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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 29th, 2018
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

May 28 2018 we saw on CNN’s Christiane Amanpour program her interview of Mr. Kaveh Madani
An renown Iranian water scientist who goes now by titles like “Former Deputy Head of Environment Department and “Former Vice President of Iran”.

The name rang bells with us as we remembered from mailings by the American-Iranian Council:

“The campaign known as Bi-Zobaleh (Persian for “no rubbish”) focusing on the issue of waste, which was initiated by Kaveh Madani, the education and research deputy at the Department of Environment, has successfully completed its 100-day operations.”

“Iranian Academic’s Death Puts Spotlight on Political Infighting.”

“The feud turned more fraught over the weekend with the death of Kavous Seyed Emami, an academic, and confusion about the whereabouts of Kaveh Madani, the deputy head of Iran’s Department of Environment.

Since his first election in 2013, Rouhani has been in the hardliners’ crosshairs over his desire to open Iran through a nuclear deal with world powers, and his declared commitment to greater personal liberties. His recent decision to tackle a growing crisis over heavy smog and a water shortage — an issue where Iranians with Western links have been active — has given rivals another opportunity to pounce on him. (Bloomberg)”

Above quotes sent us to look up KAVEH MADANI. We found in THE GUARDIAN – Environment section:
by Saeed Kamali Dehghan Iran correspondent – Wed 18 Apr 2018.

“Top scientist leaves Iran after crackdown on environmentalists
Kaveh Madani had been seen as symbol of Rouhani government’s attempt to reverse brain drain.”

“A top Iranian environmental scientist wooed by Hassan Rouhani’s administration to return home from the UK has left Iran amid a crackdown on environmentalists and pressure from hardliners.

Kaveh Madani had been persuaded to leave his position at Imperial College London last year to serve as the deputy head of Iran’s environment department.

He was seen as a symbol of Rouhani’s efforts to reverse the country’s brain drain, but his decision to step down less than a year later demonstrates the president’s failure to curb the power of the unelected faction of the Iranian establishment that is bent on undermining his policies.

Madani was named as one of the four winners of the Arne Richter award for outstanding young scientists by the European Geosciences Union in 2016. His appointment in Iran was widely applauded. The water conservation expert was promoted because of his expertise and international profile rather than his political affiliation, at a time Iran is facing its worst drought in modern times.

At 36, Madani was the youngest and the most educated government official at his level. His resignation and decision to leave the country has sparked a huge reaction online.

When Iran carried out mass arrests of environmental activists in February, Madani was detained for 72 hours. It also emerged at the time that an Iranian-Canadian environmentalist, Kavous Seyed-Emami, died in custody in mysterious circumstances. At least 13 other activists remain behind bars.

As hardliners launched an onslaught against Madani in the conservative press at the end of March, images surfaced on social media that they said showed him drinking and dancing abroad. Others accused him of being a dual national at a time when suspicion runs high against such Iranian citizens, despite the fact that Madani is solely Iranian.

Madani confirmed the news of his departure from Iran on Twitter after an outspoken member of the parliament broke the news. “Yes, the accused fled from a country where virtual bullies push against science, knowledge and expertise and resort to conspiracy theories to find a scapegoat for all the problems because they know well that finding an enemy, spy or someone to blame is much easier than accepting responsibility and complicity in a problem,” he wrote.

Madani has been critical of Iran’s past policies on water, believing the country has passed the time of crisis and entered an era of water bankruptcy. He has been particularly critical of Iran’s aggressive dam building and cloud seeding. Many such policies have been propagated by the Revolutionary Guards through its industrial arm, which has benefited from the projects.

This meant Madani fell foul of the Guards, who act independently of Rouhani’s administration and have huge influence within the judiciary and the intelligence apparatus.

After his appointment, Madani had tweeted: “I have returned with the hope of creating #hope.” In December, he told the Tehran Times that “there are a lot of people abroad, waiting and watching closely to see what’s going to happen. If I succeed, we might see more people coming back to help the government”.

Abbas Milani, an Iranian-American historian and the director of Iranian studies at Stanford University, said on Twitter that Madani’s departure was an instance of a 38-year battle between elites “who want good for Iran and know how to rescue it” and those who were hiding their hunger for power and self-interest under the cover of Islam.”

We see thus that Madani is an Iranian-Britisher who feels Iranian at heart and
was ready to help Iran in an area of his expertise – The Environment and water
problems. President Rouhani was happy to see him back but the Ayatollas saw
a danger in his professionalism that was received with open arms by the people.
It is these PEOPLE that could bring about change by quiet protests.

Madani’s professionalism showed in the Amanpour interview by saying that Israel
is part of the region and can help with water technology in dry areas like
those he wants to help with his people in Iran.

Clearly, the political leadership does wrong for the PEOPLE of Iran.

We write this because we found another area in the Middle East where the
politicians just led to a missed opportunity. It is the story we quote here
and the country is Palestine – the Gaza part thereof – that just hosted the
Student Alumni of the MENA Water Research Alumni Forum (the Arab World).
By excluding any help from the Israeli water technologists they harm the
Arab World like the Iranians harm their own country.

We like the fairness of Professor Kaveh Madani.


MEDRC Introduce New Student Led Alumni Forum.

07 05 2018 00:00
Gaza May 7th, 2018: The first event of the newly revamped MEDRC Water Research Alumni Forum was held today in Palestine.

The Alumni Forum is a follow up initiative of the Fellowship program, designed to further facilitate support for water research by offering a platform from which current students and alumni can showcase their work, view research outputs of their peers and connect with leading experts in the water sector.

To further maximize development opportunities MEDRC have introduced a student led approach to organizing the forum, whereby students are given responsibility to propose the Forum theme, curate discussion panel topics, nominate expert participants, select moderators and manage event logistics.

The Student Steering committee was selected following a call for applications and consists of several key elected positions which were determined by the Higher Committee. The Higher Committee is chaired by the Deputy Head of the Palestinian Water Authority, Eng. Rehby Al Sheikh.

Today’s event was held under the title ‘Desalination and Treated Water Reuse, Towards Sustainable Development’ and was attended by MEDRC Center Director, Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Kirsten Winterman, Head of Development Cooperation, MEDRC and Brendan Smith, Development Cooperation Program Manager, MEDRC . Leading water experts and stakeholders were also present, with Eng. Rebhy El Skeikh, Deputy Head of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) delivering the key note address.

The discussion panel topics included; Economics of Desalination and Water Reuse; Desalination Technologies; Wastewater Treatment and Reuse and Water and Energy Nexus. 6 of the most outstanding Alumni were selected to be given the honor to present their work as part of the Research Showcase.

Jordan based Alumni will host their Alumni Forum at the Geneva Hotel, Amman on May 10th, 2018 under the forum title ‘Integrated, Decentralized Wastewater Management for Resource Recovery in Rural and Peri-Urban Areas’.

MEDRC’s Fellowship program is delivered in partnership with water authorities in Palestine and Jordan. It offers exceptionally talented students an opportunity to pursue post graduate research at participating universities. To date the program has awarded 191 Fellowships in Palestine and Jordan with 30 more due to be awarded this year, bringing the total to 221.

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