Notice: From Nile Delta To Columbia Basin, OSU Science Pub To Look At Navigating Difficult Issues Across Cultural, Political Boundaries

Hassan Latif, Egyptologist and a former curator at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo, and Aaron Wolf, a geography professor at Oregon State University, will discuss how the movement and availability of water change cultures and influence politics at the June 3 Science Pub Corvallis.

The presentation begins at 6 p.m. at the Whiteside Theatre, 361 SW Madison Avenue.

Water connects history, geography, culture and politics, sometimes in surprising ways. This presentation will explore the impacts of dams and development in two places — Egypt and the Pacific Northwest. In both regions, communities and cultural treasures were threatened and, in some cases, destroyed by waters rising behind dams that were built to generate electricity, reduce downstream flooding and irrigate crops.

The two speakers will share their extensive knowledge of these water management projects and efforts to navigate difficult issues across cultural and political boundaries.

The discussion will explore life along the Nile River and the movement of people and antiquities with the building of the Aswan Dam. It will examine the similarities between what Egypt and the Pacific Northwest are experiencing in water politics and management practices and compare how water variability is managed in the Columbia basin and the Nile Delta.

Latif spent a year working with the excavation of a pre-dynastic site south of Cairo and two years as a curator at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. The museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

“I grew up in Cairo and have spent nearly 30 years guiding visitors, lecturing and tutoring,” Latif said. “What we have learned with the creation of the Aswan Dam can be applied to similar situations around the world.”

Latif leads tour groups throughout Egypt from American universities, including a recent group traveling with the OSU Alumni Association. OSU President Ed Ray was part of the alumni association group and will give opening remarks at Science Pub.

Wolf initially trained as a water scientist and often met with people who were upset with one another because of competing interests or demands for water from their local river or lake.

“I applied my science background to convince them that a solution was at hand,” he said. “It usually didn’t work.”

This experience shifted Wolf’s career to conflict resolution. He discovered that neither science nor the Western model of resolving conflicts was enough to engage many groups. He began looking at how people of faith addressed conflict to see if there were lessons he could translate into the world of water rights and discovered applicable strategies.

Science Pub is free and open to the public, but due to its continuing popularity, registration is required. People can register online at or by contacting University Events at 541-737-4717 or [email protected]. If registration is closed (fully booked), walk-ins are welcome, but people who arrive without a ticket will not be admitted to the reserved seating area until 6 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.

Podcasts of previous Corvallis Science Pub events on topics such as “Technology in the Fields” and “From Wolves to the Warning to Humanity: Facing the Environmental Crisis through Science” are available at

This special Science Pub is a partnership between the Oregon State University Alumni Association and the following sponsors: Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

For accommodations for disabilities or questions, contact University Events at 541-737-4717 or [email protected]

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