How A&M May Get to Israel

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

Texas A&M University's plans for an Israeli campus could have been thwarted by Israeli law, if not for the work of a four member team of university experts.

Israeli law prohibits the state from recognizing outside universities, but Israel may make an exception for Texas A&M.

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp sent a team of experts to get the job done. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, James Hallmark, Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson, Vice Chancellor for Federal and State Relations, Guy Diedrich, and Envoy to the Chancellor, Peter Tarlow worked together to pull off what some thought to be impossible.

The team did their job. In the end, A&M and Israel agreed on a memo of understanding, or agreement to move forward and work out the details.

Dr. Tarlow, is an Aggie with two PhDs, speaks six different languages and understands the Israeli culture. He said it was a team effort to get this far, but he found a little influence goes a long way too.

"I had became friends with the mother of the minister of education," said Tarlow.

Tarlow eventually asked her to put in a good word for the team with her son, Shai Pirone.

"And she said, not to worry. I'll make sure that Shi knows how important you are," said Tarlow.

On another occasion, Tarlow spoke with a woman who works closely with the CEO of the Council of Higher Education in Israel.

"And she said to me, I was born in Bryan, Texas," said Tarlow.

Tarlow knew the family well.

"I helped her father do his PhD dissertation," said Tarlow.

Provost and Executive Vice President, Karan Watson, another member of the Israeli team said while the campus in Israel isn't a done deal, they hope to see things move along quickly.

"If everything goes the way we hope, we could have students there in a couple of years," said Watson.

Watson said the Israeli campus will help A&M be a global presence.

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