Press Releases

May 14, 1999
Friends World Student Wins Fulbright to Investigate Water Conflicts in Bolivia

Josh Newton of Williston, Vermont, is Southampton College's 34th Fulbright Scholar

Jane Finalborgo
Joe Dionisio
(516) 287 8313
Fax: (516) 283 4081

Southampton, NY -- Josh Newton of Williston, Vt., a mountain-climbing world traveler who on May 23 receives an Interdisciplinary Studies degree from the Southampton College-based Friends World Program of Long Island University, has won a Fulbright Scholarship to study water conflicts in Bolivia.

Keeping with Friends World's mission of "Global education for social change," Newton is investigating the environmental and socio-economic impacts of water conflict, an issue that has provoked dozens of violent clashes internationally.

In February 2000, Newton will head to LaPaz, Bolivia and the area of Lake Titicaca (the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,506 feet), which is a crucial water source for agriculture, industry and human consumption. For nine months, he will study how human activity, urban industry, mining, and the lake's geologic properties have caused organic, bacteriologic and physical-chemical contamination in the water basin.

Newton's Fulbright makes him the 34th Southampton College student in the past 24 years to earn the prestigious scholarship-- a remarkable number for a small institution.

For students like Newton, who embrace a non-traditional education, Friends World offers an ideal, hands-on learning approach to education. Friends World students receive no letter grades, and submit extensive journals following each internship.

"I sought a university that would enable me to do extensive field work and research as part of my undergraduate studies," said Newton, who has studied at two of Friends World's seven overseas centers. "I chose Friends World... based on the experiential education in varied cultural settings. (The program) takes the world's most pressing issues as the basis for its curriculum."

This semester, Newton was in the Middle East to research one of the most problematic water conflicts on Earth-- the shared waters between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. One key to the peace process is securing water rights for all three regions after the final accord.

"I firmly believe that water conflict remains an important issue, and will become especially crucial in years to come when water supplies have diminished due to overexploitation and mismanagement," said Newton. "Growing up in Vermont, I took water for granted because of its abundance. I didn't realize until I left the United States how many water conflicts are the cause of international disputes; in some cases, war."

Josh Newton's travels on behalf of the environment began in his high school days, and have taken him to many nations:

"Josh... has the intellectual discipline to carry out independent research," said Dr. Lewis Greenstein, Director of Friends World. "We think he has the potential to make significant contributions to understanding the problems associated with (managing) water resources."

Newton's advisor in the Friends World Program agrees.

"One of Josh's most impressive characteristics is his strong sense of social consciousness and commitment in his life and work," said Sarah Moran of Friends World's Latin American Center. "His research... is impressive not only for its thoroughness and diversity... but also in his... ability to sort through and analyze contradictory information."

Among his many honors, he has been a Student Representative to the Regional Councils of Friends World's centers in North America (Fall '96), Latin America (Spring '97), and the Middle East (Fall '98). After his Fulbright study, Newton will pursue a Master's degree with a focus on water policy.