Leaders from Middle East, Great Lakes to Convene at Chicago Summit

March 11, 2015
Conference will focus on strategies for sharing water

Water experts will gather at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), April 23 and 24, 2015 for Water After Borders: Global Stakes, Local Politics, a two-day summit focused on strategies for sharing water across political, geographical and cultural boundaries.

Water After Borders focuses on two regions: the Great Lakes and the Jordan River Valley. The Great Lakes are a site of abundance spanning peaceful borders between the U.S. and Canada; the Jordan River marks a demilitarized border between Israel and Jordan, and a border contested by Palestine and Israel. The Jordan, famous for associations with heaven, today flows mostly as a toxic trickle.

Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian officials will highlight how water sharing can form the basis for peacemaking and political reconciliation.

"Despite their differences, residents and community leaders in both regions have much to learn from one another," said Rachel Havrelock, associate professor of English at UIC and an organizer of the conference. "Residents of the Jordan Valley can learn from the long-standing treaties and binational cooperation of the U.S. and Canada. The example of cross-border water planning in the Middle East can inspire the Great Lakes region to connect cultural communities and empower diverse groups to manage shared waters." Havrelock is also a founder of Freshwater Lab, a new thinktank on water issues based at UIC.

Mayors from Jordan River Valley cities and cities around the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River will convene a panel about the centrality of water in their cities and shared strategies for protecting, restoring and distributing water equitably across borders.

The directors of EcoPeace Middle East—a Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli nongovernmental organization—will showcase their work bridging communities separated by protracted conflict through water sharing programs.

Rather than waiting for peace in order to address inequality and toxicity, EcoPeace Middle East engages local residents in resource sharing as a mode of peace building. Undeterred by conflict, EcoPeace Middle East continues to move forward with their vision of a healthy Jordan flowing through the sustainable Eden of the transboundary Jordan River Peace Park.

Among those addressing the Great Lakes at Water after Borders, Dr. Susan Hedman, director of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5; Michael Goffin, regional director from Environment Canada; and Commissioner Lana Pollack, chair of the U.S. Section of the binational International Joint Commission will discuss how the U.S. and Canada negotiate water issues and outline recommendations to face current challenges including algae blooms, oil spills and pressures to export water from the region.

The summit also will include expert panels, interactive working groups and a gallery reception featuring “Water in Art,” an exhibition of works inspired by this essential element. Representatives from peaceful cities with abundant water and municipal leaders from contested cities facing freshwater scarcity will pledge to learn from one another and to ensure that water flows no matter how future boundaries might align.

Source: Water After Borders

Sponsored Recommendations

Meeting the Demands of Wastewater Treatment Plants

May 24, 2024
KAESER understands the important requirements wastewater treatment plant designers and operators consider when evaluating and selecting blowers and compressed air equipment. In...

Modernize OT Cybersecurity to Mitigate Risk

April 25, 2024
Rockwell Automation supports industry-leading Consumer Packaged Goods company, Church & Dwight, along their industrial cybersecurity journey.

2024 Manufacturing Trends Unpacking AI, Workforce, and Cybersecurity

April 25, 2024
The world of manufacturing is changing, and Generative AI is one of the many change agents. The 2024 State of Smart Manufacturing Report takes a deep dive into how Generative ...

State of Smart Manufacturing Report Series

April 25, 2024
The world of manufacturing is changing, and Generative AI is one of the many change agents. The 2024 State of Smart Manufacturing Report takes a deep dive into how Generative ...