A BM reader wonders out loud why a series of lectures hosted by the prestigious European Institute for Asia Studies now seems mysteriously to be run by a completely new body.

The EIAS think tank, in association with the Harvard Society, the Cambridge Society and Oxford society, began the lecture series last year under the auspices of renowned development guru Professor Amartya Sen.

An invitation to the next in the series, with the esteemed Lord Browne - soon to be ex-Chair of BP - was sent curiously on a Saturday, and not from the erstwhile hosts.

Instead, it came from an unknown bunch called the Asia Institute Europe, a new think tank so fresh it has no perceptible web presence bar the homepage of the new-look Sen lectures themselves, and a couple of articles by AIE's CEO Willem van der Geest.

But wait, is this the Willem van der Geest who, at least until very recently, was Director of EIAS?

Our reader hopes and trusts that a man of Mr van der Geest's profile will have made sure that his departure, seemingly to set up this new competing think tank, was entirely above board and that there's no question of him having cheekily plundered EIAS' mailing lists one quiet March weekend ...

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