Is That DGLIR Brown?

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is headed for a position at New York University. Well, sort of. According to an article by Lisa Foderaro in the New York Times:

Mr. Brown, the university announced, has been named N.Y.U.’s inaugural “distinguished global leader in residence.” Still a member of Parliament, he will bring the cachet and credentials that go with being a former chief executive of Britain to a university on an ambitious global mission, with a new liberal arts campus in Abu Dhabi and study-away sites on five continents.

Mr. Brown, 59, will not teach courses and will not be paid, N.Y.U. officials said. But he will spend two weeks a year at the university’s New York campus, as well as a week in Abu Dhabi and a week at one of 12 study-abroad sites, participating in public events like those held on Tuesday. Mr. Brown will also meet with students in more intimate forums and lead a colloquium on global civil society.

So he’s just there to hang out?

Basically that’s it exactly. He’ll apparently be spending a lot of time on the university’s “meet and greet” component and virtually no time on teaching and research; he’ll be attending a lot of receptions, meetings, and conferences on several continents.

He’s not the first retired British Prime Minister to occupy a sort of ambiguous, low impact position at an American college. From 1994 to 2000 Margaret Thatcher occupied a largely honorary position as chancellor of the College of William and Mary.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer