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John F. Kolars

John F. Kolars, professor of Near Eastern studies and geography, retired from active faculty status at the University of Michigan on May 31, 1994, after a distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and social scientist.

He came to the University of Michigan in 1964 as an assistant professor of geography; he was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and professor in 1971. In 1981, he received the additional appointment of professor of Near Eastern studies. From 1984-85, and again in 1989, he served as distinguished visiting professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Since 1977, he has regularly lectured on the topic, "The Middle East as an Ecosystem," for the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute.

Professor Kolars is a consummate geographer who has combined scholarship with practical applications. His early works are widely referenced in the cultural geography literature for both content and methodological example. For the last two decades, his scholarship has focused on water issues in the Middle East, especially the Euphrates-Tigris and Litani river basins. Professor Kolars has offered a neutral voice in this volatile region, allowing him to act as a go-between on sensitive issues that divide the hostile parties. He is effective in this turbulent arena because his geographical approach combines deep knowledge and insight about the area's diverse cultures with an understanding of the physical and environmental processes that characterize the region.

In 2008, Prof. Kolars generously contributed original papers and books collected over his years as one of the premiere researchers on the geography of the Middle East, especially as related to the international waters of the Tigris and Euphrates river basins.

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John G. Laylin

The donations of John G. Laylin include : journal and newspaper articles, books and other documents concerning water desalination, waters of the Euphrates and Tigris and Helmand rivers, water issues in Iraq and Jordan, political and population growth influences. The collection includes maps focused on water issues.

David Laylin, who contributed the collection, writes about his father:

From a Roman maxim, "Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedes" (Use your own that you hurt not others), he was able - through scholarly articles and presentations at international conferences - to gain international acceptance of the principle that international rivers should be shared equitably. Based on this principle and with great cooperation from the World Bank, the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 was signed between India and Pakistan. It still holds today, despite two wars fought in the meantime.

Dad represented Iran in many cases, over a period of more than thirty years, starting with the Azerbaijan case against Russia, at the Security Council of the UN, in 1946. With respect to the Helmand River dispute, he was able to prove to everybody's satisfaction, that Iran had traditionally used a certain amount of the waters of the Helmand, amassing much data from extensive engineering studies. This led to the Treaty, which was signed in 1973, but not then ratified because of the ensuing political turmoil - first in Afghanistan and then also in Iran.

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Thomas Naff

Thomas Naff is Professor Emeritus of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IES) at the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving advanced degrees at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London and at the University of California at Berkeley, Prof. Naff taught at the American University at Cairo, where he was the co-founder of the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA). He then became the Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania, and later founder and director of Penn's Middle East Research Institute which later became the Middle East Water Information Network and finally, the IES Water Resources Database.

In his decades at the University of Pennsylvania, Prof. Naff has taught, published, and lectured on a wide range of Middle Eastern subjects, covering the period from the advent of Islam to the present day. He pioneered study of the interaction of water resources and political decision-making with his landmark book, Water in the Middle East, co-authored with Ruth Matson in 1984, in addition to dozens of other seminal articles on the topic.

The donations of Thomas Naff include: journal and newspaper articles, books and other documents concerning planned development in the Middle East.  Different perspectives are discussed including political and regional influences as well as agricultural development, dams, irrigation and natural influences.

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Institute for Water and WatershedsProgram in Water Conflict Management and Transportation Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences