Delft, The Netherlands, 19 Jun 2017

Congratulating the first Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Graduates

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands, the University for Peace in Costa Rica, and Oregon State University, are pleased to announce the graduation of the first Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Master students.

Having undergone the entire programme, the graduates have been able to establish a strong theoretical and applied understanding of peace and conflict studies and of water management and governance, gained hands-on skills training in both the Global South and Global North contexts for actual water dispute resolution processes, and networked with a wide variety of experts, professionals, and representatives in the field of water and governance.

Highlights of the Master theses

We highlight below the research undertaken by the graduates. Their research shows how diverse the topic of water diplomacy is.

On behalf of IHE Delft, Oregon State University, and the University for Peace, we wish them the best in their professional career. 

Globalization of Water Resources: Examining Social Learning Using Serious Gaming

By Fatima Abdelbagi Mahmoud Taha, Sudan

The research aimed to make a comparison of social experiences by examining the Water Footprint Computer Assisted Board Game (WFCABG) - a serious game concerning the Water Footprint concept - as a tool for enhancing the social learning of water resources issues surrounding commodities trade. The study engaged 73 students and staff from various countries and professional backgrounds, in two academic settings in two different countries: Oregon State University (United States) and the University for Peace (Costa Rica). The game focused on showing how complicated are the negotiations over water on the international scale. It emphasised on trade-offs concerning water use for different commodities and the environment, a major factor in the decision making. The game could be used for different purposes other than providing a safe learning environment and training, such as encouraging participation and for social behaviour change. However, careful use of the game mission should be considered in different contexts. The simulation had a great effect on the social learning by increasing the students’ familiarity, enriching their understanding of water-related management issues, enhancing their negotiation skills, and increasing the learning.

Indigenous Approaches to Water Conflict Management: the Anuak and their Approaches to Water Conflict Management

By Tsion Mesfin Woge, Ethiopia

This research paper investigates the water conflict management approaches of the Anuak indigenous people in Gambella, Ethiopia. The paper poses the question whether indigenous approaches to water conflict management provide some effective mechanisms that help to resolve conflict? If so, how? In order to provide answers to the research question, the paper will go in depth and investigate; First, how the Anuak indigenous people manage their water resources. Second, how they resolve conflict arising from the management of shared water resources; third, how they assess the effectiveness of those water conflict management process? And, finally, using their effective indigenous methods of conflict management mechanisms, how can they address conflict arising from the expansion of large-scale agricultural investment in the Gambella Regional State?

What Lies Below: Options to Improve Sustainable Management of U.S./Mexico Transboundary Aquifers

By Christina Welch, United States of America

 Christina studied three transboundary aquifers shared by two countries and three states (New Mexico/U.S., Texas/U.S., and Chihuahua/MX) within Paseo del Norte study area. This area represent an ideal microcosm to closer examine water management institutions across the local, state, national, and international scales. She assessed the United States and Mexico’s institutional capacity to manage groundwater across each scale. The problem is imminent since the Hueco Bolson transboundary aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for nearly 2 million people and the fresh water is predicted to be completely depleted between 2020-2050. The ultimate objective was to identify which future legal, scientific and economic options can best contribute to more sustainable management of transboundary aquifers without compromising water security in both countries. Through a GIS spatial analysis and 28 interviews with water managers in the Rio Grande/Bravo basin, she found that arguably the most important future step would be to increase public awareness of the aquifer exploitation problem. Second, for water managers to accurately plan for future water demands there should be a binational groundwater model built by scientists on both sides of the border; third, joint economic investment in a groundwater desalination plant located in Ciudad Juarez; fourth, an international treaty or regional joint agreement is necessary to legally support groundwater management efforts.

Water Cooperation and Diplomacy Master

Below a video featuring the graduates and IHE Delft academic staff describing the programme, and sharing experiences and expectations of the graduates.

You can find more information on this joint master via the pages of the partners:

Applications for 2018 will open in autumn 2017. Please e-mail us at if you would like to receive more information about the Master and the next deadline to apply. 

In the right-hand column, a video features the graduates and IHE Delft academic staff describing the programme, and sharing experiences and expectations of the graduates.


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