among the scholars receiving substantial funding from the Gadaffi family — and unlike many others, he’s not apologetic.  Below is a link to an interview with Barber on the subject that appears in Foreign Policy.  And here’s a follow-up piece from Daniel Drezner: “Thoughts about IR scholars for dollars.”


As a longtime advisor to Saif al-Qaddafi, Benjamin Barber knows him just about as well as any Western intellectual. Barber — president of the CivWorld think tank, distinguished senior fellow at the Demos think tank, and author of Strong Democracy and Jihad vs. McWorld — was among a small group of democracy advocates and public intellectuals, including Joseph Nye, Anthony Giddens, Francis Fukuyama, and Robert Putnam, working under contract with the Monitor Group consulting firm to interact with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi on issues of democracy and civil society and to help his son Saif implement democratic reforms and author a more representative constitution for Libya. It’s all gone horribly wrong. But in this interview, Barber argues that his intentions were responsible, tries to understand Saif’s remarkable about-face, and worries for the future of Libya and the young man he knew well.

Interview here: “Understanding Libya’s Michael Corleone

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