CPD Hosts Major Conference on Water Diplomacy

On Monday, February 27, 2012, the USC Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD) hosted a major research conference on Water Diplomacy which sought to address three public diplomacy objectives in the area of water diplomacy: listening, implementation and policy development.

Featuring water experts from the World Bank, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as a number of scholars from universities in the United States, Nigeria, Mexico and the Netherlands, the conference provided a forum to engage in dialogue and provide recommendations for the future of water diplomacy. As CPD’s director, Philip Seib, explained in his introductory remarks, “Water vulnerability destroys individual lives and threatens peace among nations. Today we are primarily concerned with the former: not the diplomacy of treaties, but rather the public diplomacy that reaches out to people and helps them better their lives…. Such service, not advertising or branding, should be at the heart of public diplomacy.”

In her keynote address, Jaehyang So, Manager of the Water and Sanitation Program at the World Bank stressed the need to provide the “right amount of water to the right people at the right time,” and outlined the three chief tools utilized by the World Bank to that end: evidence-based knowledge, innovation and strategic partnerships. These very tools were expanded upon by many of the speakers throughout the course of the day as they each provided their unique perspective on the challenges of Water Diplomacy.

The conference represents a part of the Center’s Water Diplomacy Initiative, which will result in a number of academic publications on Water Diplomacy, several CPD Conversations in Public Diplomacy roundtables, a briefing on the topic in Washington, D.C., and continuing research activity addressing a range of Water Diplomacy issues.

A brief write-up of the conference proceedings and on the April 16 policy briefing in Washington D.C. will be posted to the CPD web site in the coming weeks, so please check back for more information.

To see the full conference program for the conference, click here.

Consider providing your perspective to the discussion through CPD's Call for Papers.

For more information about CPD's Water Diplomacy Initiative, please click here.

The conference was co-sponsored by the USC Center for International Studies and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

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