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Protecting Great Lakes is theme of daylong roundtable

March 15, 2011

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KALAMAZOO--An event featuring seven workshops and two high-profile speakers is planned for next week as Western Michigan University puts the focus on Great Lakes preservation.

The Protecting the Great Lakes Canadian Studies Roundtable runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 18, in the Fetzer Center, bringing together experts, officials, conservationists, scholars and concerned citizens from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

The roundtable is open to the public for a fee of $15, which covers breakfast and lunch. Register by calling the WMU Canadian Studies program at (269) 387-4666.

The event begins with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. before roundtable discussions start at 9:30 a.m. with an opening address by Roy Norton, the Canadian consul in Detroit. Morning workshops on Canadian studies begin at 10:30 a.m. and will address "Great Lakes Tourism," "Borders and Waters," "Current Political Outlook, U.S. and Canada Relationship" and "U.S. and Canada Trade."

As consul general, Norton represents Canada in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. He promotes Canadian interests such as trade, investment, the environment, culture and academic relations. Until August 2010, Norton served as minister at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. He also served in the Embassy's Economic Section from 1990-94 and was a member of Canada's negotiating teams for the intellectual property and investment chapters of NAFTA. Norton holds a doctoral degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.

At noon, the roundtable will break for lunch and a keynote address by David Dempsey, policy advisor for the International Joint Commission. Dempsey's presentation is titled "The Role of Transboundary Cooperation in Protecting the Great Lakes."

Dempsey has helped shape conservation and Great Lakes policy for 27 years and is an author and co-author of five nonfiction conservation books. He is policy advisor for the International Joint Commission, a 101-year-old treaty organization that addresses U.S.-Canada water concerns.

A 1977 WMU graduate, Dempsey earned a master's in resource development from Michigan State University in 2001 and served from 1999 to 2004 as an adjunct instructor at MSU in environmental policy through the former Department of Resource Development, now Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies.

Afternoon workshops begin at 1:30 p.m. and will tackle the Great Lakes environment and address "Great Lakes and Climate Change," "Environmental Challenges and Policy in the Great Lakes" and "Great Lakes and Threats from Pollution."

Dr. Daniel Macfarlane, of the Carleton University Department of History, who will lead the morning session "Borders and Waters," earned a doctoral degree at the University of Ottawa in 2010. His main research interest is Canadian-American environmental diplomacy and he is researching Canadian-American relations in regards to bilateral engineering of Niagara Falls in the first half of the 20th century and the negotiations concerning the Columbia River Treaty. Other sessions will be led by Dr. David Lemberg, WMU associate professor of geography, Dr. Denise Keele, WMU assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Chansheg He, WMU professor of geography.

A plenary question-and-answer session featuring a panel of experts starts at 2:15 p.m., followed by concluding remarks by Dennis Moore, public affairs officer for the Consulate General of Canada, Detroit. At 4 p.m., the roundtable will adjourn to the Francophone Film Festival and the screening of the film "Route 132" by Quebec filmmaker Louis Bélanger.

The WMU Canadian Studies Program is an interdisciplinary initiative to promote the study of Canada and Canada-United State Relations.

For more information, call (269) 387-4666 or visit the 2011 Canadian Studies Roundtable online.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400