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SU's Polkinghorn Helps Facilitate Jordan River Development

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, executive director of Salisbury University’s Center for Conflict Resolution, recently traveled to Oxford to help facilitate regional development between Israel, Palestine and Jordan.  He was a keynote speaker at the “Jordan River and Dead Sea Valley Forum” at Oxford University.

According to Polkinghorn, the three-day planning meeting was designed to take Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders to a neutral location to begin work on a number of regional development projects near the famous salt lake and its largest tributary.  It was only the start of multi-year, long-term efforts.

“These plans for development require cross border and transnational cooperation, so it’s imperative that key players in the region come together and metaphorically sit on the same side of the table,” Polkinghorn said.  “People throughout the region are looking for some level of normalcy and these projects are designed to meet all the parties’ needs.”

The 24 attendees included scientists, policymakers, politicians and members of regional institutions who could help develop plans for growth.  Polkinghorn was selected to speak, along with individuals from Oxford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, because of his previous international experience with development projects in countries in the region, Asia and Africa.

“I showed them some techniques that we use to effectively address disputes that will undoubtedly arise,” he said.  “My role is to be the early warning systems person; I try to remind them not to get personal, to rely on the procedures jointly developed and to think of the well being of future generations.”

Polkinghorn previously worked on conflict intervention projects with the office of Israeli President Shimon Peres while teaching at Tel Aviv University as a Fulbright Scholar.

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