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The FIU Institute of Water and Environment hosted the first annual Water and Environment Security Conference last week on September 17-18. In its inaugural year, the conference brought together over 60 experts who highlighted the challenges of and opportunities to address regional, international and global water and environment security issues.

Presentations and panel discussions covered a variety of topics, including UNESCO’s water security strategy, water services and utilities, USAID’s water strategy, USAFRICOM’s water and environment security programs and water security during extreme events or crisis situations, among others. More than 30 prestigious speakers and panelists took part in this year’s conference. The speakers represented over a dozen countries in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and traveled thousands of miles to participate in the conference and to toast to the recent establishment of the FIU-UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security.

Among the Non-FIU Speakers were the keynote presenters, Mr. Victor Pochat (President of the Argentine Institute for Water Resources – IARH) and Dr. Anne Dix (Director of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad – ASHA at USAID), as well as the special invited presenters, Dr. Cristiano Musillo (newly appointed Consul General of Italy in Miami), Dr. Giuseppe Arduino (Chief of Ecohydrology, Water Quality, and Water Education at UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program) and Mr. Jeffrey Andrews (Chief of Environmental Security at US AFRICOM).

FIU-affiliated speakers included the Vice President of Research – Dr. Andres Gil, the Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Education – Dr. Michael Heithaus, the Director of the Institute of Water and Environment (InWE) – Dr. Todd Crowl, Co-Director of the InWE-International Program – Dr. Lakhdar Boukerrou and the Director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy in SIPA – Dr. Brian Fonseca.

A full list of the speakers at the conference can be found here.

The conference also served as a platform for the formal presentation of the FIU-UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security, which was established at FIU in May to advance water sciences and improve sustainable water management in developing countries. On the first day of the conference, Dr. Maria Donoso was formally presented with the chair holder position by FIU’s Vice President of Research, Dr. Andres Gil.

Overall, the conference provided an opportunity for cross-national and interdisciplinary collaboration. The Institute of Water and Environment forged many new relationships at the event in order to address water and environmental security issues nation- and world-wide. To add, the Institute is working on deploying new opportunities for students when it comes to studying and researching in a number of different countries.

For more information about the 2018 conference or the FIU-UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security, please contact Dr. Maria Donoso.