World Water Week 2019: A new venue, but the same family spirit.
With nearly two months to go, excitement is building towards this year’s World Water Week at Tele2 Arena in Stockholm. We sat down with Gabriela Suhoschi, the Director of World Water Week and Prizes at SIWI, to learn more about the evolution the Week, the new venue and why the Week will be the place to be this August.
What’s new about World Water Week 2019?
We’re moving to a new venue and that will make it easier for us to cater to the needs of both World Water Week veterans and a wider group interested in environmental and development issues. For World Water Week it’s important to always evolve. We know that there is an urgent need for a better understanding of water, otherwise we won’t be able to tackle challenges like the climate crisis or food security. We also know that there are many great solutions out there, but for ideas to spread, people must meet and collaborate. World Water Week is the natural platform for that.
Sounds like an ambitious goal, how can that be achieved?
World Water Week is the number one meeting place for dedicated water specialists and decision-makers because we listen intently to what they say. Many of them stress the importance of knowledge and collaboration, so we’ve built the new World Water Week as a learning experience, with many opportunities for dialogue and networking. With so many of the greatest minds gathered, we really have the potential to move the world. But this is a long-term plan, we’re step by step forming this movement.
What can you offer young professionals?
I think the reason so many young people are interested in us – a third of participants are under 35 – is that here they can meet people from all sectors and continents on an equal footing. There are few other places where you just strike up a conversation like that! We also offer many specific networking forums for young professionals. As a young professional you can enter for free for a day and this year you can choose between Sunday, Wednesday or Thursday.
What do you think seasoned World Water Week veterans will say about the changes you’ve made?
Hopefully everyone will feel just as at home as always! We want to stay true to that special World Water Week spirit and with everything centred around a main square it will be easy to maintain the feeling of being family. But we’re much more flexible now, so for example you won’t run the risk of sessions being full. We’re also introducing new elements, such as a movie night, that I hope will be well received.
With two months to go, how do you feel?
We’re of course super excited and curious to see how the 2019 World Water Week is received, it feels great to have so many new things on offer. We can see interest in water growing around the world, not least among young people, and we find new partners who share our vision. This year, we’ve just launched a campaign with Swedish stores, where customers can top up their purchases and raise money for important water projects. That’s just the most recent example of a very encouraging trend.