Conference Organizers Conference Organizers

About the Conference

The severe water crises facing areas of the Middle East and Africa have significant implications for the health, welfare and security of the regions’ people. Today, issues related to water availability and quality – including food security, sanitation and health, and economic development – have become both more complex and critical to address in these parts of the world. In this context, the resource can be both a source of cooperation and conflict among and within communities and nations.

The international conference Water in the Middle East & Africa: A Nexus of Cooperation and Conflict will provide a forum for scholars and experts to discuss the challenges linked to water resources facing these areas. The speakers will share innovative technology and policy solutions being developed and implemented in the regions that tackle problems at the local, national, and trans-national levels.

The UCLA conference is also a unique opportunity to compare water issues facing these regions and other parts of the world, including California, which confront similar challenges - from drought, water contamination, inadequate or outdated infrastructure, and competing claims of agriculture and rural and urban areas - in order to ensure adequate and safe water supplies for their populations.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Scholars and students
  • Professionals from industry and non-profit organizations
  • Government officials
  • Members of the general public who wish to learn about the challenges facing the regions and the innovative solutions to overcome them

Register     Become a Sponsor

Download Flyer

Conference Schedule

8:15 – 9:00       AM Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 – 9:10       Welcome & Opening Remarks

9:10 - 10:30             Panel I – Food Security

10:30 - 10:40 Coffee Break  

10:40 - 12:00              Panel II – Health & Environment

12:00 - 1:00     PM Keynote Address by Dr. Rita Colwell

1:00 – 2:00       Lunch

2:00 – 3:20 Panel III Hydropolitics: Regional and Transnational Challenges

3:20 – 3:30       Concluding Remarks

Panel I - Food Security

 

  • Eilon Adar, Ben-Gurion University
  • Cullen Hendrix, University of Denver
  • Nathan Mueller, UC Irvine
  • Panel Chair: Michael Roberts, UCLA

This panel will focus on the critical water issues that are directly linked to the development and sustainability of agriculture as impacted by water resources, the impact of global climate change, shared water resources, irrigation technology and challenges and opportunities for assuring food security in the Middle East and Africa.

 

 

Panel II - Health & Environment

 

  • Charisma Acey, UC Berkeley
  • David Katz, University of Haifa
  • Kellogg Schwab, Johns Hopkins University
  • Panel Chair: Hilary Godwin, UCLA

This panel will explore the impact on human health and the environment associated with human, industrial and agricultural activities on water quality and impairment of water supplies. The panel will also address approaches to reducing adverse impacts associated with water scarcity and quality on human health and the environment.

 

 

Panel III - Urban Water Scarcity & Technology

 

This panel will address efforts toward water sustainability in growing urban centers in water-scarce regions in the Middle East and Africa. The panel will also review current and planned efforts to improve water treatment and delivery in urban areas, issues of water transfers and multinational cooperation.

 

 

Panel III - Hydropolitics: Regional and Transnational Challenges

 

  • Hussein Amery, Colorado School of Mines
  • Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep, World Bank
  • Doron Markel, Israel Water Authority
  • Panel Chair: Mekonnen Gebremichael, UCLA

This panel will focus on regional and transboundary conflicts and collaborations with the aim of identifying opportunities that may exist for establishing beneficial relationships among neighboring countries and alleviating water stress in water-scarce regions. Political and economic drivers will also be discussed in relation to water security and sustainability.

 

 

Panel V - The Digital City & Sharing Economy

Panelists

 

  • Sheizaf Rafaeli, Haifa University
  • Peter Marx, City of L.A. CTO
  • Charles Steinfield, Michigan State
  • Panel Chair: Valerie Brachya, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

 

 

Rita Colwell

Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland at College Park & Johns Hopkins University

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research on global infectious diseases, water, and health has earned her some of the world’s most prestigious awards throughout her career, including the 2006 National Medal of Science Award, the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and most recently, the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to solving global water challenges.

Colwell has been a leader in her field by taking a holistic approach to global health, including accounting for environmental variables like climate change. She uses this pioneering approach in her current work focused on developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.

Colwell previously served as the eleventh director of the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2004 and, as director, also held the position of co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Colwell has also held a number of advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community.

