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York University graduates its 2000th Masters of Environmental Studies Grad -- civil engineer/African development worker Suzanne Hurley

TORONTO, June 14, 2000 -- Suzanne Hurley, a civil engineer with 10 years experience working on water supply projects in Togo, Zambia, Malawi and Zaire, will become the 2000th person to graduate from York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies Masters program during convocation ceremonies today at York University, Wed., June 14.

Hurley, 37, says she came to York in 1997 because she wanted to concentrate more on the social and community aspects of water supply planning. "I chose York's Faculty of Environmental Studies because of its flexibility and unique interdisciplinary approach to learning. The boundaries of traditional planning practices are critically questioned, giving rise to alternative integrated approaches to planning and implementation. This approach has been critical to the success of my work in Malawi. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Faculty of Environmental Studies community," said Hurley, who has a four-year-old daughter.

A senior engineer/project manager with Design Management Group Limited, a small civil engineering firm based in her native province of Newfoundland, Hurley has concentrated on providing water to Africa's expanding urban areas. Hurley's contract engineering work in Malawi, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, involved the design of 14 small towns. It became the basis of her MES thesis, Planning Community-Managed Water Supply in Low-Income Areas of Malawi, which focussed on closing the implementation gap between what is planned and what actually happens in water-supply projects in Africa.

She concluded that the successful provision of sustainable water supply to poor urban dwellers in developing countries is not so much a function of infrastructure provision, but rather a function of equipping communities with the tools necessary to operate and manage their water supply after international aid interventions are completed.

Said Hurley's thesis supervisor, York Environmental Studies Professor Bill Found: "Hurley's work in Africa exemplifies how a great student can combine academic work with cutting-edge applied practice in tackling one of the world's greatest challenges safe water supplies."

Before joining the MES Program, Hurley worked in a Rwandan refugee camp which accommodated 25,000 refugees. Her engineering task was to provide water for the camp, but she was soon given charge over the administration of the entire camp because of her ability to get things done. Hurley's extensive work in Africa has placed her in high demand as a consultant by several agencies, including the World Bank.

Hurley will receive her Masters of Environmental Studies Degree Wed., June 14, 2:30 p.m., during convocation ceremonies to be held on York's Keele Campus, in the convocation tent, located east of the Centre for Film and Theatre, 4700 Keele St.


For more information or to arrange an interview with Hurley, please contact:

Ken Turriff
Media Relations Officer
York University
(416) 736-2100, ext. 22086


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