Robert O'Brien announces BYU Jerusalem Center scholarship during visit with Israel president

Robert C. O’Brien, former U.S. national security adviser, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City, Feb. 12. He announced a BYU scholarship while visiting

Robert C. O’Brien, former U.S. national security adviser, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City, Feb. 12. He announced a BYU scholarship while visiting (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Former national security adviser Robert O'Brien announced a new annual scholarship to the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center this week during a meeting with Israel President Isaac Herzog.

O'Brien, who served as Donald Trump's senior foreign policy adviser from 2019 to 2021, and is expected to play a role in a potential future Trump administration, also met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and former Israel national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat.

O'Brien and Ben Shabbat were two of the "architects" behind the historic Abraham Accords agreement in 2020, which formally normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and several other predominantly Muslim nations. At the time, Netanyahu called the accomplishment "a new dawn of peace."

In the months since the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre of Israelis by Hamas terrorists, O'Brien has been an outspoken defender of Israel as it has waged war in Gaza.

O'Brien told the New York Times he made the visit to Israel as a "private citizen." His meetings were also attended by two other former ambassadors from the Trump administration, John Rakolta and Ed McMullen, the New York Times reported.

The Robert and Lo-Mari O'Brien scholarship, named after himself and his wife, will be extended to one student each year through his geopolitical consulting firm, American Global Strategies, O'Brien said.

"This scholarship is meant to show support for our Jewish brothers and sisters through the beautiful center in Jerusalem," O'Brien said in an interview with the Deseret News. "Lo-Mari and I hope it will help to increase understanding between our two countries by bringing BYU students to the Holy Land."

O'Brien briefly attended BYU before deciding to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After a career in international law with several presidential appointments over the years, he was brought into the Trump administration, first as the president's special envoy for hostage affairs from 2018 to 2019, and then as national security adviser.

O'Brien currently lives in Utah. His name has been floated as a possible vice presidential pick for Trump's 2024 bid for the White House.

Most recent Education stories

Related topics

BusinessUtahEducationUtah County
Brigham Tomco
Brigham Tomco covers Utah’s congressional delegation for the national politics team at the Deseret News. A Utah native, Brigham studied journalism and philosophy at Brigham Young University. He enjoys podcasts, historical nonfiction and going to the park with his wife and two boys.


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast