AITs Prominent Alumnus Honored with International Water Award at UN Headquarters

General Press Releases Monday November 14, 2016 12:00
Bangkok--14 Nov--Asian Institute of Technology

Prominent alumnus of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Member of AIT's Institute-Level Advisory Board (ILAB), Prof. Tissa H Illangasekare was honored with the 7th Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) at an award ceremony organized at the United Nations Headquarters on 2 November 2016. Presided by the UN Secretary General HE Ban Ki-moon and HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, the event was witnessed by 150 top diplomats and UN officials.

Prof. Tissa, who is the AMAX Endowed Chairman of the Environmental Sciences and Engineering department and professor of Civil Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines, graduated with a Master's in Water Resources Engineering from AIT in 1974. Sharing details about the award, Prof. Tissa thanked AIT and Dr. Subin Pinkayan, Chairman, AIT Board of Trustees for "introducing him to hydrology."

Speaking at the award ceremony at the UN, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hoped that the award "will motivate more research and raise awareness of this issue around the world." Water sanitation requires investment, partnership, international attention, and cooperation among different scientific communities and nations, the Secretary-General added.

Every two years, PSIPW offers five awards to scientists, researchers and inventors around the world for pioneering work that addresses the problem of water scarcity in creative and effective ways.

Prof. Tissa was awarded for his work in the prediction of the long-term fate of pollutants in groundwater systems. His innovation can help reverse the process of contamination of groundwater systems with hazardous wastes by reliably predicting the movement of toxins and devising ways to mitigate their environmental risk.

Dr. Illangasekare said: "As a professional and a citizen, we have the responsibility and moral obligation to help sustain this critical resource we share. Prestigious prizes like this will motivate creative people to pursue research to develop innovations and solve the pressing problems with the Earth's water."

Award winners included Dr. Rita Colwell of University of Maryland at College Park and Dr. Shafiqul Islam of Tufts University, (Creativity Prize); Dr. Gary Parker of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Surface Water Prize); Dr. Tissa H. Illangasekare of Colorado School of Mines (Groundwater Prize); Dr. Rong Wang and Dr. Anthony G. Fane of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (Alternative Water Research Prize); and Dr. Daniel P. Loucks of Cornell University (Water Management and Protection Prize).

Photo caption: From left are HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan, HE Ban Ki-moon, and Prof. Tissa Illangasekare.

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