- University Life
Every living being needs water. Yet from California to the Middle East, communities are confronted with the many challenges of water-related stress, as they pursue their domestic, agricultural and industrial priorities. By 2025, according to the United Nations, two thirds of the world’s population could experience water stress. Meeting these challenges requires a multifaceted approach comprising both governance and technological innovation.
A technological hub, Israel recycles about 70% of its water, converts seawater into drinking water, and grows food in the desert, drawing on innovative desalination and wastewater recycling technologies. Though there may be much that separates Israelis and Palestinians, water is one domain where there is significant cooperation between them, from government to civil society. Continued reflection is required to ensure that such cooperation contributes to transforming rather than reproducing the conflictual relationship between them.
This one-day conference was an opportunity for participants to learn about and reflect on diverse Israeli approaches to water management, innovation and cooperation, in the Middle East and globally. Bringing together environmental practitioners, engineers and scientists, business innovators, investors, academics and other stakeholders, this conference explored the ways in which water-related innovation and cooperation can support peacemaking rather than perpetuate conflict in the Middle East.
The conference was inspired by the work of a student team from the Global Environmental Politics Program in the School of International Service, who last summer immersed themselves in studying the collective human response to serious transboundary water issues facing Israel and Palestine. In partnership with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and the Palestinian Wastewater Engineers Group (PWEG), the students interviewed Palestinians and Israelis, composed an impressive report and shared their insightful findings in 2013. It was clear to those who heard them that their report,and the issues they raised therein, deserved a much wider audience and forum for ongoing deliberation.
Embassy of Israel: Anat Katz and Haim Haviv
Greenberg Traurig LLC: Meital Stavinsky
Israel Cleantech Ventures: Jack Levy and Ariella Grinberg
Maryland/Israel Development Center: Barry Bogage
Sullivan and Worcester: Leonard Miller & Jeffery Karp
Virginia Israel Advisory Board (Office of the Governor):
Professor Richard Linowes
Liran (Lee) Shriki
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Richard* and Lois England (*deceased)