Faith and Reason symposium examines the global water crisis

Faith and Reason symposium examines the global water crisis
February 25, 2010

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

Benedictine University espouses the belief that religion and science – or faith and reason – do not exist at polar ends of the intellectual spectrum, but rather are both central to solving the world’s most urgent problems. The Third Annual Faith and Reason Symposium from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 9 at Benedictine University’s Krasa Student Center will seek to bring faith and reason to bear on the global water crisis, “Rivers of Living Water: Faith, Science and the Global Water Crisis.” The symposium, sponsored by the Global Studies Forum and the Center for Mission and Identity at Benedictine University, will focus on the world’s major river systems: the Colorado, the Mississippi, the Nile, the Jordan and the Yangtze. Discussion will center on the current environmental status of each, what can be done to make them cleaner and safer, and the regional political and economic complexities of water usage, development and the rivers’ social, cultural and spiritual meanings. “The symposium asks what each individual can do through self-transformation to make a global impact and what people of faith can do institutionally to work with the scientific community on addressing these concerns,” said Vincent Gaddis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies and symposium organizer. The first panel discussion will be held from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Each of the four panelists will speak on an interrelated topic before coming together to discuss the broader issue. The morning panel includes Tim Marin, Ph.D., associate professor of Chemistry, who will present “The Marvelous Wonder That is Water: The Chemistry of Water;” and John Mickus, Ph.D., professor of Biology and program director of the Master of Science in Science Content and Process, who will present “Water is Life: The Biology of Water.” John Kloos, Ph.D., professor of Religious Studies, will present “Rivers of Living Waters: The Historical, Spiritual Dimension of Water;” and Mario Parker, a Benedictine University graduate who now works as an environmental reporter for Bloomberg News Service, will present “The Politics of a River: Dead Zones, Asian Carp and the Mississippi River.” The lunch break is from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The luncheon keynote address will be given by Fred Pearce, author of “When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century.” A second panel will convene from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., assistant professor of Theology, will present “Politics, Justice and the Religious Significance of the Jordan River;” Pearce will present “When the River Runs Dry: The Environmental Impact of the Crisis on the Colorado River;” and Anita Andrews, Ph.D., history professor at Northern Illinois University, will present “The Cultural and Environmental Impact of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.” A wrap-up of the day’s panel discussions and the presentation of potential solutions will follow from 3:00-4:00 p.m. The symposium will close with a wine and cheese reception at 4:00 p.m. The symposium is free and open to the public. Please RSVP for lunch. For more information, contact the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies at (630) 829-6250.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.