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Water Diplomacy: Can global cooperation safeguard our most fundamental resource?

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Humanity’s ability to adapt to climate change and live sustainably on our planet will largely depend on how well we cooperatively manage our water resources including groundwater, surface water, and oceans. In this symposium, we will explore global water issues that fall under four main themes: resilience, security and cooperation, development, and interconnectivity. Through these themes, we will examine how science diplomacy can contribute to equitable management of water resources. Is better collaboration and sharing of expertise enough to avert a global crisis?


The symposium will also feature two artists whose beautiful and unique sculptures merge science, conservation and art. Courtney Mattison (link is external) is an internationally recognized ‘artivist’ and ocean advocate working to conserve our changing seas. She hand-sculpts intricately detailed yet enormous ceramic sculptural works inspired primarily by coral reefs and the threats they face. You may have seen one of Courtney’s wall sculptures on exhibit in the main hall of AAAS. Courtney will be an evening Symposium keynote speaker. Alison Sigethy (link is external) will be exhibiting her Sea Core sculptures, which are made from hand crafted glass inspired by the core samples scientists use to study oceans. Her studio is locally based in Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory. She will be available during the symposium lunch break to talk about her work. 


Participate in the Water Diplomacy Symposium Marine Debris Tracker Challenge! Follow this link (link is external) to download the Marine Debris Tracker app. When you open the app on your mobile device, select the AAAS Water Diplomacy Symposium List to start tracking. The top three trackers, by number of pieces of debris collected, in the week leading up to the event (Friday, May 5-Thursday, May 11) will be recognized at the symposium and win prizes. And everyone who participates will help keep debris out of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Please join us for this event hosted by the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships (STPF) and organized by the STPF Science Diplomacy Affinity Group with assistance from the STPF STArt (Science, Technology, and Art) Affinity Group. This event is cosponsored by the AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy.


8:00 am    Check-In (coffee available)

8:30 am    Welcome/Organizational Remarks

8:40 am    Opening Keynote: Transboundary Water Cooperation: Perspectives from the Middle East and North America

Charles Lawson, International Joint Commission on the Great Lakes

9:20 am    Session I: Resilience

Michelle Thieme, WWF

Water Diplomacy and its role in Participatory Governance on the Great Lakes
Marvourneen Dolor, MKDolor Consulting

Plastic Inputs into the Ocean: Can we Come Together to Solve this Global Problem?
Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia

10:20 am    Session I Panel Discussion

10:40 am    Break

11:00 am    Session II: Water Security and Cooperation

Promoting Water Security in Central Asia through Multi-Level Water Governance
Katherine Himes, Evergreen State College

Water and National Security for the 21st Century
Sherri Goodman, Wilson Center

12:00 pm    Session II Panel Discussion

12:20 pm    Working Lunch (lunch provided)

Alison Sigethy, Sculptor

1:20 pm    Interactive Session: with Marine Debris Tracker App

Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia

1:50 pm    Session III: Development

Women Empowerment to Drive Change in the Water and Sanitation Sector: Cooperation at the Local and National Level to Provide Access for all
Kellogg Schwab, Johns Hopkins

USAID's Work in Expanding Sustainable and Equitable Access to Water and Sanitation
Elizabeth Jordan, USAID

Through the Looking Glass, and What (Alice) the WASH Sector Found There
Darren Saywell, Plan International

2:50 pm     Session III Panel Discussion

3:10 pm     Break

3:30 pm     Session IV: Interconnectivity

The Nexus at Play in Cambodia: The consequences of changing water supply and usage and what might be done to mitigate the negatives
Michael Cooperman, Conservation International

Katy Lackey, WE&RF

Embracing FEW Systems: Towards Convergence for Deeper Understanding
James Jones, NSF

4:30 pm    Session IV Panel Discussion

4:50 pm    Artist Statement: on Art, Science, and Water

Courtney Mattison

5:15 pm    Closing Remarks

5:30 pm    Reception

6:30 pm    Adjourn


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