This note arrived today as a response to Mr Turner's letter
Dear Mr Turner,
Your e-mail circular has been forwarded to me and I am replying on behalf of the CBRL. I would like to correct some misconceptions apparent in your e-mail.
The CBRL has no plan or intention to close the Kenyon Institute.
The CBRL is one of the British Academy' s Schools and Institutes. It's headquarters are in London at the British Academy and it is managed by a council elected by its members and drawn from leading UK-based academics from a variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Details are available on our web site. The CBRL is accountable to the British Academy, the Charity Commission and its members.
The CBRL has two institutes in the Levant-at Amman and Jerusalem. The regional director is located in Amman and we are fortunate in having a fine director in Professor Bill Finlayson in whom the Council has full confidence.
In the first years after the CBRL was created in the late 1990s from the merger of the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (BSAJ) and the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History the CBRL Council came under considerable pressure to close down the former BSAJ. The Council resisted this, initially appointing a research officer to support UK-based research in the area, and subsequently moving into the BSAJ building to rescue it from imminent bankruptcy and closure. Since then the CBRL has pursued a policy of building up the Kenyon Institute (renaming the building in honour of one of its best known directors) in extremely difficult circumstances to fulfil its function of supporting British or UK-based scholarship in the humanities and social sciences in the region. Much effort has been expended on repairing the long-neglected fabric of the building, and increasingly senior figures have been appointed by CBRL as its Directors. We have devoted a great deal of time in
the last three years to try to secure additional funding for the Kenyon. Last year we were able to persuade the British Academy and the FCO to allocate substantial funds which we have used on a major refurbishment of the library and other facilities at the Kenyon, further supported by the Barakat and al-Tajir. We have asked the new director to come up with ideas for the continuing development of the Kenyon as a basis for new fund raising efforts.
The appointment of the new director was not made in secret. The previous director unexpectedly resigned at short notice to give himself greater time for research and the Council in London decided to transfer to Jerusalem the outstandingly good assistant director in Amman who knew the Kenyon well. We are delighted that she agreed to the move. Before arranging this we consulted the British Academy and two University HR departments to ensure that we were following the right procedures. We, of course, advertised the vacancy created by her transfer.
Research in the Levant is varied and flourishing and the CBRL is continuing to support it via grants to scholars studying at both institutes. The brief given to the Directors of the Kenyon Institute by the CBRL Committee has included the need to develop both an active research profile within the British Academy framework, and to develop a higher local profile. We have been very pleased that as the building works programme has moved forward, this academic brief has also been met, most recently and very successfully by Dr Yuri Stoyanov. This continues this year when we have a number of British scholars residing at the Kenyon who are conducting research on a variety of subjects and the new director is currently arranging the annual programme of lectures for 2008/09.
I regret that the misconceptions evident in your e-mail are being spread around, without anyone consulting us on the facts.
Dr Noel Brehony
Jim West, ThD
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