The many issues of water will be the focus of this year's Critical Issues Symposium at Hope College, titled "At Water's Edge: Complacency, Thirst, Action" and  scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 6-7.

The many issues of water will be the focus of this year's Critical Issues Symposium at Hope College, titled "At Water's Edge: Complacency, Thirst, Action" and  scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 6-7.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

The college's annual Critical Issues Symposium provides an intensive look at a single topic. This year's symposium will feature two keynote addresses, two blocks of concurrent focus sessions, and department-sponsored sessions.

The symposium events open on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel with the keynote address "Solving the World's Water Crisis: No Time for Complacency" by Peter H. Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, Calif. Gleick's research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrologic impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Joan Rose, who is the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, will give the morning keynote address, "Providing Safe Water for All in the 21st Century," at 9 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  Rose is an international expert in water microbiology, water quality and public health safety, publishing more than 300 manuscripts. She has been involved in the investigation of numerous waterborne disease outbreaks world-wide. Her work has examined new molecular methods for waterborne pathogens and zoonotic agents such as Cryptosporidium, enteric viruses and source tracking techniques. She is specifically interested in microbial pathogen transport in coastal systems and has studied the impact of wastewater discharges and climate on water quality and on risk assessment.

The morning concurrent focus sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 7, will begin at 10:30 a.m. Topics will include will include "Knowing the Water Commons: A Scientific Foundation for Action," by Charles P. Dunning; "The Sacredness of Water: A Native American Perspective," by Leland Little Dog and Lynn LaPointe; "The Lake Macatawa Watershed Project," by Graham Peaslee and Mary Fales; and "No Complacency: Imagination, Story-sharing, and Calls to Action, Part 1," by Alison Swan.

The afternoon concurrent focus sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 7, will begin at 1 p.m. Topics will include "Critical Questions and Critical Answers about Water and Health," by Joan Rose; "Water, Justice and Christ: Why Water is Thicker Than Blood!," by Mark Husbands; "Critical Issues of Water in Michigan: Focusing on Sustainable Water Quantity and Quality," by Alan Steinman; and "Cheap, Clean Water," by Robert McDonald.

The symposium will close with a series of department-sponsored sessions on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 2:15 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 8, at 4 p.m. which will allow speakers to focus on a more specific area.  Participating departments include chemistry, communication, dance, English, philosophy, political science and women's studies.

Additional details concerning the blocks of concurrent focus sessions and departmental sessions, including locations, will be available in the printed program distributed during the symposium, and may also be found through the college's Web site at

The Critical Issues Symposium will include three preliminary events on Monday, Oct. 5, and Tuesday, Oct. 6.  The college's women's studies and political science departments will present the documentary film "Flow: For Love of Water" on Monday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre, with audience discussion following.  The gallery of the De Pree Art Center will feature Margaret Cogswell's "River Fugues" art exhibit beginning Tuesday, Oct. 6, and running weekdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday, Nov. 7. The Latin American Film Series will screen "Until the Last Drop: Tales from El Salvador's Agua-Apocalypse" on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m. in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The college's Critical Issues Symposium, first held in 1980, was established to stimulate serious thinking about current issues, and to provide a forum in which the Holland community, students and faculty may all engage in discussion with experts. The college cancels classes for a day to provide an opportunity for the event.

Past topics have included "Genocide," "The Middle East," "World Hunger," "The Family," "Energy," "Civil Rights," "The Quest for Justice: Christian Voices," "Lifeboat Earth: Decisions for Tomorrow," "The Columbus Legacy, 1492-1992," "Race and Social Change in America," "What Future Is in our Genes: Freedom from Disease, Good Investment, Manufactured Humans?," "Sport and American Life," "Feminism and Faith: Implications for Life," "Gold Rush and Ghost Towns: Living with the Internet," "Earth Matters: Daily Decisions, Environmental Echoes," "Putting Science in Its Place: Discovery and Responsibility," "Race and Opportunity: Echoes of Brown v. Board of Education," "Immigration: Shaping and Reshaping America," and "Global Health:  From Catastrophe to Cure."

The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.  Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., at College Avenue and 12th Street.  The Knickerbocker Theatre is located in downtown Holland at 86 E. Eighth St.  The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., at the corner of Columbia Avenue and 10th Street.

More information about the symposium may be obtained online at