On Thursday, November 11, 2021, a delegation from the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates visited the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR). The delegation was led by H.E. Dr. Mohamed Al Mualla, the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Education's Academic Affairs.
The esteemed group was welcomed by Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Prof. Noam Weisbrod, Director of the BIDR, briefed the delegation on the research projects underway at the institutes, including studies that examine desertification, water scarcity, desert agriculture, renewable energy, ecosystem dynamics, dryland sustainability, and climate change.
Prof. Weisbrod noted that the BIDR has been researching the water-food-energy nexus for nearly 50 years, long before the current climate crisis became front-page news. The research carried out at the BIDR has become increasingly relevant as countries around the globe must find alternative sources of water, food, and energy.
The UAE delegation also met with Prof. Amit Gross, the Director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, who discussed aquaculture and microplastics transport in rivers and streams. Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch, Director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, and Prof. Shimon Rachmilevitch, Head of the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Food Security in the Desert, discussed food security, as well as the more convivial topic of cultivating vineyards in the desert.