Creating Freshwater Collaborations
I was inspired to write a letter after reading the summer issue of Whitman Magazine, theme of creativity, to let you know about complementary efforts I have recently been involved in. The issues of greatest interest to me were the Gary E. Davis '60 letter to the editor about his experience with the United Nations Development Programme in 10 African countries and the joint feature on oceanographer Nancy Prouty '93 and evolutionary biologist Katie Wagner '04-because aspects of their careers overlap with some of my own pursuits.
During the past 17 years, I have held the position of communications and policy specialist at the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while simultaneously spending much of my time living, working and conducting research in Africa. Upon completing my Ph.D. at the University of Michigan examining communities living around Lake Victoria in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, I and a group of professionals from Africa, North America and Europe have been developing the African Center for Aquatic Research and Education (ACARE).
Created last July, ACARE hopes to positively affect policy and management on Africa's Great Lakes, allowing those who depend on these valuable freshwater resources to realize their own vision of livelihoods, justice, equity, democracy and peace. ACARE will do this by training Africa's next generation of freshwater scientists, managers and politicians through experiential education. Additionally, in partnership with African universities, management agencies and research institutes, ACARE is creating a collaborative process by which research can be used to improve the quality of science and information to inform good governance, eventually realizing each country's development agendas, and get closer to meeting the United Nations' 17 sustainable development goals.
Although ACARE-agl-acare.org-is in its infancy, I invite the Whitman community to join us and watch us grow. My vision is that, one day, Whitman and ACARE will have a joint program.
-Ted Lawrence '96, Ann Arbor, Michigan