Session 5

Thursday, May 2, 2013
4:00 - 5:30 pm
Carr Center Conference Room (R-219)


Annette Huber-Lee and Nidal al-Azraq


"Water and the Wall: Contrasts in Access between Israel and Palestine"

About the presentation:

Annette Huber-Lee and Nidal al-Azraq will present their work on improving access to adequate and safe water for Palestinians in the West Bank and hope to foster a discussion about appropriate scales of intervention given the complexity of institutions and politics in the region. In her work in the region over the past decade, Dr. Huber-Lee has been working with national governments, universities, non-government organizations and international donors on using an economics-based approach to understand the tradeoffs in how water is currently allocated across Palestine, Jordan and Israel. She will describe the history of how water is currently allocated among the three parties, as well as the highly political processes of the allocations of water between Israel and the West Bank which have led to increasingly less water supply per capita in the West Bank since the 1990s Oslo agreements. Mr. al-Azraq will then describe how this has played out in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, and our joint research which highlights not only the shortage of water, but as a result more than 30 percent of the drinking water reaching taps in the camp is contaminated with coliform bacteria.

About the presenters: 

Annette Huber-Lee, PhD is currently a Visiting Scholar at Tufts University. Prior to joining Tufts, she was the Asia Center Director for the Stockholm Environment Institute in Bangkok, Thailand. She has spent almost 20 years working on deepening the understanding of water, economics and equity in the Middle East. She received a doctoral degree in engineering sciences from Harvard University, a master’s degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Cornell University.

Nidal Al-Azraq is a Palestinian refugee who was born and raised in Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, the West Bank, Palestine. Nidal volunteered at Lajee Center, a youth organization in Aida camp, from 2001-2003, where he co-directed a youth play, and acted in the title role of a play performed in three cities in the West Bank. He went on to be the administrative director of Lajee Center, from 2003-2006. Since then, he has continued to work with Lajee in return trips, coordinating international summer camps that bring together international volunteers and Palestinian youth, teaching human rights, and leading a delegation of Palestinian youth to Belgium for a cultural exchange program. In the United States since 2005, he has taught Arabic to children in the Chicago and Boston areas, done translation work, and conducted academic research. He also worked on a documentary, Degrees of Incarceration, and published “A Refugee’s Childhood in the West Bank,” co-authored with Amahl Bishara, in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion (University of Chicago Press 2009). He also co-wrote with Bishara The Boy and the Wall (2005), a bilingual children’s book produced with Lajee Center, published in the West Bank. This book received the Psychologists for Social Responsibility’s 2008 Josephine “Scout” Wollman Fuller Award for the promotion of peace and social justice in the Middle East. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree with Honors from Harvard Extension School, Dean’s List Academic Achievement Award, and Derek Bok Public Service Prize. He is currently working with Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights as a mobilization organizer in the U.S. He teaches Arabic with Center for Arabic Culture in the Boston area. He works as interpreter with Greater Boston Legal Services.