Women Plus Water - Water Diplomacy Navigating the Space Between Common Goals and Competing Visions

GWF Events

Dr. Kelsey Leonard will host a panel discussion on water diplomacy from the perspective of Indigenous Waters, social and environmental innovation, and water governance.

Women Plus Water - Water Diplomacy Navigating the Space Between Common Goals and Competing Visions

Women Plus Water Lecture Series

Water Diplomacy Navigating the Space Between Common Goals and Competing Visions

Dr. Kelsey Leonard will host a panel discussion on water diplomacy from the perspective of Indigenous Waters, social and environmental innovation, and water governance. Guests Dr. Margot Hulbert, Fooman Forough, Elizabeth Koch & Merrell-Anne Phare will share their expertise and insights on the topic. For more information on the topic, check out the Water Diplomacy Global Network’s recent global strategy on ‘A Path Forward for Women, Water, Peace and Security’.

Thursday, January 12, 2023
12:30 - 1:30 CST
Online (Zoom)

For more information on Women Plus Water, click below to visit the website!

Women Plus Water

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  • Dr. Kelsey Leonard
    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo


  • Dr. Margot Hurlbert
    Canada Research Chair in Climate Change, Energy and Sustainability Policy
    Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina
  • Foman Forough
    Member of the Women in Water Management Network in Central Asia and Afghanistan
    Former General Director of Kabul River Basin (NWARA)
  • Elizabeth A. Koch
    Senior Manager, Environmental Law Institute & Shared Waters Partnership Program, SIWI
  • Merrell-Anne Phare
    Canadian Commissioner, International Joint Commission

More Info

Dr. Kelsey Leonard
Dr. Kelsey Leonard holds a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Waters, Climate and Sustainability and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Environment, Resources, and Sustainability in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, where her research focuses on Indigenous water justice and its climatic, territorial, and governance underpinnings. As a water scientist and legal scholar, Dr. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policymaking. She represents the Shinnecock Indian Nation on the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean, which is charged with protecting America's ocean ecosystems and coastlines. She also serves as a member of the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission. Dr. Leonard received an A.B. in Sociology and Anthropology with honors from Harvard University, a MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management from the University of Oxford, a JD from Duquesne University, and PhD in Political Science from McMaster University. She has been recognized as a 30 under 30 world environmental leader by the North American Association for Environmental Education and a “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipient by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Dr. Leonard has been instrumental in safeguarding the interests of Indigenous Nations for environmental planning and builds Indigenous science and knowledge into new solutions for water governance and sustainable oceans. In collaboration with a global team of water law scholars Dr. Leonard has published in Lewis and Clark Law Review on Indigenous Water Justice and the defining international legal principle of self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Her recent scholarship explores legal personhood for water and her TEDTalk “Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans” has over 3 million views. Dr. Leonard is a member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature Academic Hub and affiliate of the Earth Law Center. She is an enrolled citizen of Shinnecock Indian Nation. Follow her on Twitter @KelseyTLeonard or visit her website at www.kelseyleonard.com.

Dr. Margot Hurlbert
Margot has a B. Admin. (Great Distinction) from the University of Regina (1985), an LL.B. (Osgoode) (1987), an LL.M. (Osgoode) (2005) in Constitutional Law with a focus on energy, natural resource, indigenous and environmental issues, and a Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam) in Social and Behaviour Sciences with a thesis “Adaptive Governance of Disaster: Drought and Flood in Rural Areas” published by Springer. Her research interests focus on energy, climate change, agriculture, and water.

Margot has led and participated in many SSHRC, NSERC and IDRC research projects, serves on the editorial boards of international journals, is a Senior Research Fellow of the Earth Systems Governance Project. Margot is Coordinating Lead Author of a chapter of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Land (2019) and Climate and a Review Editor and Contributing Author for AR6 (WGI and WGII)(2021/2022). She also works on Future Earth’s Earth Commission Working Group on Transformations (2019-2022).

Foman Forough
Foman Forough holds an MSc of Hydraulics structure from Ferdowsi University and served at the National Water Affairs Regulation Authority ( as General Director of Kabul River Basin, the largest basin in Afghanistan, before the Taliban captured Kabul in 2021. Foman has extensive experience in transboundary water management serving in various capacities at NWARA including as acting director of water allocation, dam and river adviser, and hydraulic structure design specialist. In addition, Foman has taught courses on hydraulic structure at Kateb Private University and is a proud board member of the Afghanistan Infrastructure Transparency Initiate ( which works in the field of transparency in infrastructure projects, access to information, and the clean up against corruption.

Elizabeth A. Koch
Elizabeth A Koch (former Yaari) leads the Women in Water Diplomacy Network’s Process Support Team, supporting the Network’s development since inception. In 2022, she began a new role as Senior Manager of International Programmes at the Environmental Law Institute where she will continue to work to support environmental peacebuilding programmes including the Women in Water Diplomacy Network. She has over 15 years of experience supporting water diplomacy engagements in conflict sensitive basins on behalf of SIWI’s Shared Waters Partnership programme, the UNESCO Category II International Centre for Water Cooperation, and EcoPeace Middle East.

Merrell Ann Phare
Merrell Ann Phare is a lawyer, writer, strategist, negotiator and relationship builder who worked extensively in and with indigenous organizations on environmental, land, water, rights and governance issues. She, along with 10 First Nation Chiefs, was the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources ( a national First Nation charitable environmental organization. As Chief Negotiator for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Ms Phare lead the negotiation of transboundary water agreements in the Mackenzie River Basin and the creation of Thaidene Nene, a national and territorial park in the east arm of Great Slave Lake. She is the author of the book “Denying the Source the Crisis of First Nations Water Rights” and co-author of “Ethical Water”. She is a member of the Forum for Leadership on Water, Smart Prosperity's Leadership Council, and is a recipient of Canada's Clean 50 Award. She served as legal counsel and advisor to a number of First Nation and Metis governments and organizations. Ms Phare holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics (Environmental) Bachelor of Laws, Master of Law (Aboriginal Water Rights and International Trade Law) from the University of Manitoba a Master of Fine Arts (Creative Writing) from University of British Columbia. She resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Event Details

12:30 PM - 01:30 PM CST