Iran’s Environmental Challenges

June 26, 2018 - 3:00 pm

Washington, DC
Environmental degradation has become a major issue in Iran. It is a source of economic hardship, ill health, social disruption and recent political protests. Climate change has been a factor in this deterioration but so has mismanagement of the country’s once ample natural resources. The Atlantic Council's Future of Iran Initiative invites you to a discussion of Iran’s environmental challenges and the launch of a new paper, Environmental and Wildlife Degradation in Iran, by David Laylin, an ecologist with extensive personal ties and experience in rural Iran.

The discussion will be held June 26, 2018 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at the Atlantic Council. The event is open to press and on the record. 

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Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) 
Washington, DC 

This event is open to press and on the record. 

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info


A conversation with:

David Laylin

Susanne Schmeier
Senior Lecturer
IHE Delft

Glenn Schweitzer
Director, Office for Central Europe and Eurasia
   The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

Moderated by:

Barbara Slavin
Director, Future of Iran Initiative
Atlantic Council


David Laylin is an ecologist with extensive personal ties and experience in rural Iran both before and after the 1979 revolution. He has promoted US-Iran scientific information exchanges leading to improved wetland conservation and water management practices in Iran, with a particular focus is on the Helmand/Hirmand River and challenges to the Hamoun wetlands.
Susanne Schmeier
is a senior lecturer in water law and security at IHE Delft in The Netherlands. Until recently, she worked at the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German development cooperation agency, coordinating GIZ’s trans-boundary water management portfolio and managing GIZ’s water, energy and food security program. In this capacity, she has developed GIZ’s engagement on water management with Iran since 2015. She has worked with a number of international organizations, governments and river basin organizations on water resources management, water security and international environmental issues. She holds a PhD in water resources governance and an LLM in international environmental law.

Glenn E. Schweitzer is director of the Office for Central Europe and Eurasia at the National Academies in Washington. Schweitzer was the first science officer stationed at the US Embassy in Moscow from 1963 to 1966. In 1994, he was appointed the first executive director of the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow, an intergovernmental organization that provided support for redirection of former Soviet weapon scientists to civilian research endeavors. In 1999, Schweitzer began facilitating cooperation between the US National Academies and the Iranian Academies of Sciences and Medicine, Iranian universities, and other research centers in Iran. In 2010 his book, “US-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health (2000-2009): Opportunities, Constraints, and Impacts,” was published in English and Farsi. His latest book, “US-Iran Engagement in Science Engineering, and Health (2010-2016): A Resilient Program but an Uncertain Future,” was published in 2017. Schweitzer has bachelor and master degrees in engineering and considerable experience in addressing environmental issues as a senior EPA official.

Barbara Slavin is the director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council and a columnist for, a website devoted to news from and about the Middle East. The author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and the Twisted Path to Confrontation (2007), she is a regular commentator on US foreign policy and Iran on NPR, PBS, and C-SPAN.A career journalist, Slavin previously served as assistant managing editor for world and national security of the Washington Times, senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, Cairo correspondent for the Economist, and as an editor at the New York Times Week in Review. She has covered such key foreign policy issues as the US-led war on terrorism, policy toward "rogue" states, the Iran-Iraq war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. She has traveled to Iran nine times. Slavin also served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she wrote Bitter Friends, and as a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote the report Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East.