Rachel Blakeslee

MA, Marine and Environmental Affairs, 2016 IPI Fellow
Rachel Freeman Blakeslee


Through her combined experiences of teaching and years of research and work in Latin America, Rachel developed an interest in water issues both from a policy standpoint and out of concern for the real effects they had on the environment and peoples’ lives. For years she witnessed firsthand an alarming pattern of freshwater crises that plagued both the developing and developed world alike: deteriorating aqueduct systems in Panama, frightening levels of water toxicity and scarcity in Ecuador, and a lack of access to safe and clean drinking water for her own students in the very city she grew up in. She quickly realized the need to go beyond analyzing the infrastructures that continued to fail those they were intended to serve, to finding real solutions, thus propelling her into pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. She has become particularly interested in the future of freshwater resources in the Arctic as climate change continues to threaten both water quality and availability in the region. As a 2016-2017 FLAS Fellow, she has focused her Arctic studies on freshwater security in Québec’s North, and the implications that growing climactic shifts have on environmental equity and northern livelihoods. 

Rachel is also a 2016-17 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) student in French. 

Research interests: The future of the Arctic within the framework of freshwater policy; the changing Arctic and the unique dialogue between the U.S. and Canada regarding water rights and policy.

International Policy Research Arctic Fellow Activities

  • “A Call for Progressive and Inuit-centered Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in Nunavik,” Arctic and International Relations Series, Issue #5, forthcoming 2017.
  • “Assessing Freshwater Security in the Arctic: A Call for an Arctic-Specific Water Resources Index,” Arctic and International Relations Series, Summer 2016 Issue #3

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