IAHR President's New Year Video Speech for 2021 by Prof. Joseph Lee


The year 2021 is just around the corner. On behalf of IAHR, I wish all IAHR members a very happy New Year! My best wishes and gratitude also go to all friends and colleagues who have been long time supporters of IAHR.

2020 turns out to be a most unusual year. The COVID-19 outbreak has caught everybody by surprise – it has turned the world upside down. Yet the pandemic did not hold us back – IAHR is an organization on the move. During the difficult times last year, we witnessed the growth of “online tools” which has made international communication so much easier. IAHR embraced this change and made a start in this new era with a special online event on “Adaptation to climate-induced impacts” to commemorate the World Water Day in March 2020. The success was followed by the APD Congress, the lecture on how to write a good paper, the series of Webinars on Global Water Security, and specialty conferences such as River Flow 2020, ISE2020, the first Young Professionals Congress, and CoastLab 2020 - all organized online. IAHR has showcased remarkable resilience amidst the coronavirus pandemic, delivering high-quality and tasteful events that move the organization forward. Most importantly we have developed a new model of world-class knowledge dissemination that has been translated to and perceived as membership benefit.


In 2020, the most memorable event is the IAHR 85th Anniversary Summit, which was organized both online and offline with more than a dozen sessions. The anniversary ceremony was attended by the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy from Ethiopia, the Vice Minister of Water Resources of China, representatives from both IWHR and Spain Water, and other distinguished guests. Our respected members sent their congratulations and wishes in videos. And more than 85 water and environmental engineering experts from all over the world shared their latest research and great insights on hot topics such as Ecohydraulics, artificial intelligence, water security, climate change, and Africa. These talks have attracted more than 70,000 visits to the IAHR website from 124 countries.


In 2020, we started the implementation of the IAHR Strategic Plan for 2020-2023; we published a new monograph: The Climate Change-Sensitive Water Resources Management; our journals – JHR, JHER, JRBM, JoE, JAWER, and RIBAGUAHydroLink and white papers are all running very well. We made good progress on diversity issues such as gender and young professionals. We received the first major personal gift from Dr K K Wong to support IAHR Distinguished Lectures and Awards, and we signed a partnership agreement with K Water Corporation in Korea. Amidst a time of crisis, we welcomed 6 new institute members, 682 new individual members, and 9 new Young Professionals Networks. We developed a new online management system and a new website that has been visited by 130,000 unique visitors from 171 countries for 460,000 times.

Dear IAHR members and friends, as we bid farewell to 2020, I believe that we human beings will eventually conquer the virus, and I hope to be able to meet physically in person and chat over a drink again. I also firmly believe that IAHR will have an even brighter future. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year!

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