The Pears Foundation is the charity of the Pears family, principally brothers Mark Pears, David Pears and Trevor Pears, who runs the foundation. The family are worth £2.1 billion according to the Sunday Times Rich List in 2014 and among other assets control the William Pears Group, one of Britain's biggest property companies.
Together with the British Council in Israel the Pears Foundation established the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX) in 2008, which it describes as 'a major initiative launched by the Prime Ministers of both countries'.. According to Professor David Newman of Ben Gurion University, who was involved in planning the program, it 'has a great deal to do with the boycott' movement against Israel:
- 'Because of the ongoing discussion of boycotts the British government decided that the most appropriate response was to strengthen research ties'.
UK-Israel Life Sciences Council
In 2010, the Pears Foundation, along with the Zabludowicz Trust and other bodies, supported the creation of the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, described as an 'ambitious expansion of the BIRAX scheme'. British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould noted: 'The British Government is opposed to boycotts of Israel, and this Council is an expression of that'. Trevor Pears reportedly attended the launch meeting.
Israel Studies at British Universities
Pears Foundation says it is 'building the capacity of Israel Studies as an academic discipline in British universities'. Its funding has helped to establish academic posts in the field at the University of Manchester, the University of Leeds, Sussex University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where the European Association of Israel Studies, also created with 'start up funding' from Pears, is based.
Olive Tree Initiative and Center for New Diplomacy
Pears is a 'core funder' of the Olive Tree Initiative, which it says works with students to promote conflict analysis and resolution through experiential education.
It also financially supports the Center for New Diplomacy 'on the ground in Israel', describing it as 'a non-partisan initiative which facilitates in-depth study trips to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories'. Both projects, it states, 'enable participants to develop a more informed perspective on the region'.
- Kasmira Jefford, Mysterious Pears dynasty backs new venture to build £1bn of London homes, City AM, 27 March 2014
- James Quinn, Pears family comes out of the property shadows, Daily Telegraph, 12 June 2011
- Israel as a Global Citizen, Pears Foundation, accessed 13 April 2015
- Waldoks, E.Z. (2008), Olmert Brown launch new academic exchange program, The Jerusalem Post, 21-July-2008
- Ben Gurion University New UK-Israel Council to Forge Strong Ties in Life Sciences 26 January 2011.