Celebrated for its natural beauty and its abundance of wildlife, the Mekong River runs thousands of miles through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Its basin is home to more than 70 million people and has for centuries been one of the world's richest agricultural areas and a biodynamic wonder. Today, however, it is undergoing profound changes. Development policies, led by a rising China in particular, aim to interconnect the region and urbanize the inhabitants. A series of dams will harness the river's energy. But they will also disrupt its natural cycles and cut off food supplies for swathes of the population. Based on conversations with the diverse people he has encountered from the Mekong’s headwaters in China to its delta in southern Vietnam, Eyler will review and assess the urgent struggle to save the Mekong and its unique ecosystem. Copies of his latest book, Last Days of the Mighty Mekong (2019), will be available for sale.
Brian Eyler is an expert on transboundary issues in the Mekong region, a specialist on China's economic cooperation with Southeast Asia, and co-founder of the website http://eastbysoutheast.com/. Of his more than 15 years living and working in the PRC, he has spent the last ten doing research with stakeholders in the Mekong region. In China, before coming to the Stimson Center, he directed the IES Kunming Center at Yunnan University and served as a consultant to the UNDP Lancang-Mekong Economic Cooperation program. His degrees are from UC-San Diego and Bucknell.