Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health
Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering, SEAS
John Briscoe’s career has focused on the issues of water and economic development. He has worked as an engineer in the water agencies of South Africa and Mozambique; as an epidemiologist at the Cholera Research Center in Bangladesh; as a professor of water resources at the University of North Carolina; and, for the past 20 years in a variety of policy and operational positions in the World Bank. Most recently he has served as the Bank’s Senior Water Advisor and the Country Director for Brazil. He holds a joint appointment as the Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Environmental Health in the School of Public Health (SPH) and as Professor of the Practice of Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).
He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering at Harvard University in 1976 and his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1969. In addition to the United States, Briscoe has lived in his native South Africa, Bangladesh, Mozambique, India and Brazil. He speaks English, Afrikaans, Bengali, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Briscoe has served on the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Academy of Sciences and was a founding member of the major global water partnerships, including the World Water Council, the Global Water Partnership, and the World Commission on Dams. He currently serves on the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum; is a member of the Council of Distinguished Water Professionals of the International Water Association; and will be the first Natural Resource Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has published extensively in economic, finance, environmental, health and engineering journals. Recently he authored Water Sector Strategy, India’s Water Economy: Bracing for a Turbulent Future, and Pakistan’s Water Economy: Running Dry.