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.

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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