An internationally-respected scientist and educator, Dr. Colwell has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas," and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is immediate past-president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

 

 

Closing Panel

Panelists

 

  • Valerie Brachya, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies
  • Thomas Princen, University of Michigan
  • Robert Krueger, Worchester Polytechnic Institute
  • Panel Chair: Stephanie Pincetl, UCLA

 

 

Children filling water in Al-Zaatari Camp, JordanChildren filling water in Al-Zaatari Camp, Jordan (Photo: Mustafa Bader ) CC BY-SA 4.0
Children filling water in Al-Zaatari Camp, JordanChildren filling water in Al-Zaatari Camp, Jordan (Photo: Mustafa Bader ) CC BY-SA 4.0

Speakers

Rita Colwell

Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland at College Park and Johns Hopkins University

Rita Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at both the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research on global infectious diseases, water, and health has earned her some of the world’s most prestigious awards throughout her career, including the 2006 National Medal of Science Award, the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and most recently, the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize, which recognizes outstanding contributions to solving global water challenges.

Colwell has been a leader in her field by taking a holistic approach to global health, including accounting for environmental variables like climate change. She uses this pioneering approach in her current work focused on developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.

Colwell previously served as the eleventh director of the National Science Foundation from 1998 to 2004 and, as director, also held the position of co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Colwell has also held a number of advisory positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community.

An internationally-respected scientist and educator, Dr. Colwell has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas," and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals.

Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is immediate past-president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS).

 

Charisma Acey

Assistant Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkley

Prof. Acey focuses on local and regional environmental sustainability, with a focus on poverty reduction, urban governance and access to basic services. Her work relies on both quantitative and participatory, qualitative research approaches to understanding individual and household demand for improved infrastructure and environmental amenities. Current and past research projects, teaching and service learning courses have focused on addressing barriers to sustainable development such as human-environment interactions at multiple scales in urban areas around the world, poverty and participatory approaches to governance and development, the financing and sustainability of publicly provided services and utilities, local and regional food systems, environmental justice, and urbanization domestically and globally.

 

Eilon Adar

Professor, BIDR-Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research; Former Director, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Ben Gurion University; Alain PÖHER Chair in Hydrogeology and Arid Zones

Eilon M. Adar is Professor at the BIDR-Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research, former Director of Ben Gurion University’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, and the Alain PÖHER Chair in Hydrogeology and Arid Zones. Professor Adar is one of Israel’s leading researchers in water sources, use and technology. The Zuckerberg Institute, founded in January 2002 in BGU’S Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, unites under one roof all aspects of water resources research, including groundwater production, desalination technologies and treatments for marginal water sources. Prof. Adar’s main research activities deal with: quantitative assessments of groundwater flow systems; sources of recharge on complex basins with puzzling geology and scarce hydrological information; and modeling of temporal and spatial distribution of contaminants in aquatic systems.

 

Hussein Amery

Associate Professor of International Studies, Colorado School of Mines

Professor Amery studies the potential for water war, Islamic perspectives on the natural environment, water management, water risk assessment in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and transboundary water conflicts, including recent research on conflict resolution along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. He is the author of Arab Water Security: Threats and Opportunities in the Gulf States (Cambridge University Press) and Water in the Middle East: A Geography of Peace (Texas University Press). He is a Fellow of the International Water Association, and has been a consultant to U.S. government agencies, Canada’s International Development and Research Center, and to American engineering firms.

 

Mekonnen Gebremichael

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UCLA

Professor Mekonnen Gebremichael work focuses on hydrology and water resources. His research interests are understanding and prediction of hydrological fluxes on a range of spatial and temporal scales, advancing the use of satellite observations for water resource applications, uncertainty analysis of hydrological estimations and forecasts, transboundary river basin management, water resource management and governance in developing countries, and impact of hydrological and climate changes on vector-borne diseases.

