Teaching About Water Scarcity in the Middle East and Worldwide
On June 4, 2019 the Middle East Studies Center conducted sessions on water scarcity and the role of water in the Middle East. Dr. Faisal Rifai, Executive Director of the Euphrates Tigris Initiative for Cooperation (ETIC), and retired Professor of Hydraulic Engineering, Aleppo University, presented on environmental, cultural, political dimensions of water management and transboundary water issues. Dr. Melinda McClimans, Assistant Director of the Middle East Studies Center, presented resources for translating the information into the classroom and facilitated a discussion session. A summary of the session and the teacher’s teaching ideas are shared on this post.
The Middle East conducted an intensive industrialization effort starting with the end of World War One and the Mandate System implemented by European countries in the region. Oil was also being discovered all over region at that time and the development of an energy production economy (often in coordination with European countries and/or the U.S.). Water infrastructure, and the building of dams in particular, central to that effort and the creation of national boundaries created tensions between the countries of the Middle East, and crises for many of the people in the Middle East which remain to this day. This page will provide resources for teaching about how global issues of industrial pollution, energy production, and water shortages affect the Middle East in particular. We also posit that in studying how these issues play out in the Middle East, solutions to these problems may be found which possess global application potential.