IU East’s “One Book, Many Voices” project speakers to discuss international water issues, making a difference

September 19th, 2013

As part of Indiana University East’s second annual “One Book, Many Voices” project, two speakers will visit campus to discuss water abroad and making a difference in the world through water. The lectures are free and open to the public.

U.S. Army Captain Brandon Hendrix, 205th Infantry Brigade Chief of Plans, will speak at Indiana University East at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 24, on “Finding Water in Afghanistan.”  The lecture will be held in the Library Lobby, located in Hayes Hall. The lecture will be available live stream at connect.iu.edu/onebook.

Lisa Ballantine, CEO and director of FilterPure, Inc., will visit campus at 4 p.m. on Monday, October 7, in Tom Raper Hall, room 124. Ballantine’s lecture, “Putting Your Drop in the Bucket,” also will be available live stream at connect.iu.edu/onebook.

The “One Book, Many Voices” project mission, which this year is focusing on the book Wine to Water by Doc Hendley, is to foster a campus and community discussion about themes and ideas inspired by a common text in an effort to develop camaraderie, inform knowledge, and inspire action towards positive civic engagement and improvement. IU East will host several events through the project focused on global water issues, civic engagement, service work, diversity, international affairs, health and wellness, and art and culture. Events are going on now through November 13.

Hendrix said his experience with water while traveling abroad is very familiar to what Hendley describes in his book.

“I was a part of logistics task force inside of a larger infantry brigade whose mission was to provide security and support the legitimacy of the Afghan government.  Perhaps one of the most important pieces of the mission was the logistics and politics of bringing water to the people that needed it,” Hendrix said. “Water issues in Afghanistan typically relate to scarcity and sanitation.”

Hendrix, who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Chicago State University and a master’s in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University, said his exposure to water issues in Afghanistan helped him to realize how much he has taken for granted in the U.S.

“Life can be hard without running water. But it’s even harder when your water runs out,” Hendrix said.

Hendrix is visiting IU East following a discussion with friend Dianne Moneypenny, lecturer of World Languages and Culture at IU East. Moneypenny had mentioned reading Hendley’s book to Hendrix and the project at IU East.

“I knew Brandon had served in the Middle East and I started asking him about his experiences. He then told me that it was his job to find water in Afghanistan. I was intrigued by his stories and thought his perspective including the military, outside of non-profit, and U.S. war, would be a great addition to the ‘One Book’ project,” Moneypenny said. “With his contribution, we will examine the issue of water in Africa (Doc Hendley), Latin America (Lisa Ballantine), and the Middle East (Brandon Hendrix). This year’s ‘One Book’ project certainly furthers IU East’s goal of internationalization, service, and diversity,” Moneypenny said.

Ballantine, a Chicago area native, moved with her family to the Dominican Republic in 2000 to do mission work. The experience was transforming for her and enhanced her interest in providing clean water throughout the world. She had learned about ceramic water filtration and was interested in learning the technology.

On returning to the U.S., Ballantine attended Northern Illinois University where she consulted with Professor Manuel (Manny) Hernandez, a technical advisor for Potters for Peace, while studying art classes. After three years at NIU, she and her family returned to the Dominican Republic to help update the ceramic water filter and manufacturing processes for increased effectiveness and sustainability with the help of Radhames Carela, Hernandez, a major commercial ceramic water filter company, financial support from Insituform Technologies, and many local supporters and volunteers. From this, AquaPure and later, FilterPure, were formed. Ballantine has learned a lot from her years of experience developing AguaPure and FilterPure. She hopes to see FilterPure expanding to satisfy the need for safe drinking water in other countries.

Christine Nemcik, a visiting lecturer in Spanish at IU East, has personal connections to Ballantine and has helped bring her to campus for the discussion.

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