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Alon Tal: “War, Peace and the Environment in the Middle East”
February 7, 2011 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Stevenson Fireside Lounge
The history of the Israeli- Arab wars has had environmental implications which are often overlooked. Some pessimists argue that the next war will in the Middle East will be fought over water resources, especially with climate change so profoundly changing precipitation patterns in the Mediterranean region. As the conflict drags on past its 60th year, we will consider how the environment of Israel and in neighboring lands has been affected. How might the environment provide a bridge to bring the parties together? Did past peace agreements do a good job of ensuring environmental cooperation? President Obama is not the first to propose a “peace park” as one way of breaking the impasse on the Golan Heights. Learn about Naharaim – the existing Israeli- Jordan peace park and consider Israel’s environment in a regional context.
Professor Tal’s career has been a balance between academia and public interest advocacy. He is presently an Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Ben Gurion University and chairman of Israel’s green party – “the Green Movement”. Tal has held faculty appointments at Tel Aviv and Hebrew Universities in Israel, and was a visiting professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Between 1990 and 1998 he was an adjunct faculty member at Harvard University. Dr. Tal was the founding director of Adam Teva V’din, the Israel Union for Environmental Defense from 1990-1997, a leading public interest law group and was chairman of Life and Environment, an umbrella group for eighty environmental organizations in Israel from 1998-2003. In 1996, Dr. Tal founded the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, a graduate studies center in which Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian students join environmentalists from around the world in an advanced interdisciplinary research program. He currently is chairman of the committee for land development that oversees forestry and land reclamation on the international board of the Jewish National Fund (KKL) and represents Israel’s Foreign Ministry at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. In 2006 he was awarded the Charles Bronfman humanitarian prize for environmental leadership. In 2008, in honor of Israel’s 60th anniversary the Ministry of Environment granted him a life achievement award at age 48.