LSE cancels UAE forum, citing curbs
Dubai, February 24, 2013
A top British university has cancelled a conference on the Arab Spring in the UAE, citing curbs imposed by the Gulf state, which has placed limits on foreign research groups in the past two years.
The UAE, a major oil exporter and regional business hub, has not seen the unrest that has ousted autocratic Arab rulers elsewhere, but analysts and diplomats say the US ally is anxious to prevent instability spreading to its turf.
In a statement emailed to Reuters, the London School of Economics (LSE) said it cancelled its gathering scheduled for February 24 "in response to restrictions imposed on the intellectual content of the event that threatened academic freedom."
No UAE official was available for comment.
LSE was due to co-host the forum with the American University of Sharjah (AUS). A statement by AUS, one of the UAE's leading universities, confirmed the conference had been cancelled.
It added: "The decision made by LSE cited restrictions on the intellectual content of the event that threatened academic freedom as the reason for the cancellation. AUS is unaware of any other information relating to the last minute cancellation." - Reuters