Blair to teach at Yale for three years

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair may have been treated like a celebrity when he visited campus last weekend, but to Elis, he will soon become a fixture on campus — and not just this fall.

When the University announced in March that Blair would teach a seminar in the fall semester on faith and globalization, officials suggested Blair would be on campus only for this year. But as part of a previously undisclosed agreement, Blair actually plans to teach at Yale for the next three years, his spokesman told the News this week.

In teaching his course, Blair wants to be “just another member of the teaching staff,” said Matthew Doyle, the spokesman.

“It’s something different for him,” Doyle said. “He’s looking forward to it.”

Blair’s course — to be offered through the Divinity School and School of Management — aligns with the work of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which formally launched on Friday at a ceremony in New York City. In a speech at the launch, Blair said the course fits into the first aim of his new foundation: to educate.

“The idea,” Blair said, “is to create a course which, over time, can become an enduring part of Yale’s teaching; can be spun off to other universities in different parts of the globe; can stimulate original research and be a resource for those working in this field.”

The former prime minister will teach the class — to be offered each of the next three fall semesters — with Divinity School Professor Miroslav Volf. Blair is expected to attend roughly every other class meeting, Doyle said.

Officially, no other details have been released about Blair’s class, and while Yale Director of Public Affairs Helaine Klasky confirmed the three-year arrangement, she said she did not have further details.

Admission to the seminar is expected to come through a competitive process, as with the Studies in Grand Strategy program, administrators said earlier this semester. Meanwhile, the class is tentatively planned to be open to students in the graduate and professional schools as well as Yale College.

Blair, 55, served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 until last June. Following his departure from Downing Street, Blair has taken up work as an envoy to the Middle East and as a consultant to several financial companies.

The former prime minister visited the Elm City last weekend to deliver a largely apolitical Class Day address on Sunday, amid a throng of silent anti-war protesters, and watch his eldest son, Euan Blair GRD ’08, graduate with a master’s degree in international relations.

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