 

Hilary Godwin

Professor, UCLA Environmental Health Sciences Department and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Professor Godwin joined the UCLA faculty in 2006 and is currently a Professor in the Environmental Health Sciences Department and in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Dr. Godwin's research focuses on elucidating the molecular toxicology of engineered nanomaterials and development of assays for detection and analysis of infectious diseases. She is currently collaborating in collaboration with Professor Tim Malloy in the UCLA School of Law on the development and analysis of new approaches to nanoregulatory policy and assessment of alternatives for hazardous substances. Other current research assesses the impacts of deforestation and conservation on indigenous populations in Cameroon. She also works actively with organizations and community groups both locally and internationally to prepare for and diminish the impact of climate change on public health.

 

Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep

Global Lead, Environment, World Bank Group

Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep is a Lead Environmental Specialist in the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice of the World Bank, and is leading efforts to promote sustainable multi-sectoral development approaches in a spatial context. In over 19 years at the Bank, he has led and been part of a range of environmental, water, and other natural resources projects and studies, primarily in Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia. This has included work on integrated watershed and basin approaches, climate resilience, international waters (including work on the Aral Sea, Nile, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and other Basins), pollution, water and environment institutions, irrigation systems, biodiversity and environmental assessments. He also leads several activities at the Bank related to the use of innovative analytical tools (e.g. GIS, modeling, decision support systems), modern hydromet services, and mobile Apps (e.g. “Spatial Agent” to promote public domain open data access).

 

Cullen Hendrix

Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies; Director of the Environment, Food and Conflict Lab at the University of Denver

Cullin Hendrix is Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Director of the Environment, Food and Conflict Lab at the University of Denver. Hendrix's primary research focus is in modeling contentious politics – ranging from urban protest to armed conflict – as the outcome of interactions between domestic political institutions, global markets and advocacy networks, and environmental degradation and climatic change. He has published widely on the topics of contentious politics, the environment and civil conflict, food security, and human rights.

 

David Katz

Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and Director, M.A. Program in Water Studies, University of Haifa

Dr. Katz specializes in environmental and resource policy and economics, with an emphasis on water resource management. His recent research has covered: the relationship between economic growth and resource consumption; economic valuation of natural resources; incentives for conservation, and policy and politics of transboundary waters. David has also conducted research on issues such as international trade and the environment, green building, and transportation policy. He holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resource Policy and M.A. in Applied Economics from the University of Michigan, and an MA in International Studies from the University of Washington.

 

Doron Markel

Director, Monitoring and Management - Lake Kinneret and its Watershed, Israel Water Authority

Since 1999 Dr. Markel has served as the coordinator of Lake Kinneret and its Watershed Monitoring and Management System. From 2008 until today, he has represented Israel at the Study Management Unit (SMU) for the Red Sea-Dead Sea Feasibility Study led by the World Bank. The project - approved by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority - is to build a desalination plant and pipeline from the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea to resolve Jordan's water deficit and the Dead Sea's ongoing and dramatic environmental degradation. Dr. Markel received his doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where his research dealt with the biogeochemical cycles of sulfur and iron in the reflooded Hula wetland, northern Israel.

 

Nathan Mueller

Assistant Professor in Earth System Science, UC Irvine

Nathan Mueller is an Assistant Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. He analyzes the interactions between climate, water resources, and agricultural management to promote global food security and more sustainable agricultural landscapes. The Mueller Lab he oversees at UC Irvine studies both how agriculture drives global environmental change and how environmental change influences agricultural systems. The Lab's work characterizes relevant biophysical processes, explores the environmental impacts of land management strategies, and reveals linkages between agricultural systems and food security. Dr. Mueller received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and his B.A. from St. Olaf College in 2007. Nathan was an Environmental Fellow at Harvard University from 2013-2015.

 

Michael Roberts

Executive Director, Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy, UCLA School of Law

Michael T. Roberts is the founding Executive Director of the newly established Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. He is well versed in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national, and global food supply systems. He has recently authored the first major treatise on food law, titled, Food Law in the United States. Outside of his research, Mr. Roberts is actively involved in the development of food law and policy. He has guest lectured on food-law subjects at various law schools in the U.S., Asia, and Europe and previously served as the Director of the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, where he taught food law and policy and founded the law school's Journal of Food Law and Policy. He is also the former first chair of the Lex Mundi (world's largest association of private law firms) international Agribusiness practice group. Mr. Roberts also was of counsel in Washington D.C. with Venable LLP, as a member of the firm's food and agricultural law practice group, and special counsel to the Roll Global farming and food companies headquartered in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for global food regulation, trade, and public policy. He was also a visiting scholar and consultant to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome.

