Thursday, March 23, 2006

Avoiding a water war in the Nile Basin

By Sallie Boorman
LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY
March 14, 2006

Director’s Colloquium Thursday

Former ambassador David Shinn will discuss the struggle over finite water resources of the Nile during an unclassified Director’s Colloquium Thursday at the Laboratory. The colloquium begins at 1:10 p.m. in the Physics Building Auditorium at Technical Area 3.

“Avoiding a Water War in the Nile Basin” will focus on the 10 riparian countries that make up the Nile Basin and the growing competition between the countries for water from the Nile. In particular, Egypt and Sudan, two of the riparian countries, have signed a treaty giving them an exclusive right to the water, although 86 percent of the water originates from Ethiopia.

Shinn will discuss the relevant political, economic and social issues of the riparian states, setting the scene for what could potentially become a war over a natural resource. Shinn will explain the reasons behind the tension in the Nile Basin and discuss ways in which the United States can help to prevent a war.

Shinn will pull on his own extensive background of foreign affairs in the Nile Basin as a source for the presentation. He has served in the United States Foreign Service for 37 years, including assignments in Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania. As a former director of East African Affairs in the State Department, Shinn had responsibility over seven of the 10 riparian countries and has served as U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso.

Shinn has a doctorate in political science from George Washington University (GWU) in Washington D.C., and currently is an adjunct professor in the Elliot School of International Affairs at GWU, where he teaches three courses on African affairs and political analysis. He periodically visits the Nile region and writes frequently on conflict, political stability, governance, terrorism, and Islamic extremism in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

The talk will be shown live on LABNET Channel 9 and on desktop computers using Real Media Stream and IPTV technology.

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