January 9, 2019 – Jad Saade, a Master’s student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) was among the winners of the 2nd Annual Climate Change Student Competition. The competition was organized by Banque Libano-Française (BLF) and the American University of Beirut (AUB) Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) partnered with the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands’ Wageningen University and Research (WUR) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands.
In his opening remarks Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of the IFI, emphasized on the importance of this competition which aimed to incite graduate students to think of practical solutions and not only theoretical approach in their research on the Water Energy Food Nexus. Dr. Mitri thanked Banque Libano-Française for their collaboration on this important project for the second consecutive year and welcomed the contribution of the Netherlands embassy in Lebanon as well as IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Netherlands’ Wageningen University and Research (WUR) to this year’s competition. He indicated that unlike last year, this year’s competition (2018-2019) went regional and was open to graduate students from universities in Arab countries such as Jordan, Palestine, and Iraq as well as from IHE Delft and WUR in the Netherlands, hoping that next year there will be more international students taking part of this project.
General Manager of Banque Libano-Française, Raphaël Nahas explained that this year’s theme tackles the importance of finding solutions for the sustainable development of Lebanon and the region. This competition falls under the Bank’s responsibility to invest in the youth’s education and research by supporting knowledge, skills and technology needed to fight water scarcity in the future. She stated that Banque Libano-Française feels the sense of urgency and recognizes the responsibility to conduct business in a sustainable manner, to preserve the environment, to add value to the society, and believes it has an impact on its stakeholders and the community it operates in to foster sustainable development.
The competition was open to graduate (Masters and Ph.D.) students from universities of all majors from all over the Levant (Lebanon, Jordan Palestine and Iraq) in addition to students from IHE Delft and WUR. This year’s theme centered on how climate change and water scarcity affect the Water-Food-Energy Nexus, and aimed to promote a multi-disciplinary research with special consideration given to the fact that, although all three resources are interlinked, their interdependency is often disregarded in policy and project development.
As per the competition guidelines, participants submitted a word research proposal written in English on November 1, 2018. Saade’s proposal, written under the guidance of Dr. Sophia Ghanimeh and Dr. Maya Atieh, tackled the impact of climate change on the flow and sedimentation of Lebanon’s Nahr-El-Kalb river. The proposal suggested applying state-of-the-art-watershed modeling for assessing the river’s state and the projected effect that climate change will have on it over the next 50 years, and won joint 3rd place at the competition.
All student proposals were assessed by a panel of judges comprised of Dr. Tarek Mitri, Director of the IFI; Raya Raphaël Nahas General Manager of Banque Libano-Française; and Floris van Slijpe, First Secretary at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Lebanon.
A preliminary draft of the full papers will be submitted on June 3, 2019, followed by a submission of the completed research papers on October 1, 2019.
Congratulations to Jad Saade, and best of luck with the implementation of the project.