Reporting from the Edinburgh Latin American Forum 2019

By Jonathan Ambrogi, on behalf of the Latin American Forum, sponsored by the GJA-GJA Innovative Initiative Fund.

The Principal giving the opening speech

On 4-5 February 2019, the 8th edition of the  Edinburgh Latin American Forum took place at the Informatics Forum and the Business School in Central Edinburgh. The event kicked-off at 10am with an opening speech of the University’s Principal, Professor Peter Mathieson, expressing his wish to keep strengthening the University’s ties with Latin America, which is one of the aims of the forum.The first session covered Water Security and featured an interesting speech by Dr. Castro arguing for a stronger role of the state in addressing hazards created by water scarcity. Representatives from Coventry University took a more scientific approach in explaining sustainable drainage in Brazilian slums. The Honduran Ambassador to the UK and Head of the Latin American Diplomatic Corp reassured the audience of the role his government was playing in reducing poverty and water scarcity for Honduras’ most vulnerable groups.

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Climate Change: Moving Beyond the Smoke Screen

GB Profile pictureIn this guest post, Geoffrey Buckley, Professor of Geography and Undergraduate Chair at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, reports on a recent departmental seminar on climate change, and the important issues that it raised for research and policy-making.

Dr. Judith Curry, professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, visited Ohio University in Athens, Ohio recently to discuss, in her words, the “state of the climate debate.” She was a guest of the George Washington Forum, a group that, according to its website, endeavours to bring “civic education and intellectual diversity” to campus. Curry, an outspoken critic of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), confirmed her reputation as a “climate heretic” early on in her presentation, stating: “It’s a name I’m proud to bear. I’m not telling anybody what to do; it’s the honest broker role.” Unfortunately, it’s a role that does not suit her.

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What Does It Mean To Be A Socially Responsible University?

A guest blog by Dave Gorman, Edinburgh University’s first Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability.

“I’ve got principles….and if you don’t like them well I’ve got other principles”
Groucho Marx

I love Groucho Marx, but he did once say that he wouldn’t want to be a member of a club that would allow him as a member, so we continue to work to improve our approach to make sure we stick to our principles, and I wanted to share some emerging thoughts on where we are heading.

The University’s own Strategic Plan calls for us all to help make a significant, sustainable and social contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world. We have been trying to do just that, publishing a Social Responsibility Strategy in 2010, a Climate Action Plan in 2010 and more recently undertaking a review of the University’s approach to socially responsible investment. We’ve also been thinking hard about how these issues should feed into the University’s approach to learning and teaching.

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Responsible Investment and Edinburgh University: Part 3

Edinburgh University has recently published a consultation paper on responsible investment and is seeking responses.

In the third and last of a series guest blogs on the subject, Tim Hayward of the School of Social and Political Science in Edinburgh, discusses the relationship between university investments and the creation of wealth.


Investment in Reality

To think about the fundamental principles that should guide a responsible investment policy it is helpful to get back to conceptual basics. So I shall start with a moment of philosophical reflection. » Read more

Responsible Investment and Edinburgh University

Edinburgh University has recently published a consultation paper on responsible investment and is seeking responses.

As part of a series of guest blogs on the subject, Tim Hayward of the School of Social and Political Science in Edinburgh, discusses the relationship between academic Freedom and Responsible Investment.




Why should a university be socially responsible?  A question thrown into relief by the current debate over universities’ investments concerns the social role of the university and the relation of that to its core academic activities.

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Fossil Fuel Divestment: Not Whether But When


by Tim Hayward

[Re-blogged from the Just World Institute’s blog.]

Divestment from fossil fuels is the focus of a campaign among students and other civil society groups that is gathering momentum – and faster, it seems, even than previous campaigns that targeted apartheid, tobacco and arms manufacturers.  Universities are among the institutions to come under particular pressure to withdraw their investments in funds that yield profits directly from fossil fuel exploitation.  But should they do so?

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University of Edinburgh Discontinues Investment in Company Manufacturing US Drone Components

An article in the Guardian newspaper on Sunday reports that the University of Edinburgh has ended its £1.2m investment in Ultra Electronics, a defence company based in England which manufactures components for US drones, on the basis that the investment is not ‘socially responsible’.

US drone

The report states that the decision was made following a campaign by the Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA), the student environmental group People and Planet and the human rights charity Reprieve. Ultra Electronics makes navigation controls for the US fleet of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, the use of which in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia has been criticised as violating international law. The report also notes that the University of Edinburgh was the first university in Europe to sign up to the UN principles of responsible investment.

The full article is available on the Guardian website