Purdue Water Community

Discovery Lecture Series by Richard E. Thorsten

April 20 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM - Fowler Hall in Stewart Center on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus

The Purdue Water Community, Discovery Park, and the Purdue Office of University Sustainability are pleased to welcome Richard E. Thorsten as a Discovery Lecture Series Speaker on April 20, 2015. Dr. Thorsten is the Director of International Programs, Water.org. His lecture is titled: The Value of "Capital" in Securing Safe Water and Sanitation Today and Tomorrow.


According to the 2015 Global Risks report presented at this year’s World Economic Forum, water crises represent one of the most likely risks to occur in the near future and a risk that would have the greatest impact on the global landscape. Hundreds of millions of people already live in a world without safe water and basic sanitation – conditions which destroy human lives, impair people’s well-being, and rob them of their dignity. There are reasons for both hope and concern as we consider our use of water and sanitation in the future. As Director of International Programs at Water.org, Rich Thorsten works with many on the front lines of the water and sanitation crisis in less developed countries. Mr. Thorsten will draw upon the theme of “capital” to share his thoughts on the origins of today’s crisis, promising models for lifting people out of water poverty, and risks and opportunities which our world faces in the years ahead.


Rich Thorsten joined Water.org in 2007. As the Director of International Programs, Mr. Thorsten oversees the design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning aspects of Water.org’s water and sanitation initiatives in South and Southeast Asia, East and West Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean region. He also works closely with the Office of the CEO, Finance/Administration, Development, and Communications teams on global advocacy, financial and human resources management, fundraising and investment, and special outreach projects.

Mr. Thorsten has acquired over twenty years of experience in non-profit operations, environmental and international development finance and management, advocacy, research, and evaluation. Prior to his current role at Water.org, he spent several years in program and executive positions at resource conservation organizations in the United States and served as a board member for non-profit groups specializing in international development. Mr. Thorsten has worked in advocacy, technical advisory, and research roles with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with several state and local government agencies. He has also collaborated with the World Bank in evaluating the sustainability of rural water systems in Peru and Ghana, and studied public-private water and sanitation partnerships in Asia. Mr. Thorsten holds a bachelor degree with a concentration in economics, and master’s and doctorate degrees in international planning.

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