Asian Studies Program Sponsors Conference on Asia’s Eco Plight

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PHILADELPHIA (February 18, 2009) – “Asia and the Environment,” a two-day interdisciplinary conference, will bring experts in the environmental challenges facing Asia’s rising powers – India and China – to Philadelphia, March 20-21, 2009. Sponsored by Saint Joseph’s University’s Bernadette B. and James J. Nealis ’69 Program in Asian Studies, the conference is free and open to the public.

The Honorable Kathleen A. McGinty ’85, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and current Secretary of SJU’s Board of Trustees will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. McGinty’s address, “Asia, the Environment and Us,” will outline why the West has a vital stake in the success of India and China’s environments – and their economies.

“Kathleen McGinty is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic,” says James J. Nealis ’69, a retired executive with extensive business experience in Asia, who is also the benefactor of the Asian studies program at Saint Joseph’s. “Her leadership roles at the Pennsylvania DEP, the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority and in Washington, D.C., established her as a strong advocate for the environment with a keen understanding of the need – and market potential – for renewable energy development.”

Conference organizer David Carpenter, Ph.D., director of the Asian studies program and associate professor of the history of religions at Saint Joseph’s, says that the success or failure of attempts to deal with global environmental problems may well be decided in Asia, where unprecedented economic growth has in turn been matched by unprecedented environmental devastation. “This conference brings together experts on India and China to discuss some of the most pressing environmental issues that impact the future of Asia and the world,” adds Carpenter.

All conference activities will be held at the University’s Haub Executive Center, 5th floor McShain Hall. For more information, access

“Asia and the Environment” Conference Schedule

Friday, March 20: India

9 a.m. - Coffee

9:30-10:30 a.m. - Christopher Hill, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Colorado “Niches in Time:Society and Ecology in Historical India” Hill will present an environmental history of India.

11 a.m.-12 p.m. - David Haberman, Ph.D., Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University “The Yamuna: River of Love in an Age of Pollution” Haberman will present a case study of one of the most polluted rivers in the world, which is also a major tributary of the Ganges River.

2-3 p.m. - Timothy Ford, Ph.D., Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, University of New England “Water and Health: a Perspective on India” Lecture by Ford, a noted microbiologist and water expert.

3:30-5 p.m. - Round Table Discussion

7:30 p.m. - Keynote: Hon. Kathleen A. McGinty ’85, former Secretary, DEP, State of Pennsylvania; founding partner, Peregrine Technology Partners “Asia, the Environment and Us”

Saturday, March 21: China

9 a.m. - Coffee

9:30-10:30 a.m. - Judith Shapiro, Ph.D., Director, Global Environmental Politics International Service, American University “As China Goes, So Goes the Planet:Environmental Challenges in International Context” Shapiro’s current research is on sustainable development in China.

11 a.m.-12 p.m. - Zheng Zheng, Ph.D., Dean, School of the Environment, Nanjing University “Water Resources of China and Water Pollution Control in the Taihu Lake Basin” Zheng will present research about Lake Taihu, which provides water to millions of residents in China’s Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, but despite clear evidence of the human origins of a devastating algae bloom, the catastrophe was termed a natural disaster by the Chinese government.

2-3 p.m. - Darrin Magee, Ph.D., Hobart and William Smith Colleges “China’s Transboundary Rivers: Dams, Development and Downstream Concerns” Magee is a China geographer with expertise in water and energy in China.

3:30-5 p.m. - Round Table

For more information, contact Carpenter at 610-660-1871, or

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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