Inaugural OU International WaTER Conference
The OU Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center hosted the inaugural OU International WaTER Conference on October 26-28, 2009. The conference theme of “bringing water and sanitation to remote villages in developing countries” attracted 170 participants from 21 US states and 21 countries on six continents who reported on work conducted in 35 different countries. The conference included two days of oral and poster presentations plus a half-day workshop demonstrating drilling techniques and pump technologies for remote villages.
Coincident with the conference, Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry declared October “OU International Water Awareness Month”. The Governor’s proclamation acknowledged OU’s multidisciplinary approach to providing permanent solutions to the water problem through global educational leadership, organizational expertise, innovative research and on-location projects.
During the conference, the first University of Oklahoma International Water Prize was awarded to Dr. Stephen Luby, program head of Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Services at the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh. The award honors Luby’s 20-plus year career researching public health, water, sanitation and communicable disease epidemiology in low-income countries. This is the first prize specifically dedicated to the field of water supply and sanitation in remote areas of emerging nations.
“I am both humbled and honored to be the first recipient of the OU International Water Prize,” Luby said. “I accept this honor on behalf of all the researchers and scientists and doctors and journalists worldwide who are working to solve global water problems. It’s my hope that over time, a prize of this stature will help bring increased attention and interest to the issues, needs and concerns related to water and sanitation in low-income countries.”
In addition to Dr. Luby, the conference included four keynote speakers:
- Dr. Jamie Bartram - WHO, Geneva
- Dr. Rob Quick - Centers for Disease Control
- Dr. George Greene - Water Missions International
- Dr. Steve Silliman - University of Notre Dame