Kaveh Madani

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Kaveh Madani
Dr. Kaveh Madani.png
Born1981 (age 37–38)
NationalityFlag of Iran.svg Iranian
Alma materUniversity of California, Davis
Lund University
University of Tabriz
Known forFundamental contributions to integrating game theory and decision analysis into water management models Environmental activism and impacting water policy in Iran
AwardsNew Face of Civil Engineering (2012)
Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists (2016)
Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsCivil and Environmental Engineering
Water Management
Environmental Economics
Environmental Policy
Game Theory
Conflict Resolution
Sustainable Development
Climate Change
InstitutionsIran's Department of Environment
Imperial College London
University of Central Florida
Doctoral advisorJay R. Lund
WebsitePersonal Website

Kaveh Madani (Persian: کاوه مدنی‎) is an Iranian scientist and environmental activist. He was formerly the Deputy Head of Iran's Department of Environment (also Iran's Deputy Vice President).[1] He also served as the Vice President of the United Nations Environmental Assembly.[2][3]

Madani is a Reader of Systems Analysis and Policy at the Centre for Environmental Policy of Imperial College London. He is known internationally for his work on integrating game theory and decision analysis into water resources management models.[4] He has played a major role in raising public awareness about water and environmental problems in Iran in recent years.[5] His research and major outreach activities have influenced water policy in Iran.[5][6]

Madani was considered as the "Symbol of Expatriate Return" to Iran during President Rouhani's administration[1][7][8]. He was interrogated many times during his tenure in Iran and was arrested in February 2018[9][10][11]. In April 2017, he resigned[12] from his political post and revealed that he was kept under surveillance by the Iranian intelligence services and hardliners since his return to Iran.[13][14]

Life and education[edit]

Kaveh Madani was born in 1981 in Tehran,[15] Iran to the parents working in the water sector.[16] He did his primary education in Tehran. He received his BSc in Civil Engineering from University of Tabriz[17] in 2004. He then moved to Sweden and received a MSc in Water Resources from Lund University[18] in 2005. He received his PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 2009[19][20]. He did his post-doctoral studies in Environmental Policy and Economics at the Water Science and Policy Center and the Department of Environmental Sciences of the University of California, Riverside[21][22][23].


Madani is a Reader in systems analysis and policy at Imperial College London. Before joining Imperial College as an environmental management lecturer in 2013, he was an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida.

Kaveh Madani served as the Secretary of Iran's First International Conference on Climate Change in February 2017.[24]

In 2017, his name appeared in the media, including Shargh[25], as one of the candidates[26] with strong support from the Iranian environmental NGOs and activists[27] to become Iran's Minister of Energy after Hamid Chitchian in Hassan Rouhani's second presidency term. Madani denied this news later in an interview[27] with the Mehr News Agency.

In September 2017, Madani was appointed by Isa Kalantari as the Deputy for International Affairs, Innovation and Socio-cultural Engagement of Iran's Department of Environment[5]. Madani had to quit his job after 7 months in April 2018 under the pressure by the Iranian hardliners.[1][28][7]

Notable awards[edit]

New Face of Civil Engineering (ASCE)[edit]

Madani was recognized as one of the 10 "New Faces of Civil Engineering" by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2012[17] for "work and personal achievements representing the bold and humanitarian future of civil engineering”. This recognition is given by ASCE to those who have shown the potential for a long and distinguished career in the civil engineering profession and a commitment to excellence in everything they do.

Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists (EGU)[edit]

In 2016, he was selected by the European Geosciences Union (EGU) as one of the four recipients of the Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists[29][30] for "fundamental contributions to integrating game theory and decision analysis into water management models"[4]

Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (ASCE)[edit]

Kaveh Madani received the Walter L. Huber prize “for groundbreaking research in developing methods for the allocation of scarce water resources merging conflict-resolution and game-theoretic concepts for application to complex water resources systems.”[31][32]

"A key recommendation he has made is to model conflictive water-allocation situations using a game-theory approach, in which stakeholders strategize to maximize their utilities. This approach has been supported by both modeling and empirical data, and it has introduced novel insight on how to achieve binding, long-term solutions to complex water resources problems. Madani’s approach has been applied in a California community, revealing the importance of state-sponsored enforcement to achieve long-term sustainable agreements."[33]

The award selection committee of ASCE particularly noted his “outstanding leadership in the application of systems analysis to environmental, water and energy resource problems.”[32][34]


Kaveh Madani in one of the featured scientific characters of the following documentaries:

Iran's Water Crisis (2016)[edit]

Al Jazeera's People & Power documentary on Iran's water problems.

Dust Storms (2017)[edit]

BBC World Service's documentary on dust storms in Middle East. This documentary has been translated to different languages, including Arabic and Persian.

Notable talks and interviews[edit]

TEDx talk on water conflicts and wars (Kish Island, 2015)

Talk on Iran's water crisis (Stanford University, California, 2016)

Interview with Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality Program on Iran's climate change and renewable energy policies (Paris, 2016)

Arne Richter Outstanding Young Scientist Award acceptance address (EGU Assembly, Vienna, 2016)

New face of civil engineering interview (2012)

Example statements and quotes[edit]

  • "We strongly believe in the fact that environmental problems are trans-boundary and trans-generational and need to be solved through effective international cooperation mechanisms that are fair and not hampered by economic sanctions and politicization." (2017)[35]
  • "Water has no respect for our political boundaries." (2015)[16]
  • "Paris negotiations can give us hope and valuable lessons. Common sense and threats can help nations unite even during times when radicals, terrorists, and Trumps are trying hard to divide the world." (2015)[36]
  • "It’s always late but never too late to fix and improve." (2015)[37]
  • "History shows that we are good at setting ambitious targets and goals in major international summits. But what matters more is how to get to the target." (2015)[38]
  • "Iran’s water problems are not due to a lack of access to technology or technical expertise, as some decision-makers claim. Indeed, Iran is suffering from disintegrated decision-making and problem solving by knowledgeable experts who act independently." (2014)[39]
  • "It's easy to say and sign, what is hard is implementation. Often this is not the main concern of ambitious politicians who remain disconnected from science." (2015)[36]
  • "The main driver of uncoordinated development in Iran as well as other Middle Eastern countries is the thirst for development that prevents a comprehensive understanding of the complex interrelated dynamics and feedback relationship between the different sectors." (2016)[40]
  • "We get too busy negotiating over the targets that we forget that we need means to get to the end goal." (2015)[36]
  • "In Iran, water management relies on a crisis management paradigm. Actions are taken only after the problems have become so serious that they can hamper further development." (2016)[40]
  • "Whether 1.5 or 2°C, we should put more efforts into identifying feasible paths and processes to get us there. Otherwise, we are just adding more targets to our already ambitious agendas of sustainable development, eradication of poverty, proliferation of health and education, etc." (2015)[36]
  • "Social responsibility is driven by determination, not physical capacity & wealth." (2017)[41]


