Environmental Scarcity and Instability in the West African Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin (Event Cancelled *)

Thursday, April 2, 2020
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

* The event was cancelled due to the college’s response to COVID-19.

The Bechtel Lecture


Michael Beevers, Dickinson College
Guy Feldman, former Israel Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States)
Jacob Udo-Udo Jacob (moderator and panelist), Dickinson College
Other Panelists: TBD

The West African Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin currently face two major threats: increasing environmental degradation and violence. This forum discusses the destabilizing interactions between declining renewable natural resources (such as fresh water and arable soil), ecological marginalization, resource capture, population growth, the rise of violent extremist networks and weakened governing institutions in the region.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

IMG rotatedMichael Beevers is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Studies, and contributing faculty in the Department of International Studies at Dickinson College.  Beevers specializes in global environmental politics with an emphasis on the linkages between the environment, security, conflict and peace. Beevers was a peace scholar at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington DC, and has served as a research associate at Princeton University and as a consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, and has worked in South Asia and West Africa on a range of development and environment issues. His work appears in numerous book chapters and journals including Global Governance, International Peacekeeping, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review and The Extractive Industries and Society, among others. His book, Natural Resource Governance and Peacebuilding in the Aftermath of Armed Conflict: Sierra Leone and Liberia (Palgrave) was published in 2018. Dr. Beevers is a founding member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association.

DSCAmbassador Guy Feldman is a veteran Israeli diplomat whom served as Israel ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States) from 2016-2018. Before coming to Nigeria, Feldman was the political and diplomatic advisor to the Israeli minister for National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources for three years.

Feldman also served in Asmara, Eritrea as ambassador (2010-2013) and before that, as deputy chief of mission in Vienna, Austria and Manila, Philippines. In between, he has held various positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Israel since he joined in 2002.

Previously to the MFA,  Feldman served as an Israeli Air Force pilot for 22 years, retired as a Lieutenant colonel in 2002 (active res. till 2015) He holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Haifa, an master’s degree from Manchester University and an airline pilot license (ATPL).

Jacob Udo Udo Jacob jacobjJacob Udo-Udo Jacob is a visiting international scholar in the International studies program at Dickinson College. Jacob’s teaching and research interest is located at the intersection between communications, peace, and conflicts with particular reference to Nigeria (and the broader Lake Chad region), Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Jacob is a member of the Research Advisory Council of the Researching Solutions to Violent Extremism (RESOLVE) Network – a global consortium of researchers and research organizations, housed within the United States Institute of Peace, where he co-leads the development of a methodological and ethical guide for Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE) research. Jacob worked for the World Bank on the Nigeria country study of the project, Using Micro-Data to Inform Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons. He led the development of a USAID-funded Community Extremism Risk Assessment mobile app used by women leaders in 60 at-risk communities in northeast Nigeria for assessing violent extremism risks and providing early warning. In 2016, he led a U.S. State Department-funded peace journalism project, which involved training and working with a network of journalists in Nigeria to facilitate a more nuanced and solutions-based coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency. Jacob holds a Ph.D. in communications studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

Related Links (provided by the panelists)






Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases
Thomas F. Homer-Dixon. International Security. Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer, 1994), pp. 5-40.  (DOI: 10.2307/2539147).

West Africa and the Sahel, Between Security Challenges and the Need to Consolidate Peace”  – Press Release, 12/3/19, United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel

“The Sahel is engulfed by violence: Climate change, food insecurity and extremists are largely to blame” -1/23/19, Robert Muggah & José Luengo Cabrera, World Economic Forum

The War has Just Begun: Boko Haram and the Coming Diffusion of Terror in Nigeria” – Jacob U-U. Jacob, Small Wars Journal


Bechtel Lectureship

This lectureship was established in honor of Joan Bechtel (Library Resources) and late emeriti faculty Dan Bechtel (Religion) to support speakers and events regarding Africa at the Clarke Forum.