Plan for 'peace university' to unite Israelis and Palestinians dropped

Local officials wanted too much control over academic programmes at Nazareth branch campus, says Texas A&M

December 15, 2015
Muslim cupola and Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel
Muslim cupola and Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel. Source: iStock

A US higher education institution has scrapped its plan for a “peace university” bringing Israelis and Palestinians together in Nazareth.

Texas A&M University announced proposals for the branch campus two years ago, choosing the northern Israeli city which has a large Palestinian population as the location.

But now it has dropped the idea, saying that Israeli officials wanted too much control over the campus’s curricula.

John Sharp, Texas A&M’s chancellor, said it was “too dangerous” to surrender control of academic programmes.

“We can’t put Texas A&M out there and not call all of the academic shots,” he told a news conference, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The peace university had been envisaged as a full campus offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes, uniting people from different backgrounds in the pursuit of knowledge.

Texas A&M has instead agreed to build a marine research centre on Israel’s Mediterranean coast in partnership with the University of Haifa.

This will allow for researchers to compare the environments of the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico, Texas A&M said.

Texas A&M also has a campus in Qatar, as part of Doha’s “Education City”.

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