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08-31-2011

Clarkson University's Twiss Speaks on Diplomacy and Dialogue on the St. Lawrence River

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/twiss.jpg .]

On a recent Forum on Global Engagement voyage from Boston to Montreal, Michael R. Twiss, director of Clarkson University’s Great Rivers Center, was invited to speak to attendees on the globally significant waterway that comprised a significant part of the voyage.

Michael R. Twiss, director of Clarkson University’s Great Rivers CenterThe August 21-25 voyage was on board the MV Explorer, the 590-foot floating campus of the Institute for Shipboard Education, which offers a range of university courses through the Semester at Sea program sponsored by the University of Virginia.

The forum “Diplomacy and Dialogue: A  Focus on Sino-US Relations,"  included keynote speakers Chung Po Yang, co-founder of DHL International;  American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad; Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney; and J. Stapleton Roy, the former U.S. Ambassador to China.

Twiss spoke on his area of expertise, the St. Lawrence River and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Given the theme of the forum was global engagement with a focus on Sino-U.S. relations, I illustrated the foreign engagements that took place in this region since its discovery by Europeans, up to the modern Canada-U.S. relations that govern the sharing and use of this waterway and its headwaters, the Great Lakes," says Twiss.

"When the U.S. was beginning to open ties with China in 1972, Canada and the United States were signing the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The agreement is viewed internationally as an excellent example of resource sharing and the basis for environmental protection. The agreement continues to be refined, as discoveries are made by scientists, and technology advances to help serve the need for a sustainable healthy ecosystem in the region."

The North American Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water and the St. Lawrence River is its only natural outlet to the Atlantic Ocean.

Next year will mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, when open hostilities between a young nation, the United States, and an established superpower, Great Britain began. Several key battles took place on the Great Lakes and others on the St. Lawrence River. 

Today, the U.S. is a strong ally of Great Britain, and Canada is the largest trading partner of the United States.

Currently, the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) is in the final stages of revision, as has occurred several times since 1972.

All American and Canadian citizens have the opportunity to provide written comments on significant changes being contemplated for an amended GLWQA until September 20, 2011.

You can visit http://binational.net/glwqa_2011public_e.html to review information on the amendments under consideration.

The purpose of the Forum on Global Engagement is to create a Semester at Sea-like experience that inspires dialogue and understanding through substantive programming. Participants engage in the global issues of today across various areas of expertise, including finance, health, sustainability, diplomacy, medicine, religion, gender studies, and the arts.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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