EcoPeace Middle East co-founders Gidon Bromberg and Munqeth Mehyer were honored with the 2018 Stanford Bright Award for the organization’s use of environmental sustainability as an avenue to promote peace in the region.
The award, which is conferred by the Stanford Law School (SLS), recognizes work in promoting global sustainability. Each winner is given the opportunity to deliver a guest lecture at the University and is granted $100,000.
The award was conferred to Bromberg and Mehyer for their outstanding work in the field of environmental peacebuilding as EcoPeace Middle East is the first transnational environmental group in the Middle East. The organization was also recognized as being a collaborative non-profit composed of Israelis, Palestinians, and Jordanians.
In over thirty years of its existence, the organization has been at the forefront of resolving conflicts related to water conservation and sanitation in the region.
In 2013, Bromberg facilitated cooperation between Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian stakeholders to rehabilitate the Jordan River. EcoPeace Middle East was able to bridge barriers between these peoples in order to see water from the Jordan River reach the sea of Galilee, the first time fresh water has been allowed to flow between the two bodies of water in over ten years.
The organization’s focus on water has been foundational to their work in the region as Bromberg stated, “People need to understand that the water crisis that the region suffers is a national security crisis…It’s way beyond the environment; it goes to the heart of survival in the region.”
The Stanford awards ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on EcoPeace Middle East’s work in the region. Moderated by the director of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Program at the United States Institute of Peace Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen and the Climate One Founder Greg Dalton, the discussion centered on how the organization is able to navigate the delicate intersection of sustainability and politics.
In accepting the award, Mehyer stated:
We stand humble, but feeling huge power knowing that people like you are seeing our work as important…When we started EcoPeace, we never imagined that we would be standing here at Stanford, talking about it 25 years later.
Photo Credit: The Stanford Daily
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