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Karen Bakker

  • Fellow 2017
  • Alumni
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Department of Geography
University of British Columbia

    Karen Bakker is a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia, where she is the founding director and current co-director of the Program on Water Governance. As co-director, she leads large, interdisciplinary collaborative teams studying issues such as water security, water privatization, and Indigenous water governance. Dr. Bakker and fellow researchers at the Program on Water Governance have worked in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, as well as Canada and the United States. Dr. Bakker and her team are committed to advancing water justice in Canada and globally.

    Trained in both the natural and social sciences, Dr. Bakker conducts interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral analyses of pressing water management issues. Her earlier work included a global assessment of water privatization, for which she conducted fieldwork in over a dozen countries. Her newly awarded, seven-year $2.5 million grant on sustainable water governance and Indigenous law brings together 30 of Canada's leading Indigenous legal scholars, social scientists, water scientists, non-governmental organizations, and artists []. The author of over 100 academic publications, Dr. Bakker is also a frequent commentator in the popular press; her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Hill Times as well as Global TV and CBC.

    Dr. Bakker is a Rhodes Scholar and member of the Royal Society of Canada's New College of Scholars, Artists and Scientists. In 2016, she was cross-appointed as a visiting sabbatical fellow at Stanford University's Centre for the Advanced Study of the Behavioural Sciences and School for Earth, Energy and Environment. Fluent in French and English, Dr. Bakker sits on the editorial boards of Global Environmental Change, Geo, and Espaces et Sociétés, and she is a board member of the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Dr. Bakker currently teaches courses on water policy, environmental theory, and environmental sustainability to 250 undergraduate students per year