 

Kellogg Schwab

Director, Johns Hopkins Water Institute; Professor of Environmental Health and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Kellogg Schwab is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director of both the JHU Water Institute and the JHU Center for Water and Health. In January 2009, in collaboration with JHU colleagues, Dr. Schwab initiated the former JHU Global Water Program, which has now evolved into the Water Institute. The Water Institute fosters collaborative research among Hopkins researchers from public health, engineering, behavior, policy and economic disciplines to address the critical triangle of water, food, environment, and energy.

 

Drone used to monitor maize crops, ZimbabweDrone used to monitor maize crops, Zimbabwe (Photo: L. Sharma/Marchmont Communications)
Dead SeaDrone used to monitor maize crops, Zimbabwe (Photo: L. Sharma/Marchmont Communications)

Program Committee

Yoram Cohen, Director Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies; Distinguished Professor, Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Institute of the Environment; Director, Water Technology Research Center (School of Engineering)

Stephen Commins, Lecturer, Department of Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs

JR DeShazo, Chair, Department of Public Policy; Director, Luskin Center for Innovation; Professor of Public Policy, Urban Planning, and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Luskin School of Public Affairs and Institute of the Environment

Mekonnen Gebremichael, Associate Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Steven Nelson, Director, Center for African Studies; Professor, Department of Art History

Greg Pierce, Senior Researcher, Luskin Center for Innovation (Sustainable Water and Advanced Transportation Initiatives); Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Thomas Smith, Director, Center for Tropical Research; Co-Director, Congo Basin Institute; Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Steven Spiegel, Director, Center for Middle East Development; Professor, Department of Political Science

Roger Waldinger, Director, Center for the Study of International Migration; Distinguished Professor, Department of Sociology

Reverse osmosis water desalination plant membranes, Ashkelon, IsraelReverse osmosis water desalination plant membranes, Ashkelon, Israel (Photo: Shutterstock)
Reverse osmosis water desalination plant membranes, Ashkelon, IsraelReverse osmosis water desalination plant membranes, Ashkelon, Israel (Photo: Shutterstock)

Venue

UCLA Covel Commons Grand Horizon Ballroom
200 De Neve Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90095

 

Driving and Parking Instructions (more detailed information will be sent after registration)

From the 405 Freeway:

  • Exit Sunset Boulevard EAST
  • Proceed EAST on Sunset Boulevard for approximately 1 mile.
  • Enter campus by turning RIGHT onto Bellagio Drive.
  • Make a LEFT onto De Neve Drive and proceed for a 1/4 of a mile.
  • Enter Sunset Village (SV) Parking Structure by turning RIGHT.
  • Follow signs to “Pay-by-Plate” Parking (on entrance level). Once parked, go to the nearest Parking Pay Station, enter your license plate number. (Please note: If you do not have a license plate number, please enter the last 6 (six) digits of your Vehicle ID Number (VIN). Your VIN can be found on the driver's side door or on the lower driver's side of the windshield. For those using their VIN number, please place your receipt on your dashboard.)

Directions

Contact Us

Maura Resnick
Deputy Director, UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies
mkresnick@international.ucla.edu
(310) 825-9646

Christian Rodriguez
Center Administrator, UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies
crrod@international.ucla.edu
(310) 825-9646

Jack Schwada
Communications Associate, UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies
schwada@international.ucla.edu
(310) 825-9646

Broad Building, UCLA CampusUCLA Campus (Photo: Kyle Alexander)
Broad Building, UCLA CampusUCLA Campus (Photo: Kyle Alexander)

Registration

Registration Fees
General Admission: $35.00
Non-profit/University Faculty & Staff: $20.00
Students (with valid student I.D.) $  5.00

Prices include continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments.

 

Register

 

Feel free to call us at (310) 825-9646 Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (PST) or email us at mea-water@international.ucla.edu if you have any questions or difficulties with the online registration system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Top