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UNDP's Assistant to Palestinians Beat Rohr Lists Ph.D from Diploma Mill, Helen Clark Through Spokesman Dodges Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 26 -- To head UNDP's Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People, UNDP's Administrator Helen Clark recently named Mr. Beat Rohr of Switzerland, listing in her announcement his qualification that “Beat has.. a Ph.D in Management from the Pacific Western University in Los Angeles.”

  There is a problem: a simple Internet search shows that Pacific Western University in Los Angeles is a discredited diploma mill that changed its name to try to put the scandal behind it.

"Pacific Western University, prior to an ownership change, changing its name and becoming accredited, was the subject of criticism concerning its unaccredited nature and quality of its programs. In May 2004 the US Government Accountability Office presented the results of an eight-month examination titled "Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense" to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs"

Inner City Press on August 25 asked UNDP spokesman Stephane Dujarric

please confirm that this Ph.D [is] from the then- Brentwood-based (and since re-name, after scandal);

please provide UNDP's and Ms. Clark's comment on the information in the above link, that the institution was an unaccredited diploma mill; and

What due diligence does UNDP do, and did it do in this case?”

Dujarric asked for a day to produce an answer, and Inner City Press agreed and held off publication. But then Dujarric responded to the specific questions above with this statement:

Subject: Press questions re Beat Rohr and Pacific Western University, on deadline, thanks in advance
From: Stephane Dujarric [at]
To: Matthew Lee [at]
Date: Thu, Aug 26, 2010

Matthew, Below is my answer to your question. Please print in full.

Beat Rohr’s academic credentials and years of professional service with UNDP and other organizations including UNHCR and CARE go above and beyond the requirements for the post of head of UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People.”

Before publishing this non-responsive answer, Inner City Press asked again, adding “what do you say about the public reports about that university? What does Beat Rohr say? On what basis did he list this university, and what weight did UNDP give it?”

If and when UNDP, the UN, Ms. Clark or Mr. Rohr provide answers, they will be published.

Helen Clark & UN's Ban, PAPP & Beat Rohr' discredited Ph.D not shown

  For now, the public record shows that Ms. Clark's Special Representative to the Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People is listing a Ph.D from

Pacific Western University, prior to an ownership change, changing its name and becoming accredited, was the subject of criticism concerning its unaccredited nature and quality of its programs.

In May 2004 the US Government Accountability Office presented the results of an eight-month examination titled "Diploma Mills: Federal Employees Have Obtained Degrees from Diploma Mills and Other Unaccredited Schools, Some at Government Expense" to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs.[10] According to the report the investigation was conducted to determine whether the federal government had paid for, or governmental officials possessed, degrees from unaccredited schools. After the passage of the Homeland Security Act, Section 4107 of tile 5, U.S. Code was amended. After this act became law in 2002, the federal government could pay for the cost of academic degree training for federal employees only if the college or university providing that training was accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body. As the basis of the report, the GAO searched the Internet for nontraditional, unaccredited post-secondary schools that offered degrees that met their search criteria. Pacific Western University in Los Angeles was one of the unaccredited schools on which the GAO found online and mentioned in the report. Of these schools mentioned in the report, California Coast University and Pacific Western University - California, were California State Approved institutions[11][12] at the time this report was presented. Although unaccredited at the time, both of these Universities have gone on to gain national accreditation[13] since the report was originally submitted.

Later that year, investigative reporters from television station KVOA of Tucson, Arizona, stated that PWU was one of seven schools identified as diploma mills by the GAO report.[14][15] The station reported that Pima Community College in Tucson had reduced the salaries of two faculty members who previously had been paid at the Ph.D level based on their degrees from PWU.[14] In a subsequent clarification of the original article KVOA reported that one of the two professors contacted the station and disagreed that PWU was a diploma mill. The professor did not feel misled by Pacific Western, as the station reported, because the professor said it was approved by the California Department of Education to be an educational institution and to award degrees.[15]

Internationally, the media responded similarly to Pacific Western University and the GAO Report.[10][16][17] It was reported in the Irish Independent on 9 October 2005 that the Chief Science Advisor to the government of Ireland, Barry McSweeney, had been found to have advanced his career using a degree obtained from Pacific Western University.[18][19] The newspaper report stated that McSweeney had obtained his Ph.D. in biotechnology and biochemistry from PWU in 1994 after just 12 months of study. The article went on to say "There is no question that Mr McSweeney has anything other than a distinguished track record in business. He has a degree in biochemistry from UCC and a Masters degree in clinical biochemistry from TCD. He was also in charge of the Marie Curie Fellowships, an EU-wide programme which has been credited with helping more than 35,000 scientists develop their careers. Mr McSweeney has been widely praised for his role in expanding this programme." It further described PWU as having "no merit or standing in the academic world" and having been "the subject of numerous official investigations, state bans and media exposés" during its 28 years of operation.[18] McSweeney was forced to resign his position as a result although the article stated that McSweeney had made no attempt to conceal the details of his education and that he was "proud" of his doctorate and "stood over it" and that he considered PWU California to be a "respected" and recognized body." Mr McSweeny's spokesperson went on to add: "Barry stands over his doctorate.....He has a degree from UCC, significant life experience, and was the director-general of the Joint Research Institute. I can't believe you're writing this." [20] In Australia, a lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland was banned from using the title of "Doctor" after it was discovered that his Ph.D. had been obtained from Pacific Western University.

   And UNDP? Watch this site.

* * *

UNDP's Helen Clark Listed As VP of Socialist International, Until This Article

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- Why is Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Program, listed as a vice president of the Socialist International? It's a simple question, which Inner City Press posed in an article on June 21, here, and then to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky back on June 22:

Inner City Press: Helen Clark, UN system official, head of UNDP, is listed on the website of Socialist International, which is meeting here at the UN, as a vice-president of the organization. I’m just wondering, was, is there some kind of waiver given or is permissible for a UN system official to serve in such a capacity with an outside group?

Spokesperson Nesirky: I would ask you to ask UNDP.

Inner City Press: I think, there is a UN system, I mean, there’s UN rules that cover the whole system, so it’s not…

Spokesperson: But in the first instance…

Inner City Press: Right, okay.

Spokesperson: …ask UNDP.

  And so later on June 22, at a UNDP briefing about hydro power in Nepal, Inner City Press asked UNDP's seeming Number Two official Olav Kjorven. Before answering, he whispered back and forth with a UNDP communications officials. Then he said, “I am not prepared to answer, but we will get back to you.”

  After the briefing, the UNDP communications officials said to Inner City Press, you're known for this type of question. He then asked why Inner City Press didn't direct the question to Helen's people.

  But aren't you all Helen's people? Another UNDP communications official said, in the briefing room and later by voice mail, that Helen's people would get back to Inner City Press with an answer.

Helen Clark, role as Socialist International VP (and request for removal) not shown

Two full days later, there still was been no answer. Where were and are Helen's people? Watch this site.

Update: after preparation of this article, Inner City Press received an answer by asking, not UNDP again, but... Nesirky again. It is not clear why UNDP never responded to Inner City Press. Nesirky said that Helen Clark's role as Vice President of the Socialist International was only as prime minister of New Zealand.

  Nesirky said Socialist International has now been asked to remove her name from its web site. But SI has as VP a number of politicians out of power, meaning that removal from the VP board is not automatic. Did Helen Clark make the request when she took the UN job? Or only now?

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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