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Head of Research Programme, Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), United Nations University

Kaveh Madani is an environmental scientist, educator, and activist, working on complex human-natural systems at the interface of science, policy, and society. He is currently the Head of the Nexus Research Programme at the UNU-FLORES and a Research Professor at the CUNY-CREST Institute of the City College of New York. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Environmental Policy (CEP) of Imperial College London and a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute (MEI).

He has previously served as the Deputy Vice President of Iran in his position as the Deputy Head of Iran’s Department of Environment. He has also served as the Vice President of the UN Environment Assembly Bureau and Chief of Iran’s Department of Environment’s International Affairs and Conventions Center. He held different strategic roles during his public service and led Iran’s delegation in different major intergovernmental meetings and negotiations.

Madani has numerous publications with his colleagues and students. He has received several awards and recognitions for his fundamental research contributions, teaching innovations, as well as outreach and humanitarian activities. Among these are the recognition by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as one of the ten New Faces of Civil Engineering, Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists by the European Geosciences Union (EGU), Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), ASCE’s Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and AGU's Ambassador Award. He is Fellow of the AGU and the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI).

Madani has worked on issues such as water management, environmental policy, energy systems, food security, climate change impacts and adaptation, sustainable development, and transboundary-conflicts and negotiations in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Middle East. He has been successful in bridging the gap between academic theory and practice by addressing progressive and socially significant problems and by communicating his findings not only to other researchers and policy makers, but also to the public, in order to raise awareness around key environmental issues. He frequently appears in the media and has been featured in different environmental documentaries.

He has a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis, Master of Water Resources from the Lund University and B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tabriz, and has done his post-doctoral research in Environmental Economics and Policy at the Water Science and Policy Center at the University of California, Riverside.

Prior to joining the United Nations University, Madani had faculty positions at Imperial College London (tenured) and the University of Central Florida (assistant professor). Over his career, he has held research and teaching positions at different universities around the world, including Yale University, Stockholm University, Cornell University, Lund University, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC Riverside, K.N.Toosi University of Technology, and Dalian University of Technology. He is currently serving as the Associate Editor of the Water Resources Research and the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.


New Face of Civil Engineering (ASCE), Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists (EGU), Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award (AGU), Walter Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (ASCE), and Ambassador Award (AGU).