News & Information

Sac State hosts Mideast water expert


Nadia Al-Mudaffar Fawzi in a Marsh Arab village in Iraq. The University of Basra, Iraq, associate professor and water expert will present a series of lectures at Sacramento State.
* Updated 9/8/11

Hima Mesopotamia will present lectures by visiting researcher Nadia Al-Mudaffar Fawzi at Sacramento State from Sept. 6-12. Fawzi, an associate professor of Marine and Environmental Pollution, and head of the Research and Development Department, Marine Science Center, University of Basra, Iraq, is a specialist in the water needs of her region.

Fawzi’s visit provides a unique opportunity for Sac State students and faculty, and area residents to get a closer look into research being done in the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq (recently featured on 60 Minutes and the Nature documentary Braving Iraq). Fawzi also provides insights about the life of Iraqi women.

Her tentative schedule:
• Wednesday, Sept. 7: Environmental Studies and Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies seminar, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Mendocino Hall 1015.
• Friday, Sept. 9: fundraiser talk: "The Desertification of Eden: Stories From the Marsh Arabs," 6-10 p.m. at the Kiwanis Family House, 2875 50th St., Sacramento. There will be light Middle Eastern refreshments.  Request a donation of $15 for adults and $10 students; free for children.
•  Monday, Sept. 12: Sacramento State Forum on Iraqi women, noon-1 p.m. at Sequoia Hall, Room 318, broadcast by Channel 17 or at *This event has been canceled.

Fawzi researches ecosystem degradation, restoration and the socioeconomic conditions of the indigenous population, the Marsh Arabs. They managed the marsh ecosystem for thousands of years and became the subjects of genocide at the hands of Saddam Hussein, who drained the Iraqi wetlands, an area twice the size of the Everglades, to flush out resistance.

As a part of the environmental research project conducted by the Marine Science Center at Basra University, a mostly female team of Iraqi scientists is working closely with the Marsh Arab communities under the leadership of Professors Kadhmia W. Al-Ghezzy and Fawzi.

The study evaluates the effects of environmental change on people’s daily lives, particularly the welfare of women and children. Women and children are an underrepresented group. Unlike previous studies, Fawzi and Al-Ghezzy focus on the linkage between environmental conditions and changes that happened to the human community.

Fawzi’s overarching message is that current ecological and cultural restoration efforts are suffering from a lack of an adequate, clean water supply.

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– Alan Miller