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Joaquin Ruiz, Ph.D., the University of Arizona’s first vice president for Global Environmental Futures, gets excited about the work of its partners around the world, such as farmers in Israel’s Arava region.
“There are a bunch of kibbutzes in the Negev that are growing stuff on rocks and with salty water — it’s unbelievable,” he says.
Ruiz, a professor of geochemistry at the university since 1983, was dean of the College of Science for 20 years before taking on this new role in October 2019. His UArizona research and education portfolio includes Biosphere 2, where he is the director and Thomas R. Brown chair, and the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill.
The new global effort, part of a 10-year strategic plan, “revolves around, simply, creating partnerships with the University of Arizona that will benefit the environment,” says Ruiz, including one with the Jewish National Fund and the Arava region that has launched the JNF Joint Institute for Global Water, Food and Energy Security.
“It’s pretty exciting — in fact it’s the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long time,” says Ruiz, explaining that the institute focuses on environmental resilience, with research on “new technologies for growing …
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