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$1M Grant Launches Mekong Sustainability Project

$1M Grant Launches Mekong Sustainability Project

$1M Grant Launches Mekong Sustainability Project

A Michigan State University interdisciplinary team of faculty and staff is working to foster environmental justice in Southeast Asia. The Henry Luce Foundation’s Initiative on Southeast Asia, or LuceSEA, is providing $1 million in funding to help create the Mekong Culture WELL project.

The Lower Mekong River Basin in mainland Southeast Asia is home to 60 million people in five countries—Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam—with globally significant and diverse cultures, environments and economies. Political volatility, climate change and development pressures such as hydropower damming are challenging WELL (water, ecology, land and livelihoods) security in the region.

“We are grateful for the partnership of the Luce Foundation, which will help us expand work that is critical to forging sustainable and just futures in Southeast Asia and beyond,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “MSU has long been a leader in seeking to meld science with humanities and the lived experiences of local communities. As in Michigan and around the world, indigenous communities in Southeast Asia have been profoundly affected by ongoing transformations to their environments, yet their critical leadership and perspectives have been overlooked for too long.”

The Mekong Culture WELL project will develop resources to build on and support MSU’s interdisciplinary education and research.

“The Mekong River sustains livelihoods and food production across Southeast Asia and, indeed, across the global food system,” said project lead Amanda Flaim, assistant professor in the James Madison College and the College of Social Science. 

The project will integrate satellite and local mapping of the Mekong River to determine how climate change and hydropower damming are reshaping communities in downstream regions. 

Read the full article in MSU Today:


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