Details   Panelists   Description   Agenda


Summit Details

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Friday, April 24th, 2015
University of Illinois - Chicago
Student Center East, Room 605
750 S Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Location on Google Maps

There is no fee to attend Water after Borders; the event is free and open to the public. If you are interested in attending, we strongly encourage you to register via this this online portal.


Summit Description

The Great Lakes contain one of the world’s most significant shares of fresh water, a resource necessary to almost every human endeavor and one that is fast disappearing.  Is the water in the Great Lakes a global resource? Should its use be restricted to the populations on its shores and connected watersheds?  What limits should be placed on the extraction rates of private companies?  What role should private companies take in updating antiquated water infrastructure?  How can local governments and citizen groups balance investment needs and resource protection?  Are new local systems of management necessary to safeguard a water system that, however abundant, is shrinking?

The way in which one approaches these questions has obvious implications for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the Great Lakes, but it also matters a great deal on the global scale where eyes are focused on the interstate and international frameworks that govern extraction and management of the Great Lakes.  What happens with the fresh water of the Midwest matters not only to those in the region, but also to other parties desirous of access to its waters or looking to this still vital water system as a model.

The April summit will address transborder legal and political frameworks, as well as the ways in which class, culture, and gender influence environmental health and access. Topics include water sharing, toxins, privatization, energy systems, and regionalist approaches.


Confirmed Panelists


  • Commissioner Lana Pollack, Chair of U.S. Section of the International Joint Commission

  • Dr. Susan Hedman, Administrator for EPA's Region 5 Office in Chicago

  • Dr. Stephen Gasteyer, Associate Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University

  • Dr. Kathryn Bryk Friedman, Associate Professor and Director of Cross-Border and International Research at the University of Buffalo Research Institute

  • Peter Mulvaney, Global Water Specialist at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, LLP

  • Commissioner Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

  • David Naftzger, Executive Director, Council of Great Lakes Governors

  • Dr. Carissa Schively Slotterback, Associate Professor and Chair of Urban and Regional Planning Program at the University of Minnesota

  • Kellen Marshall, Doctoral Student in the Department of Biology at the University of Illinois, Chicago

  • Dr. Wenona Singel, Associate Professor of Law & Associate Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University

  • Howard A. Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center, Chicago

  • Aaron Koch, Deputy Commissioner for Sustainability, City of Chicago Department of Water Management

  • Daniel Injerd, Director, Office of Water Resources, Illinois Department of Natural Resources

  • Henry L. Henderson, Director, Midwest Program, Natural Resources Defense Center

  • Dr. Samer Alatout, Associate Professor of Community & Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin - Madison

  • Joel Brammeier, President and CEO of Alliance for the Great Lakes

  • Mayor John Dickert (Racine, Wisconsin, USA), Chair - GLSL Cities Initiative

  • Jumana Vasi, Program Officer, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation


  • H.E. Eng. Saad Abu Hammour, Head of the Jordan Valley Authority

  • Gidon Bromberg, Israeli Director at EcoPeace (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East)

  • Nader Al-Khateeb, Palestinian Director at EcoPeace (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East)

  • Munqueth Mehyar, Jordanian Director at EcoPeace (formerly Friends of the Earth Middle East)

  • Mr. Hassan Jirmi, Mayor of Zubeidat, Palestine

  • Mr. Khalifah Suliman Mohammad Aldayyat, Mayor of Dier Allah, Jordan

  • Mr. Ran Molho, Israeli Kinerret (Sea of Galilee) Drainage Authority, on behalf of Yossi Vardi, Mayor of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, Israel

  • Dr. Iyad Y. Yacoub, Strategic Advisor in Transboundary Water Conflict


  • Dr. Gail Krantzberg, Professor and Director of the Centre for Engineering and Public Policy at McMaster University

  • Michael Goffin, Environment Canada, Regional Director General - Ontario

  • Mayor Mitch Twolan (Huron-Kinloss, Ontario, Canada), Vice Chair - GLSL Cities Initiative

  • Mayor Denis Lapointe (Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada), Past Chair and current board member - GLSL Cities Initiative



    A detailed conference agenda (a tentative one) can be found here.

    AGENDA OVERVIEW: The summit will involve panel presentations by the above speakers, as well as collaborative working group sessions on Great Lakes issues, chaired by civic and community leaders. On the evening of the first day, there will be a gallery reception at a Chicago art studio, and we plan to schedule water-related field trips in the Chicago area for the weekend following the summit.

    For more specific details related to the agenda, please visit the dedicated "agenda" page.