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Texas A&M University will close its campus in Qatar by 2028, ending a 21-year partnership with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, run by the Qatari government.
The A&M Board of Regents voted to shutter the campus in a 7-to-1 vote Thursday, citing regional instability in the Middle East and a desire to focus on the system’s stateside campuses.
The decision follows investigations by the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, which criticized the partnership for what it claimed were significant national security concerns regarding the ownership of military research conducted there. It also comes after two years of controversy surrounding academic restructuring at the campus.
A spokesperson for the Qatar Foundation decried the decision as “misguided” and “deeply disappointing.”
“The decision … has been influenced by a disinformation campaign aimed at harming the interests of [the Qatar Foundation],” the spokesperson wrote, referring to the research by the antisemitism institute. “It is disturbing that this disinformation has become the determining factor in the decision and that it has been allowed to override the core principles of education and knowledge, with no consideration to the significant positive impact that this partnership has brought for both Qatar and the U.S.”
Texas A&M Qatar is one of several U.S. branch campuses in what the Qatari government has dubbed Education City, on the outskirts of Doha. It’s also one of the oldest U.S. branch campuses in the region, founded in 2003.