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Last year, Dr. Maria Donoso spearheaded the creation of the UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security at FIU. Now, Donoso has been honored with serving as the interim Director of UNESCO’s Division of Water Sciences for the next several months.

Donoso has been passionate about water issues her whole life. She began her career by studying civil and ocean engineering in graduate school and eventually took her passions to FIU, directing the successful Global Water for Sustainability (GLOWS) Program for six years. Before her commitment to FIU, Donoso worked as the UNESCO regional hydrologist for Latin America and the Caribbean. Throughout her impressive professional career, Donoso has acted as director of various projects and studies on water sciences. When she noticed an opportunity to return to her old stomping ground and foster a deep connection between FIU and UNESCO, she took it. 

With the growing need to address water-stresses across the world, Donoso put together a group of dedicated water experts to make up the newly created UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security at FIU. The initiative sits within the Institute of Water and Environment and includes an international team who strives to bring together research and education in order to address regional, national and global water security issues.

Photo by: UNESCO/A.Otte

In her new interim role, Donoso is responsible for two key international water programs: International Hydrological Programme (IHP) and the World Water Assessment Programme. The IHP is the only intergovernmental global water science and education program in the United Nations system. The program oversees the activities of all of UNESCO’s water chairs, of which there are only three in the United States and 42 internationally. Donoso will be based in Paris for the remainder of her post as interim Director. During her stay across the Atlantic, the FIU UNESCO chair will be held by Dr. Rita Teutonico, Associate Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education.

To learn more about FIU’s UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Water Security, please visit the website.