Empowering Youth for Water Security
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the Bureau of Global Public Affairs are pleased to announce “Empowering Youth for Water Security”. The live, interactive online program will be held on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM EST. In advance of World Water Day on March 22, this program focuses on empowering youth and young professionals seeking to develop careers in the water-related sectors by profiling the interdisciplinary nature of professional development opportunities. The expert panel represents different career paths in water resources management - civil society, government, and the private sector - and will explore several example career paths in each area. Program viewers will gain an understanding of: - Why water security is a key foreign policy priority of the United States government and how the USG is committed to working with international partners on this issue - How effective management of water-related issues is an interdisciplinary endeavor - The different career pathways available in water security and water resources management - How others have built their own careers in the water security space and how to access resources to begin their own water-related career paths The U.S. Global Water Strategy (GWS) is the centerpiece of the U.S. Government’s efforts to strengthen water security around the world. Participants in this virtual program will learn why water security is a key foreign policy priority of the United States government and understand the importance of engaging young professionals in developing solutions to water security issues. This is the latest in a series of online programs focused on the importance of international cooperation in water security and water resources management. This program is suitable for all interested viewers with an interest in water diplomacy and water resources management: new and established practitioners in water issues, local, regional, and national governments, related industry, trade associations, nonprofits, and colleges and universities. We'd like to extend a special thank you to the leaders of the North American Youth Parliament for Water for their insight and participation in the development of this program.
Manager, Association Engagement, Students and Young Professionals, Water Environment Federation
Megan is the Manager of Students and Young Professionals Programs at the Water Environment Federation (WEF), an international organization of water quality professionals, headquartered in Alexandria, VA. In this capacity, she is liaison to the Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC), six of WEF’s Member Associations and oversees WEF’s Students and Young Professionals’ programs. Prior to joining WEF, Megan spent 9 years doing the Marketing and Business Development for Van Cleef Engineering Associates, a consulting engineering firm based in Central New Jersey. Megan is actively involved with the Global Water Stewardship, a group of volunteers that empower and support local Costa Rican communities to develop a professional wastewater industry. She is also an endurance triathlete, raced for the 2017 USA Triathlon National Team and is a Team USA Triathlon Ambassador.
Senior International Affairs Specialist, U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Rakhi Kasat is a Senior International Affairs Specialist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In this role, she covers a range of areas including international water issues, climate, maritime pollution issues, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to joining NOAA in 2020, Rakhi served as the Southeast Asia Program Manager for over ten years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She led and coordinated EPA’s programs and partnerships in the region, including partnering with Singapore on mutual water research priorities, collaborating with Vietnam and Cambodia to strengthen environmental laws, and strengthening environmental planning in the Lower Mekong region. Rakhi was detailed to the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State in 2012 and EPA’s Office of Wastewater Management in 2019. In addition, Rakhi is a trained meeting facilitator and has led numerous strategic planning sessions, team retreats, and external stakeholder meetings for the U.S. government. She has an M.S. in resource ecology and management from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and cultural anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis.
National Water Reuse Technical Practice Leader, Water Business Line, AECOM
Dr. Sundaram is AECOM's National Water Reuse Technical Practice Leader. Vijay has 17 years of experience advancing water reuse, including potable reuse, by developing and demonstrating treatment technologies; working with communities to achieve cost‐effective water sustainability, and assisting policymakers with development of water regulations. Vijay helps communities develop an integrated approach to water resource planning and management to meet the goals of the UN SDGs and U.S. Water Alliance “One Water Roadmap”. He advances AECOM’s leadership in developing reliable water reuse strategies to tackle the water stress, climate change and adaptation challenges. Vijay served as the Chair for the Water Environment Federation’s Water Reuse Roadmap publication in 2017. He most recently won the McKee Groundwater Protection, Restoration or Sustainable Use Award.
Interactive Media Producer & Water Program Lead, Bureau of Global Public Affairs, U.S. State Department
Loren Hurst is a strategic communications professional and specializes in the strategic use of virtual technologies to engage stakeholders, research target audiences, and build reputation management solutions. Currently, he builds interactive virtual program strategies in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs. In Brussels, he led the public affairs office of a sustainable energy trade association and coordinated public diplomacy awareness activities for all U.S. embassies in Europe. In Washington, DC, he created the U.S. State Department’s first global audio production and podcasting program, built social media strategies for U.S. Defense Department environmental programs, and created an interactive online project focused on interactive learning for the green economy. Mr. Hurst holds degrees from the Catholic University in Leuven, Belgium, and California State University, Fullerton.
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February 23 Youth Water Security Social Media Toolkit (pdf)