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IU Northwest professor to lecture on climate change policy at U.S. State Department's Foreign Service Institute

Apr. 27, 2016

Kalim Shah, assistant professor of public and environmental affairs at IU Northwest, has been invited to give a series of guest lectures at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Washington DC. The center trains U.S. State Department and other federal employees who are often deployed abroad. Shah’s lectures are part of the center’s Caribbean/Central American Area Studies program.

kalim shah

Kalim Shah | PHOTO BY ERIKA ROSE, IU NORTHWEST

“One focus of the lectures will be climate change’s impact on poor and vulnerable populations in the region,” Shah said, “particularly the fact that climate could adversely impact the economies of these closely bordering neighbors to the United States, increasing the demand for aid and conceivably resulting in the rise of new immigrants, known as climate refugees.” 

Shah will also address the possible link climate change and the increase in insect-borne diseases, including the Zika virus.

The George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center tapped Shah because of his expertise on climate change policy in the Caribbean and specifically his perspective on the challenges facing both policy makers as well as the private sector community.

“For me, this opportunity to engage with our foreign services officers on the region’s climate change issues is a serious responsibility,” Shah said. “The more I can emphasize to them the real social and economic development implications of climate change for the region, the more hopeful I am that this stays squarely on the U.S. foreign policy agenda.”

Shah is lead policy expert for the Latin American and Caribbean assessment of the upcoming United Nation’s sixth Global Environment Outlook report. He says that some of the themes of his lectures such as intensified extreme weather events including hurricanes and droughts, increasing already harsh socio-economic stresses in the region, will be reflected in that report expected to be released later this year.

Shah has been on the faculty at IU Northwest’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs since 2013. He is a well-regarded expert on environmental policy and management in small emerging economies. 

Shah moved to the U.S. in 2003 as a Fulbright Scholar and earned his doctorate in Public Policy and Environmental Science from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. He grew up in Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean and much of his research is focused on sustainable development of the region.

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