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Joanna Doummar

Vice President, Middle East and North Africa


Joanna Doummar is assistant professor of hydrogeology at the department of Geology at the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon. She holds a PhD in Hydrogeology from Georg- August University Goettingen in Germany, a Geology MSc. from AUB and a Hydrogeology MSc. from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. She is member of IAH since 2017.

Her research focuses on the assessment methods for the quantitative vulnerability of karst aquifers, including numerical simulation of integrated karst systems, characterizing karst aquifers and assessing transport behavior using contamination indicators. She is the principal investigator of various local and international research grants since 2013. Through these and other initiatives (e.g., Managed Aquifer Recharge), she aims at promoting hydrogeology nationally and internationally. Her research includes construction of a high resolution monitoring network of water resources and climatic parameters in poorly investigated and monitored sites in Lebanon.

Beside collaborations with European, American, and Regional scientists, she has supervised many undergraduate and graduate students on hydrogeology research topics, culminating in various publications. She also aims at applying her research findings at a local scale to overcome water quality and quantity problems, to make science accessible to non-technical people, and to help implement tailored policies based on sound scientific research outcomes.

Joanna is a member of the IAH Karst Commission, has been accepted into to the World Economic Forum Young Scientists Community- Class of 2020, and is co-founder of LAUS (Local Association for Underground Studies) aiming at encouraging science and service work in hydrogeology at a local scale.

Personal statement

As an active IAH member in the MENA (Middle East and North African) Region and the Karst Commission, I gladly assume the post of Regional Vice President for the MENA Region.

Since 2017, I have been involved in creating an IAH chapter for Lebanon; however, the restricted number of hydrogeologists in Lebanon made it difficult to finalize this. Currently we have a registered local association for underground studies, for the science of hydrogeology, tunneling and soil sciences. We are developing projects with research institutes on water-related issues e.g., the impact of climate change on water resources in our region. Through this network one can promote IAH and hydrogeology in the MENA region, encouraging regional meetings, case studies comparison, and developing local policies for water management, especially in poorly studied areas.

As VP MENA, I hope to bridge the gap between countries within the region, encourage new local chapters and promote IAH through scientific collaborations. This will also enhance services to communities and help decision-makers understand the status of groundwater, create tools, and build databases to foster science-based interventions for dealing with water quality and availability challenges. Another objective is to raise awareness of groundwater vulnerability to optimize water consumption and contamination abatement with information for stakeholders via workshops, presentations, leaflets and participation in review panels for developmental projects.

Finally, I wish to consolidate a network of young scientists, especially women, in hydrogeology, to increase awareness of this discipline, still not popular in our regions, and ensure their empowerment in science and the community to overcome the multi-tasking challenges.