“Sustaining the Oasis” Conference to Explore Pressing Challenges for the Region’s Water Security

November 8, 2023 

Addressing evolving water and climate challenges in the Gulf region, Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) will host a groundbreaking conference on November 12 and 13, centering the critical issue of water security at the intersection of human development and environmental sustainability.

Held under the theme “Sustaining the Oasis: Envisioning the Future of Water Security,” the conference is a collaboration between GU-Q and the Earth Commons Institute at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Experts, policymakers, industry leaders, and stakeholders will examine the intersections between science, technology, policy, and international affairs to offer historically informed and actionable insights that secure the future of water in the region despite the ongoing cultural, political, and environmental challenges.

World-renowned author, journalist, and thought leader Malcolm Gladwell will open the timely conference. Named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy’s top global thinkers, Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, which produces his award-winning podcast Revisionist History

Gladwell’s keynote address will kick off an engaging program featuring panel discussions, interactive workshops, and breakout sessions covering five thematic areas that consider the region’s unique socioeconomic and ecological contexts.

“In a region at a critical crossroads, where water is an increasingly scarce and challenged resource, the conference will explore solutions that honor our past while safeguarding our future. We look forward to drawing on compelling global perspectives that help shape an innovative, inclusive vision for a water-secure future,” said conference co-organizer Raha Hakimdavar, Senior Advisor to the Dean of Georgetown University Qatar and the Dean of the Earth Commons Institute.  

High-level panels will focus on water security and stability in the Gulf region, including the impact on food supply, with insights from international and regional speakers, including H.E. Abdul-Rahman Al-Eryani, Former Minister of Water and Environment in the Republic of Yemen, currently at Earthna, and Mohammed Hossein Emadi, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN’s food programs. 

Engaging sessions will highlight the significance of culture and heritage as catalysts for change. This will include a dialogue on water stewardship, and cultural heritage led by Sheikha Nouf Mubarak bin Saif Al-Thani from Qatar Museums on the first day, followed by an inspirational talk and student performance on the second day. Breakout sessions will consider the next generation of cutting-edge research and best practices such as the role of data in water security, non-conventional water resources, and innovative financing. 

The conference will be open to the public at the Four Seasons Hotel, Doha. Full information on the program and registration details are available on the conference website at

About The Earth Commons—Georgetown University’s Institute for Environment & Sustainability

The Earth Commons is an institute at Georgetown University for environmental and sustainability innovation, research and education to accelerate action on the most pressing issues of our earth. Assembling a team of interdisciplinary experts, researchers, leaders and students, the Earth Commons is shaping the future of our planet by building, supporting, and infusing environmental and sustainability research, education and action throughout the Georgetown University community and beyond.

About Hiwaraat

The Hiwaraat Conference Series at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) brings together scholars, experts, and the public for an exploration of shared global challenges in order to create a better future through dialogue and discussion. Each conference in the series offers an inclusive space that encourages community engagement, knowledge creation, and the search for innovative solutions to present and future challenges. 

About Georgetown University in Qatar

Established in 1789 in Washington, DC, Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), founded in 2005 in partnership with Qatar Foundation, seeks to build upon the world-class reputation of the university through education, research, and service. Inspired by the university’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical, and spiritual understanding, GU-Q aims to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humanity.