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Perry to Visit Middle East to Dedicate Texas A&M Engineering Facility

Location: Austin, TX

Perry to Visit Middle East to Dedicate Texas A&M Engineering Facility

Governor to Visit Unique Campus in Qatar, Pursue Economic Development Opportunities for Texas in the United Arab Emirates

Gov. Rick Perry today announced that he will travel to the Middle East where he will participate in the dedication of a new 500,000 square foot engineering facility in Education City located on the outskirts of Doha, Qatar as part of a unique, collaborative project involving the government of Qatar and Texas A&M University. While in the region, Perry will also discuss investment opportunities with private companies and government officials. He leaves Tuesday, March 13, and returns Wednesday, March 21, 2007.

The new TAMU facility, located on a 2,500 acre-site, emanates from a 10-year agreement signed in 2003 between the Qatar Foundation and Texas A&M to provide a full, 4-year degree program in mechanical, electrical, chemical and petroleum engineering. Texas A&M is one of five American universities with degree programs located at Qatar's Education City - a first-of-its-kind concept in the Middle East.

"Critical to creating opportunities at home and abroad is pursuing educational partnerships that can leverage the expertise and academic strengths of Texas institutions," said Perry. "Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) is an innovative approach to building trade ties in the energy and engineering fields that are vital to the Texas economy. The long-term stability of the Middle East and Asia is dependent upon educational opportunities and the building of peaceful relationships. I am proud Texas A&M is doing its part to expand education and trade ties around the world."

TAMUQ currently has about 180 students enrolled in its engineering programs, and about 1,000 applicants are seeking one of 60 spots in the next freshman class. The Education City concept is the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, the wife of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who invited various institutions offering premier programs in their chosen fields to participate.

Governor and Mrs. Perry will arrive in Qatar on Sunday, March 18, and depart early Wednesday morning on a return flight to Texas. During their visit to Qatar they plan to visit Texas combat troops, will attend a Dean's Investiture and Aggie Ring Presentation Reception at the A&M campus, and will participate in the engineering building dedication ceremony.

Prior to landing in Qatar, Gov. Perry will visit both Dubai and Abu Dhabi - two emirates in the the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) - where he will have a series of meetings to pursue economic development opportunities for Texas. Dubai is one of the largest investment capitals of the world. With only six percent of its economy tied to the oil industry, Dubai is booming with investment and new construction. Nearly 25 percent of the world's construction cranes are currently located in the nation. In Dubai, Gov. Perry will visit with Trident International Holdings, a leading real estate development company looking to make its first investment in the United States. Gov. Perry also expects to meet with business interests looking to build renewable energy projects in Texas, and will visit with officials of the Aga Khan Development Network concerning the building of an Ismaili Muslim Center in Houston.

Gov. Perry's schedule will include, but is not limited to, scheduled meetings with the following prominent officials in the region during his visit: Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, the wife of the emir of Qatar; U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Chase Untermeyer; the U.S. Consul General to the U.A.E. Paul Sutphin; and numerous other foreign dignitaries.

"Like previous governors, Governor Perry believes bringing economic development projects and new investment to Texas is a critical part of his job, and it is important for a governor, as the state's CEO, to personally meet with business and government leaders in order to create opportunity and prosperity," said Perry spokesman Robert Black. "Even during the critical 140 days of a legislative session, a governor has other duties and responsibilities that require attention. Governor Perry is proud to have the opportunity to commemorate a Texas university's historic education partnership abroad, pursue economic development opportunities, visit Texas soldiers and serve as a goodwill ambassador for Texas."

Texas One, the state's non-profit organization dedicated to business development, will pay for the governor and First Lady's travel to and from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

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