From 12 to 14 June, the Thematic Alumni Event on ‘Water, Food, and Gender’ took place in Bogota, Colombia. The event was organized by IHE Delft, in partnership with the Netherlands Alumni Association of Colombia the Holland House, and the Academic Research Partnerships, with the financial support of Nuffic. Twenty alumni from Colombia and Peru participated, as well as 10 professionals from partner institutions and stakeholders.
Mr. Joris W. P Jurriens, the adviser of the Royal Netherlands Embassy of Colombia, opened the event, highlighting the years of collaboration between the Netherlands and Colombia. Prof. Juan Saldarriaga from the University of Los Andes welcomed the group and informed participants about the Academic Research Partnerships, a new collaboration signed among educational institutions from Colombia and the Netherlands, including IHE Delft. One of the initiatives will bring new possibilities of student exchange, research, and projects.The coordinators of the activity, Dr. Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero, Dr. Leonardo Alfonso and Ms. Maria L. Sorrentino, introduced the Thematic Event, a new initiative from Nuffic, and explained the programme and the importance of the topic chosen.
The event was structured over two days, with the main sessions focussing on the consequences of climate change in rural landscapes, including food security and urban water/gender intersections. The sessions highlighted the ways in which water production and evacuation reflect wider tensions - of gender, race, and class formation - in the country’s society. The programme was honoured by the attendance of Dr. Angelica Lozano, National Congress Woman of Colombia Green Party, who talked about the right to water law, at this moment being discussed in the Colombian parliament. Dr. Alejandro Camargo, from Montreal University, gave a session about food security and climate change, future and forgotten past in Colombia. Dr. Tatiaba Acevedo Guerrero addressed the problems Colombia has experienced in the past decade, of catastrophic floods associated with the global intensification of the La Nina phenomenon in the cities, persistent rains and flash-flooding events that have influenced the emergence of vector-borne diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya, and most recently, Zika.
Discussion times gave attendees the opportunity to reflect on the topics and share their work experiences and challenges. During the breaks, the participants took the opportunity to network. Some sessions were open to all alumni living in Bogota, which increased the networking and participation. A session was dedicated to alumni policy and initiatives, where Ms. Maria L.Sorrentino, Alumni Relations Officer, launched the project ´Alumni in action´ and explained the activities that IHE Delft is undertaking and ways to keep connected. Alumni discussed their needs and best practices and discussed future topic proposals and ideas. Ms Carolina Salgado, IHE alumna and member of the Netherlands Alumni Association, described the activities the group is performing and invited the community to be part of the Association.
One outcome of the event was a list of actions regarding potential education and research projects, capacity building topics and business opportunities to be addressed in future events or projects. This list of actions was worked out separately in each session, and discussed in the plenary session. Alumni evaluated the experience as very positive, underlining the importance of strengthening relations among alumni living in the same country. The selected topics were very much appreciated because they gave the possibility to engineers to consider a new approach that includes social science, history, and anthropology. An Alumni Gathering took place, attended by 35 alumni. The event provided alumni with the opportunity to meet and greet, strengthen and create new relations, as well as receiving an update about IHE Delft, the Colombian Alumni Association, Nuffic and the Holland Alumni network.
Found more information about the Thematic Alumni Event, read more here.