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Eric Abitbol

Associate Fellow

B.A. Honours (McGill University)
M.Sc. (London School of Economics and Political Science)
PhD (Peace Studies, University of Bradford)

Research interests
Cooperation in conflict environments, on issues of water in the Middle East. He is interested in exploring the culture of cooperation and practices of conflict transformation, how they are shaped by ideology, risk-taking and innovative action, as well as their political significance stemming from their public (overt) and private (covert) qualities, with respect to the Dead Sea and Jordan River Basin. His corollary interests include popular education, dialogue processes, social movements and social change. He is undertaking PhD studies at the Department of Peace Studies at Bradford University (UK) and is also a Researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies (YCISS).

Long time media activist, conflict transformation practitioner and writer, Eric Abitbol organizes workshops, publishes magazines, produces radio documentaries, creates spaces, and relates to the planet’s many bodies of water. He has published a book on children and armed conflicts (Up In Arms: The Role of Young People in Conflict and Peacemaking, Eric Abitbol and Christopher Louise, International Alert, 1995). Before starting Doctoral studies, Eric Abitbol coordinated the University of the Streets Café popular education program (univcafe.concordia.ca) as Resident Resource Person at the Institute in Management and Community Development, Centre for Continuing Education, Concordia University. He is also the Director of Peacemedia–paixmédia.

On January 24, 2007, Eric joined with IRIS Executive member/YorkU professor Stuart Schoenfeld in a presentation entitled “Alternative Visions of Water in the Middle East: The Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal”, sponsored by the University Consortium on the Global South at York University. The duo walked us through the proposal by the World Bank to fund a two-year feasibility study, exploring the possibility of a mega-project canal to connect the north end of the Red Sea to the dwindling Dead Sea. The geographical, cultural and political background was presented, along with the many criticisms which have already surfaced concerning the project. The Red–Dead Canal is an issue worth keeping an eye on.

Selected Publications
Book Chapters
Abitbol, Eric and Stuart Schoenfeld (2009) “Constructing an Adaptive Regional Vision of Water Development in the Jordan River Basin” in Lipchin, Clive, Deborah Sandler and Emily Cushman (eds.) The Jordan and Dead Sea Basin: A Regional and International Environmental Challenge, NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme (Dordrecht: Springer).

Articles
Abitbol, Eric (2009) “Developing Water and Marginalising Israel/Palestinian Peace: A Critical Examination of the Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal Feasibility Study Process” Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Vol.5, No.1.

Abitbol, Eric and Stuart Schoenfeld (February 2009) “Adaptive Visions of Water in the Middle East: Lessons from a Regional Water Planning Initiative” York Centre for International and Security Studies (YCISS) Working Paper No.50.

Biography
Chevening scholar Eric Abitbol is a Doctoral Candidate (ABD) at the University of Bradford’s world-renown Department of Peace Studies (in Britain). His FQRSC-funded research investigates the peaceable significance of what he refers to as a transboundary hydro-communitarian imaginaire. Grounded in a narrative and action research methodology, Abitbol studies reflexive visioning as a practice of transgressive peacebuilding with water practitioners in conflict environments, notably the Israel/Palestinian conflict in the Jordan River Basin.

Eric Abitbol was the co-coordinator of the AVOW research project – Adaptive Visions of Water in the Middle East, housed at York University’s IRIS with the support of YCISS. He was the founding coordinator of the University of the Streets Café public conversation initiative (Institute in Community Development, Concordia University), and for many years published and edited Cantilevers peace and conflict resolution magazine. He is currently a Board Member of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development based at the American University in Washington, DC. He has worked for International Alert (UK), the Minority Rights Group (UK), WaterAid (UK) and other INGOs.

A researcher-practitioner, Eric Abitbol maintains a peace research, publishing and consulting practice, Peacemedia-paixmédia. Currently, he teaches political science at Concordia University (Montreal) and conflict studies at Saint-Paul University (Ottawa).

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