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Omo River Valley: Progress at What Cost?

Events | Headline and Cultural Forums
Photo: Randy Olson

Veteran National Geographic photographer Randy Olson presents a rich and moving picture of the culture and people of  Omo River Valley. Straddling the border between Ethiopia and Kenya, caught up in the arms trade between Sudan and Somalia, these are a people whose livelihood (as well as the fragile environment of the region) is urgently threatened by a massive hydroelectric dam being constructed in southern Ethiopia. When completed, the dam, financed heavily by China,  will lower Lake Turkana by some 20-30 meters, destroying the flood-plain farming that has formed the base of this region for thousands of years, rerouting the water into irrigation projects for sugar plantations. Regardless of perspective -  economic development lever for the Ethopian government or a land-grab obliterating a centuries old culture that forms the cradle of mankind - the pictures say a thousand words. Join us for a look at a project that challenges our very notions of how we balance preservation and tradition in the quest for progress.

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