MIT alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel gives major gift to solve urgent challenges in world food and water security | MIT News

Professor John Lienhard will lead the new laboratory.

MIT News Office, May 6, 2014, Press Inquiries

MIT has received a major gift from alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78 aimed at ensuring the world’s food and water supply for the 21st century.

The gift establishes the Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS), named in honor of Mr Jameel’s late father, to spearhead research that will help humankind adapt to a rapidly changing planet and combat world-wide water and food-supply scarcity. In addition, the lab will elevate the Institute’s commitment to address the collective pressure of population growth, urbanization, and climate variability — factors that endanger food and water systems in developing and developed countries alike.

“Ensuring sustainable and affordable access to food and water for all is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. Jameel’s generosity will spur action at MIT and around the world to make real progress on acute food and water insecurity as well as energize MIT’s efforts to tackle the broadest questions about how we ensure sustainability,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “This extraordinary commitment is an investment in the health and future of the planet that will benefit people worldwide, and we are extremely grateful.”

Currently, an estimated 1 billion people lack reliable access to water, and 2 billion suffer chronic hunger or malnutrition. World population is projected to grow from about 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. “The acute problems already before us will only intensify with rising population,” Jameel said. “It is the mission of this lab to develop solutions on a grand scale. Toward that end, I have challenged the lab to set the goal of reaching half a billion people by 2025.”

(read more).

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J-WAFS Home | Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab

J-WAFS works towards environmentally benign, scalable solutions for water and food systems across a range of regional, social, and economic contexts by incubating technologies and fostering innovative regional collaborations.

“We can substantially expand the world’s fresh water supply by developing low-cost, energy-efficient, and environmentally benign methods of desalination and reuse.”

Global Climate Change
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New program aims to commercialize innovations in food and water | MIT News

“J-WAFS Solutions” will provide seed funding for promising new approaches to water, food supply.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office, April 30, 2015

Press Inquiries

A new program, launched today by MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS), will provide initial start-up funding to identify technologies intended to improve food supplies, or meet needs for clean water, and move those technologies into commercialization. The new program, called “J-WAFS Solutions,” is expected to provide funding for about 15 projects over the next five years.

J-WAFS was originally established in 2014 to spearhead research that will help humankind adapt its water and food supplies to a rapidly rising population and to the pressures of climate change, urbanization, and development.

The J-WAFS Solutions program builds on the successful model of MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, providing funding for research conducted by MIT students, postdocs, and faculty. The funds are intended to advance these technologies to the point where they are positioned to attract venture funding and establish themselves as new companies.

The program is being sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI) via a significant grant over a duration of five years. J-WAFS itself was established through a gift from alumnus Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel ’78; the agreement for J-WAFS Solutions was formally signed on April 23 by his son, Hassan Jameel, and MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

…(read more).

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Politicians Who Don’t Value Science Could Bring ‘The End Of An Informed Democracy’

“If you gain 10 pounds this month, you don’t say, ‘Repeal gravity!'”

   Ryan Buxton Senior Editor, HuffPost Live

Posted: 08/28/2015 10:16 AM EDT

Science plays a role in nearly every aspect of our lives from the economy, to the environment, to global health. But it seems like these science-related issues are not a top priority for the men and women who are vying to lead the country in the 2016 presidential race.

For instance, the first Republication presidential debate of the year significantly lacked mention of such issues — and that doesn’t sit well with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

The astrophysicist and host of “StarTalk” appeared on HuffPost Live on Thursday to talk with host Josh Zepps about his problem with politicians who don’t value science — or who only value the science that aligns with their political views.

“If you start cherry-picking science, that’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy,” Tyson said.

He noted that Abraham Lincoln founded the National Academy of Sciences in 1863 to provide the government with “unbiased” scientific advice. Now, however, more and more politicians prefer to pick and choose what science-related issues are worth focusing on.

…(read more).

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“George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People”: Reflections on Kanye West’s Cr iticism 10 Years After


Democracy Now!

Published on Aug 28, 2015

Democracynow.org – On Sept. 2, 2005, during a nationally televised telethon benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina, hip-hop legend Kanye West went off script to directly criticize the media and the White House’s handling of the storm. “I hate the way they portray us in the media,” he said. “If you see a black family, it says they’re looting. If you see a white family, it says they’re searching for food.” West went on to say, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Bush later wrote in his memoir that this moment was an all-time low of his presidency.

Global Climate Change
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An Unequal Recovery in New Orleans: Racial Disparities Grow in City 10 Years After Katrina


Democracy Now!

Published on Aug 28, 2015

Democracynow.org – We spend the hour today marking the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 people, forcing more than a million people to evacuate. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has become a different city. The population is now about 385,000—about 80 percent of its pre-Katrina population. The number of African Americans has plunged by nearly 100,000 since the storm. According to the Urban League, the income gap between black and white residents has increased 37 percent since 2005. Thousands of homes, many in African-American neighborhoods, remain abandoned. On Thursday, President Obama spoke in New Orleans, remembering what happened 10 years ago. “We came to realize that what started out as a natural disaster became a man-made disaster — a failure of government to look out for its own citizens,” Obama said. We speak to actor Wendell Pierce, Monique Harden of the New Orleans-based Advocates for Environmental Human Rights, and Gary Rivlin, author of “Katrina: After the Flood.”

Global Climate Change
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Shock Doctrine: A Look at the Mass Privatization of NOLA Schools in Storm’ s Wake & Its Effects Today


Democracy Now!

Published on Aug 28, 2015

Democracynow.org – Just two weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the city fired 7,500 public school teachers, launching a new push to privatize the school system and build a network of charter schools. Many accused lawmakers of trying to break the powerful United Teachers of New Orleans union. Today former President George W. Bush will return to the city to speak at the Warren Easton Charter High School. We speak to the New Orleans actor and activist Wendell Pierce, whose mother was a teacher and union member for 40 years, as well Gary Rivlin, author of “Katrina: After the Flood.” He recently wrote a piece for The New York Times titled “Why New Orleans’s Black Residents Are Still Underwater After Katrina.”

Global Climate Change
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