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Session 07: Dr. David Smith- Water and Conflict in Central Asia?

SESSION 7: Dr. David Smith- Water and Conflict in Central Asia?
Date: January 12th, 2011
Location: Dicke Forum
Time: 7:00 PM

Summary:  Dr. Smith's presentation "Water and Conflict in Central Asia?" was an extremely intriguing geographical perspective considering water conflicts and tensions in several countries in central Asia.  Based upon his extensive travels to Tajikistan and other areas, Dr. Smith has had some first-hand experience with these areas of conflict.  Dr. Smith explained that throughout his career, he has tried to come to a conclusion as to whether water was a source of tension, or a resource used for uniting countries. 

Smith seemed to come to the conclusion that it was a dividing power for the countries of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan.  In an area which was used by the Soviet Union for agricultural production, especially cotton, and a biochemical testing site, these countries in central Asia have been drastically affected by geographic politics.  The countries in the mountains, especially Tajikistan, need the water to generate power in their dams in the winter, whereas the more agriculturally productive countries in the valleys need access in the spring and summer for their crops.  As water in the area is disappearing, and the countries are finding it to be one of their major resources, it is becoming a major point of contention for these central Asian countries.  Dr. Smith's presentation was both informative and extremely interesting. 

Dr. David Smith

Ph.D. Geography - University of Chicago
M.A.  Geography - University of Chicago
B.A. Russion/Soviet Area Studies - Kent State University, Ohio