Annual conference draws on water 

Without water, there isn’t life.

That’s the message behind the 1999 Mansfield Conference, “Giving Life to Ten Thousand Things: Water in Asia and the West,” which runs Saturday through Tuesday in Missoula.

The gathering of writers, professors, actors and activists will explore the role of water in our lives and communities, as well as how perceptions of water have evolved throughout the centuries, both in Asia and in the arid western United States.

Keynote speakers include Kathleen Dean Moore, an author and chair of Oregon State University’s Department of Philosophy; Donald Worster, a professor of American history at the University of Kansas; and Dai Qing, a China-based investigative reporter and expert on China’s Three Gorges Dam, which is destined to be the world’s largest—and perhaps most destructive—dam ever constructed.

Among others making presentations at the event are Salish and Kootenai cultural leader Tony Incashola; Montana Trout Unlimited director Bruce Farling; former Missoula Mayor Dan Kemmis; former U.S. Rep. Pat Williams; Father Jim Hogan of the Christ the King Church; ARCO official Sandy Stash, Northern Lights Institute director Don Snow, and University of Montana law professor Ray Cross.

The conference kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at UM’s University Theater with a performance of River Within, a celebration of rivers through music, dance, literature and poetry. The show is a collaboration by Missoula Children’s Theatre, Missoula County Public Schools, UM’s School of Fine Arts, and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, a panel discussion on “The River Next Door” will take place at the Boone and Crockett Club, focusing on management of the Clark Fork River. Moore’s address, “Thinking Like a River,” will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theater.

On Monday, at 1 p.m. in the Boone and Crockett Club, a roundtable discussion will contrast modern water development and protection with the era of Western explorer John Wesley Powell. At 7:30 p.m., Worster will speak on “Water and the Flow of Power in China and the United States.” This segment of the 33rd annual Mansfield Lecture in International Relations will take place in UM’s underground lecture hall.

Tuesday’s activities will include a group discussion of “Stakeholders and Water Rights in Western Montana,” which begins at 10 a.m. in the UM School of Law’s Castle Center. A keynote address by Qing on the Three Gorges project starts at 7:30 p.m. in the underground lecture hall.

All of the events are free and open to the public. For more details, check out: on the Internet, or call 243-2988.

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