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Horowitz named distinguished Professor

Michael M. Horowitz, who has advised governments around the world on how development projects affect native people and their environment, was named a distinguished professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Horowitz, recognized for his long career in developmental anthropology, which focuses how policy decisions affect development, became the University’s 23rd active distinguished professor. There are also seven emeriti distinguished faculty.

The title, granted only by SUNY trustees, is above the rank of professor and is conferred on individuals who have achieved national or international prominence in their field.

In the nomination letter, President Lois B. DeFleur said Horowitz has raised the level of scholarship within the field of anthropology by illustrating how practical experience in the policy domain can be used to conceptualize new kinds of research.

Horowitz, who came to BU in 1961, was named full professor in 1969. He founded the Institute for Development Anthropology, an independent research center, to help him carry on his work.

On the international front Horowitz’s latest scholarship focuses on how dam building has affected local economies and ecologies of South East Asia, especially along the Lacong-Mekong river, which starts in China and travels through Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia and Vietnam.

Previously he worked extensively in Africa, especially in Senegal and in the Zambezi river basin. In fact, there are few continents he hasn’t worked on or visited. While acting as a consultant for various arms of the United Nations, the World Bank or other international agencies, Horowitz has worked in Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria and Morocco.

He has also held visiting professorships in Israel and Germany.

In the midst of recounting his work overseas, Horowitz said he’s also begun dusting off an idea that could be applied in the Southern Tier — a pilot project to raise meat goats on the area’s abandoned farmland. The concept would use recent immigrants from Somali and other regions who have come to the area and who are already familiar with goat farming to help with forest management.

If the Broome County project goes nowhere fast, Horowitz will continue his research on riverine development in Bolivia where he just returned.

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