Thanks to the generous support of Saïd Business School and the Pershing Square Foundation, I was fortunate to attend World Water Week. The yearly conference was hosted in Stockholm, Sweden from August 29 to September 2, 2022. After two years of virtual events, professionals in the water sector travelled from around the world with excitement to meet in Stockholm for the 13th conference. Over 300 seminars and sessions were offered, with a broad range of water-related topics from health to food security, technology, and the climate crisis.
This year, the topic of the conference was 'Seeing the unseen: The value of water'. During the past two years at Oxford, the concept of 'valuing' has been very present in classes, conferences and conversations with lecturers and classmates. It has been interesting to see how this word changes in the context of finance, accounting, politics, ecology, sociology, etc. The way in which we perceive the value of something changes widely according to the lens through which it is observed. During the week I was able to learn about the value of water from different perspectives. The conferences I attended covered issues like human rights, nature-based solutions, public health, pricing water, indigenous knowledge, and many more. It was very intellectually stimulating to have discussions that integrated diverse approaches and disciplines.
In addition to the incredibly interesting talks I attended, there were plenty of networking opportunities. The event brought together an amazing group of water specialists. There was international attendance of scientists, volunteers, students, entrepreneurs, politicians, and many others. It was very fruitful to meet other young professionals with similar interests with whom to brainstorm about our futures and potential career paths. Moreover, I got to meet in-person for the first time many people in the industry with whom I connected during my MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management (first degree from my 1+1 program). Many academics whose work I had read, senior professionals that I had interviewed for my thesis and many people I deeply admire. Feeling a part of this community of people working towards tackling all sorts of water-related global challenges was very inspiring, especially now that I am wrapping up two years of academic preparation. The week filled me with great energy to jump into the workforce with new ideas and willingness to bring positive changes into the water sector.