On Thursday, November 21, SAI hosted a roundtable meeting to in order to convene experts working on water and water related issues in the Boston area to come together. The discussion aimed to brainstorm ways in which exoerts can come together to create and accumulate knowledge around ‘Water’.
The partners present included Meena Hewett, Executive Director at SAI, Waqar Hussain Shah of MIT, Shafiqul Islam of Tufts, Nora Maginn, Programs Manager at SAI, Sharmila Murthy of HKS and Suffolk Law, Adil Najam of BU, Erum Sattar of HLS and SAI intern, Afreen Siddiqi of HKS and MIT, and James Westcoat of MIT.
Water issues are currently being studied by experts in and around the Boston area are from several angles so it was important to understand the variety of ways of looking at the problems and the complexities. Najam described Boston as the “Capital city of South Asia water experts” and encouraged the need to harness the intellectual strength of this group. In the context of South Asia, the gathering of these experts allows SAI to establish a sustained platform for the ongoing study of the complex and inter-related issues around water use and management.
The group established several goals for moving forward. In the beginning of the spring 2014 semester, the multi-university Water Consortium will organize a monthly roundtable discussion, hosted by one of the institutions in turns. SAI will serve as the coordinating unit. The purpose of these meetings will be to identify a common language around understanding the various issues related to water issues that are currently being studied including linkages to energy, agriculture, food security, climate change and so on. The group will work together to define its contribution to the on-going study of the inter-related issues arising from water use and management.
The group will attempt to develop a common intellectual language encapsulating the complexities of the issues, while enabling communication across disciplines, in a multiyear effort. SAI will act as a clearing house to disseminate names of faculty and graduate students working on water issues in the Boston area by creating a list on the SAI website. Several long term goals include a joint publication coauthored by the various institutions, a research project with in-region partners, and an annual Davos style conference.