Annual Creation Conference addresses water issues

Dejah Braggs|Staff Photographer
The Monongahela River flows by. The DU Integrity of Creation conference this week focuses on water issues.
Dejah Braggs | Staff Photographer
The Monongahela River flows by. The DU Integrity of Creation conference this week focuses on water issues.

Gabriella DiPietro | Staff Writer


Water is something that everything needs for life, yet it’s a resource that is quickly shrinking. This important issue is one of the many aspects of the global water crisis that are further discussed at the third annual Integrity of Creation conference hosted by Duquesne University.

The conference is an academic event celebrating the university’s Spiritan mission, originally commissioned by former President Charles J. Dougherty. The conference planning committee selected the topic due to the urgency regarding global flourishing.

The committee invited six of the leading scholars in the field of environmentalism, specifically in regard to water, to speak at the event. The speakers’ presentations aim to stimulate a deeper understanding about the crisis that the world is facing in regard to water through scientific, lawful, ethical and religious viewpoints.

Gerard Magill, the chair of the conference committee and professor of healthcare ethics at Duquesne, highlighted the importance of the world’s water epidemic.

“The topic is a pivotal issue globally because the lack of clean water can threaten the human species and the planet’s environment,” Magill said. “Students will hear fascinating presentations by the most prominent experts in this highly controversial topic.”

The conference takes place Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8 a.m. until late in the afternoon. The event is free and open to the public, and there will be live streaming of the presentations worldwide.

President Ken Gormley kicked off both days of the event with some welcoming remarks, followed by the first presenter, Nancy G. Love, a professor at the University of Michigan, on Wednesday, and Robert Glennon, a professor of law at the University of Arizona, on Thursday. Love’s presentation is titled, “Water Infrastructure in Shrinking and Expanding Cities: The Impact on Water Quality and Public Health,” and Glennon’s is titled, “Moral Stewardship of Our Most Precious Resource: Water.”

Hussein Amery, the director of the division of humanities, arts and social sciences at the Colorado School of Mines, gave a talk titled, “The Water, Food and Energy Nexus in the Middle East: A Focus on Saudi Arabia.” His presentation aims to explain the interdependence between water, food and energy and how this complex connection produces vulnerabilities that could affect national security.

“Conferences like this allow specialists and students to learn about the latest research on the subject, and to engage the scholars in a conversation about them,” Amery stressed. “This conference helps in enhancing Duquesne University’s reputation as a place that pays attention to new research, as well as a place where new academic ideas are shared and debated.”

The event also features presentations on “Living the Preservation of Nature in the Amazon” from Spiritan Bishop Mário Clemente Neto, “Our Parched Earth: A Catholic Ecofeminist Response to the Global Water Crisis” from Rachel Hart Winter, the director of the Siena Center at Dominican University and “Sustainable Water Conservation Strategies in a Living Building” from the executive director of Phipps Conservatory, Richard Piacentini.

More information about the conference and its speakers, including the schedule, is available on the conference website at