New institute opens

    A new institute is hoping to bring international relations and environmentalism closer together.   The new Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS), located in the Jeffords Building, is a research center that focuses on techniques to end environmental con??icts, according to the IEDS website.   The environmental issues that the institute will focus on are very important to national security and can be used to resolve disputes, said Saleem Ali, professor of environmental studies and director of the new institute.   “The environment is, in many ways, an issue of common aversion,” Ali said. “If it gets destroyed, everyone suffers.”   IEDS was created last year and an inaugural conference was held on the weekend of Oct. 21, according to University Communications.   The goal of the conference was to bring together members of different environmental backgrounds and get them to talk through their differences and have better conversations about environmental issues, Ali said.   The event was successful and had about 100 participants from all over the world, he said.   Some of the notable attendees included: Richard Benedick, president of the National Council on Science and the Environment; Matt Dunne, manager of community relations for the Google Corporation; and Tariq Banuri, director of the U.N.’s sustainable development division, according to University Communications.   Now that the conference has ended, the next goal for IEDS is to establish a strong financial base since the current budget is temporary, Ali said.   The IEDS has already gained ???nancial support from companies such as the Tiffany & Company Foundation, who gave the Institute a $200,000 grant over two years.   “The IEDS has received [the] grant to consider ways of linking environmental conservation to sustainable livelihoods in island economies using pearl farming,” according to University Communications.