June 20, 2024

The dangers of Qatar’s ties to U.S. education

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by The Philos Project

The dangers of Qatar’s ties to U.S. education should raise alarm amongst those who value Western security and values.

The dangers of Qatar’s ties to U.S. education

Qatar, officially a United States ally, has played a complicated game with the US since at least 1992. It maintains American forces but also gives Hamas $1.8 billion in addition to sheltering its top officials. The state’s recent financial investments in American schools and universities should raise concerns and inform how we view the crisis in American higher education.

Here are the dangers of Qatar’s ties to U.S. education:

Texas A&M University

In recent years, Qatar arranged a concerning partnership with Texas A&M, one of the world’s best schools for nuclear science.

Through the partnership, Qatar:

  • Secured ownership of over 500 research projects, mostly in highly sensitive fields such as nuclear science, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, biotech robotics, and weapons development.
  • Opened a Texas A&M campus in Doha, securing Qatar 100% of the intellectual property generated at the location with an official strategic plan stating the university will “perform research that is relevant to and needed by the State of Qatar, its government agencies, industries, and companies.” The university campus also signed an agreement to develop projects with a subsidiary of Qatar’s largest arms manufacturer.

Why Qatar’s influence matters

The main Texas A&M campus has contracts related to the maintenance of American nuclear weapons. This could pose a security risk because, according to reports, there are unsecured communications and data systems between them and Texas A&M Qatar (TAMUQ). Additionally, Qatar openly leverages TAMUQ for its military development.

Given Qatar’s open relationship with Iran, the Iranian regime could infiltrate the campus systems or resources and extract information to benefit their military programs. In response to recent backlash, Texas A&M has promised to close the Doha campus by 2028, but that does not alter the intellectual property agreements.

Qatar is also influencing K-12 schools

Early in 2024, a public school in NYC displayed a Middle East map that had erased Israel and replaced it with “Palestine.”  The map appeared as part of an “Arab Culture Arts” curriculum financed by Qatar Foundation International, a philanthropic group supported by the country’s ruling class.

From 2019-2022, the organization donated over $1 Million to the New York City Department of Education, nearly doubling its contributions in 2022. Though a $1 Million donation constitutes a small fraction of the NYC DOE budget, it apparently entails enough curriculum influence to literally wipe Israel off the map in America’s largest school system.

Qatar funding linked to rising antisemitism on campuses

Recent research from the Network Contagion Research Institute found at least 200 American universities illegally withheld information about approximately $13 billion in Qatari contributions.

According to the report:

  • From 2015–2020, institutions that accepted money from Middle Eastern donors had, on average, 300% more antisemitic incidents than those institutions that did not.
  • From 2015–2020, institutions that accepted undisclosed funds from authoritarian donors had, on average, 250% more antisemitic incidents than those institutions that did not.

Overall, the report found:

“a massive influx of foreign, concealed donations to American institutions of higher learning, much of it from authoritarian regimes with notable support from Middle Eastern sources, reflects or supports heightened levels of intolerance towards Jews, open inquiry and free expression.”

Given Qatar’s close ties to Iran and Hamas, turning American youth against Israel and the Jewish state could help them undermine the historic alliance between America and Israel, endangering the security of Israel and opening doors for Iran’s expansionism.

While Qatari and other foreign actors’ influence is a security and social risk, it does not account for all the problems facing Western higher education. The West has become susceptible to subversive influences because we have neglected our foundation in the Hebraic Tradition.

The solution is reconnecting the West to its Judeo-Christian values found in the Near East.


Join our movement of Christian leaders reviving Hebraic Tradition in the West.

Learn more about the dangers of Qatar’s ties to U.S. education and read from Liza Ashley, Philos’ Charles Malik Institute Director, in the Times of Israel.