  1. ^ a b c "Iran environmentalist, symbol of expat return, quits". 16 April 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. ^ "UNEA Chair and Bureau | Committee of Permanent Representatives". web.unep.org. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  3. ^ "Iran proposes regional center for SDS assessment". Tehran Times. 2017-12-09. Retrieved 2018-04-08.
  4. ^ a b "EGU". European Geosciences Union (EGU). Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  5. ^ a b c "Kaveh Madani appointed Iran's deputy environment chief". Tehran Times. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-28.
  6. ^ "Can a 36-year-old Scientist Solve Iran's Water Crisis?". IranWire | خانه. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  7. ^ a b Staff, Al-Monitor (2018-04-17). "Iran's deputy environment chief resigns amid mounting pressure from hard-liners". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  8. ^ Rupp, Kelsey (2018-05-26). "In Iran's water crisis, Tehran sows the seeds of its own decline". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  9. ^ "Kaveh Madani, Iran's expat eco-warrior who was on too many fronts | Gareth Smyth | AW". AW. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  10. ^ agencies, The New Arab &. "Iran launches wave of arrests against environmentalists". alaraby. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  11. ^ "In Iran, Environmentalists Are Now Seen as Spies". The New York Times. 2018-02-12. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  12. ^ "Pressed by Hard-Liners, U.S.-Trained Environmentalist Quits Post in Iran". The New York Times. 2018-04-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  13. ^ "An Iranian researcher went home to serve his country. Now, 'I realize that I'm lucky I'm not in prison.'". Science | AAAS. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  14. ^ Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (2018-04-18). "Top scientist leaves Iran after crackdown on environmentalists". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  15. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (2012-02-22), Kaveh Madani 2012 New Face of Civil Engineering - Professional Edition, retrieved 2017-03-04
  16. ^ a b TEDx Talks (2015-06-11), Water: Think Again | Kaveh Madani | TEDxKish, retrieved 2017-02-24
  17. ^ a b "Remember This Face". UCF News - University of Central Florida Articles - Orlando, FL News. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  18. ^ "LU engineering alumnus Dr. Kaveh Madani at TEDx | FACULTY OF ENGINEERING LTH". www.lth.se. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  19. ^ "Home - Dr Kaveh Madani". www.imperial.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  20. ^ "Remember This Face". UCF News - University of Central Florida Articles - Orlando, FL News. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  21. ^ American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) (2012-02-22), Kaveh Madani 2012 New Face of Civil Engineering - Professional Edition, retrieved 2018-04-18
  22. ^ "Remember This Face". UCF News - University of Central Florida Articles - Orlando, FL News. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  23. ^ "Kaveh Madani". UCR Today. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  24. ^ "اولین کنفرانس بین‌المللی تغییراقلیمHome-FA". www.climateconf.ir (in Persian). Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  25. ^ PARHA-NP.V.5.1.1. "4 مرد حمایت چه کسانی را دارند؟". روزنامه شرق. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  26. ^ Behnegarsoft.com. "وزارت نیرو هم به وزیر جوان می رسد؟". پایگاه خبری الف. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  27. ^ a b "«کاوه مدنی» پیشنهاد مسئولیت وزارت نیرو را تکذیب کرد". خبرگزاری مهر | اخبار ایران و جهان | Mehr News Agency (in Persian). 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  28. ^ "Environmental Expert Kaveh Madani Leaves Iran". IranWire | خانه. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  29. ^ "PressTV-Iranian wins outstanding science award". Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  30. ^ "Imperial senior lecturer elected as Outstanding Young Scientist in Geosciences". 2015-11-03. Retrieved 2017-02-24.
  31. ^ "ASCE Honors Influential Research Work | ASCE News". news.asce.org. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  32. ^ a b "Imperial reader receives ASCE's prestigious Huber Prize".
  33. ^ "ASCE Honors Influential Research Work | ASCE News". news.asce.org. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  34. ^ "Iranian scientist receives ASCE's prestigious Huber Prize". Tehran Times. 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2017-04-22.
  35. ^ Mwangi<pdnmwangi-at-gmail.com>, Patrick. "#BeatPollution with UN Environment". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  36. ^ a b c d "Imperial experts express their hopes for a climate change deal in Paris". Imperial College London.
  37. ^ "Kaveh Madani: It can be tragic if timely action not taken to address water shortage in Iran". Tehran Times. 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  38. ^ "Is it already too late to limit global warming?". The Independent. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  39. ^ Madani, Kaveh (2014-12-01). "Water management in Iran: what is causing the looming crisis?". Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 4 (4): 315–328. doi:10.1007/s13412-014-0182-z. ISSN 2190-6483.
  40. ^ a b "Water crisis in Iran: A desperate call for action". Tehran Times. 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  41. ^ Madani, Kaveh (2017-10-19). "Social #responsibility is driven by determination, not physical capacity & wealth. #weareclimatechange Photo by @BehshadMohajer, #Tehranpic.twitter.com/87345GnCbL". @KavehMadani. Retrieved 2017-10-21.

External links[edit]