General McChrystal to lecture on leadership at Yale institute
Tuesday 17 August 2010
Their new lecturer is certainly an expert in the fields of leadership and international affairs, but students at Yale University may want to think twice before taking advice from him in the delicate art of modern public relations.
General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of US forces in Afghanistan who was fired in June after an ill-advised interview with Rolling Stone magazine, has been hired as a senior fellow at the Ivy League college's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.
From next month, General McChrystal will teach seminars to graduate students enrolled on a master's degree in International Relations. His specialist subject: how globalisation has increased the complexity of modern leadership.
Rubbing shoulders with him in the faculty office will be a lofty (and highly paid) collection of "experts in global affairs" including John Negroponte, the one-time US ambassador and deputy Secretary of State, the former Mexican president, Ernesto Zedillo, and Britain's own Tony Blair.
"General McChrystal brings a wealth of experience in international affairs that will be of tremendous value to our students," said James Levinsohn, the institute's director. "His leadership exemplifies exactly what the Jackson Institute is all about: integrating outstanding practitioners right into the academic curriculum."
Barack Obama might take issue with that assessment, of course. The US President sacked General McChrystal after Rolling Stone's profile, titled "The Runaway General", revealed that he was in the habit of making dismissive remarks about his civilian superiors, including the Vice-President, Joe Biden. McChrystal's aides were quoted in the article calling Obama's national security advisor Jim Jones "a clown", and saying that the General – whose favourite drink is a cheap lager called Bud Light Lime – had found the President surly and unresponsive at their first meeting. McChrystal, who spent 34 years in the army, said in a statement that he was "extremely excited to be teaching at Yale".
Whether his students will be quite so excited at the addition of another celebrity to their teaching roster remains to be seen. After Mr Blair accepted a position to lecture on "faith and globalisation" at the Jackson Institute – which was founded last year, thanks to a $50m (£32m) donation from John W Jackson, the former chief executive of the pharma company Celgene – students delivered a withering assessment of his teaching prowess. "Remember, just because someone is famous, he is not necessarily a good professor," wrote one on an internet forum. "Just ask the people who have had classes with Tony (Zzz...) Blair."
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