Aggies make history with Israel branch campus


Texas A&M to open branch in Israel

On Oct. 23, Gov. Rick Perry and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, announced plans for the opening of the branch of Texas A&M University at Nazareth – Peace Campus. It is the first comprehensive international university of the first class to open in the state of Israel.
The announcement was made at the residence of the President of Israel, Shimon Peres, along with the Israel Minister of Education, Shay Piron, Perry and Sharp. The signing ceremony also included other key education and administration officials who were key to making this vision a reality.
“This is a proud accomplishment that has been years in the making” said Sharp. “We are absolutely dedicated to making this one of the finest international universities in the world and open to all.”
The university will be constructed in Nazareth and funding for the construction will be provided entirely from private donations secured throughout the world. The student population of the university will be a combination of Arab, Jewish and international students. Similarly, the faculty will be drawn from Arab, Jewish, and international populations. The peaceful co-existence for the sake of education will be a hallmark of this university. In time, the school will offer undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs in a wide-range of academic disciplines.
“Texas A&M and Israel make a good fit, as communities built upon the values of family, commitment and tradition,” Perry said. “That’s reflected in the goals we’ve established for this university. We want to see the Nazareth branch as a means to preserving peace and building understanding between cultures. We want to see students and instructors from a diverse array of nationalities, faiths and backgrounds within its classrooms, each student learning more about the world and what bright possibilities lie ahead for all of us.”
Building on a vision expressed by the Governor, Israeli President and Minister of Education, Sharp — supported by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and Perry communicated a desire to pursue establishing a first class University in Nazareth dedicated to enhancing education access in a common learning environment. The Council for Higher Education and the Texas A&M System reached an agreement in principle Oct. 11, 2013 and signed an agreement to begin pursuing this opportunity on Oct. 23, 2013.
“Today is a day of celebration; it is the day on which we are establishing a branch campus of Texas A&M University, one of the world’s leading universities, here in Israel,” said Piron. “Education in a setting that accepts everyone equally is an essential tool for internal and regional peace. I am certain that this splendid institution will have the power to enhance the vision of peace and equality, and the founding of this institution is a giant step in that direction. I wish to congratulate all of our partners, especially our partners from Texas A&M, for taking part in this important vision.”
The signing statement regarding the establishment of Texas A&M University at Nazareth – Peace Campus can be found here: Film from the announcement ceremony in Israel will be provided by the Texas A&M University System Office of Marketing & Communications.

Rick Perry in Israel puts presidential talk aside, focuses on economic development

During Perry’s meetings with Israeli leaders, including Prime Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, “never once did anyone ask him what his plans were for 2016, nor did he bring it up,” said Fred Zeidman, a Houston businessman and Republican activist who accompanied Perry on his trip.
“I will tell you, through every meeting we sat through, it was 100 percent about promoting business for the state of Texas and the state of Israel,” Zeidman told
“A lot of this trip was geared for Rick to explore ways in which Texas could be helpful to developing the energy industry in Israel,” he said.
Perry attended a water technology conference and spoke about the mutual challenges Texas and Israel face in water management. He was also in Israel to announce the planned opening of Texas A&M University’s “Peace Campus” campus in Nazareth, which will serve the Israeli city’s Muslim, Christian, and Jewish populations.
Zeidman said Perry’s love for Israel is illustrated by the fact that in the 1990s, when he was the agriculture commissioner of Texas, he took money out of his own budget to ensure the survival of the Texas-Israel Exchange Program — which supports technology to be used in agriculture — when funding from the state was phased out.
Texas A&M, meanwhile, will be the first American university with a campus branch in Israel, an ideal situation for the Jewish state given the school’s excellence in the fields of engineering and computer science, Zeidman said.
“To have that campus in Israel, I think it’s going to be an incredible success, and I couldn’t be prouder of A&M for doing it, and I couldn’t be prouder of the governor for having supported it,” he said.

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