Maastricht, Netherlands

Geopolitics of Water Wars

when 29 July 2019 - 2 August 2019
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 600

Oil was the reason for various so-called “resource wars” in the twentieth century. In the twenty-first century, however, water wars will become more commonplace. This has at least been suggested by among others a former president of Egypt, a former Secretary-General of the United Nations and various political analysts. This course offers you a stimulating geopolitical approach towards water wars. It explains why states consider fresh water as a strategic natural resource and, more strongly, a national interest. The course further clarifies the role of hydro-politics by introducing several past water conflicts. Contemporary inter-state relations in various transboundary rivers basins are discussed as well, including the Nile, Euphrates/Tigris and Mekong. You apply and expand your knowledge of water conflicts through a group assignment. This assignment revolves around the potential for conflict and cooperation in a few disputed areas. Interactive lectures and roundtable discussions help you prepare for your assignment. Based on all assignments, we explore the places where water wars may start in the twenty-first century, and discuss how such wars could be prevented.

Course leader

L.A.S. van Efferink

Target group

▪ Strong motivation and good command of English are essential to get a pass for the course;
▪ Basic knowledge of (geo)political ideas and/or trends is recommended;
▪ Aimed at Bachelor/ Master/ PhD students in Political Sciences/ International Relations/ Geography/ History/ Economics/ Business/ Media Studies/ Journalism/ Cultural Studies/ Linguistics. If in doubt, please contact Leonhardt for personal course selection advice.

Course aim

▪ Exploring the different ways in which water matters to societies different approaches towards water security.
▪ Recognizing the conflict potential of fresh water among states that share water resources.
▪ Understanding the complexity of transboundary river basins in various regions.
▪ Designing a framework to map the various aspects (e.g. geographical, political, economic, historical and environmental) of potential water wars.
▪ Identifying the options for cooperation between states that claim the same water resources.

Credits info

2 EC
Maastricht Summer School awards academic credit (ECTS) for courses successfully completed during the programme. To include these credits in the curriculum of your degree, you need to obtain official approval from the responsible department at your home institution.

Upon completion of a course, the Maastricht Summer School issues a transcript. The transcript states the student’s name, student ID-number, the grade or Pass/Fail and the number of ECTS credits.

Fee info

EUR 600: This 1-week course costs €600,-.