IWRA Webinar N° 64

Road to Beijing: Pathways for Youth at the World Water Congress.
August 22, 2023 - 16:00 (CET)

webinar (3)

Since 1973, IWRA has held a World Water Congress every three years in various locations around the world. The objective of the World Water Congress is to provide a meeting place to share experiences, promote discussion, and to present new knowledge, research results and new developments in the field of water sciences around the world.  This year’s Congress took place in Beijing, China with the theme ‘Water for All: Harmony between Humans and Nature.’ 

IWRA supports the advancement of knowledge and capacity of the next generation working in the water sector. A few ways IWRA supports young professionals is through its Early Career Young Professionals Task Force, Mentored Publishing Program, Water Drop Award, World Water Envoys, and World Water Congress Rapporteur Experience. At this year’s Congress, IWRA intended to see young professionals not only attend the Congress but to see them take home and implement new-found water knowledge into their communities and workplaces. In order to support this mission, IWRA hosted a webinar an engaging webinar titled “Road to Beijing: Pathways for Youth for the World Water Congress to ensure that young professionals were able to navigate specific events and opportunities that are tailored to their career development while at the World Water Congress.

Renee Martin-Nagle – Introduction to the World Water Congress in Beijing 
Renee Martin-Nagle, Co-Chair of the International Water Scientific Committee, highlighted the significance of the 18th WWC in bridging the gap between scientific research and policy-making. She unveiled the Congress’s main themes, with a special focus on emerging concerns like the loss of biological diversity. Emphasising IWRA’s commitment to involving young individuals, she invited them to engage with the organization and noted the role of young professionals even within the IWRA board.

Amrisha Pandey –  Early Career and Young Professionals (ECYP) Task Force 
Amrisha Pandey introduced the Early Career and Young Professionals (ECYP) Task Force and its initiatives, encouraging youth to actively participate and contribute to the water sector’s growth. 

Lindsey Blodgett – Personal Growth Through IWRA Involvement 
Lindsey shared her personal career journey, starting from attending the 2017 World Water Congress in Mexico and evolving into her active involvement with IWRA and her recent consulting business development. She underscored the significance of networking, especially at events such as the Congress, highlighted her positive experience as a rapporteur at the 17th World Water Congress, and shared how IWRA has been a great support to her throughout the beginning stages of her career.  

Azreil Fariza – Youth-Led Session at the WCC  
Fariza’s presentation promoted one of five youth-led sessions that will be taking place at the WCC. Mr. Azriel’s session ‘Centralisation of Youth Initiatives in Digitalising and Circulating Water Sustainability,’ taking place on September 11th, will explore youth-driven initiatives in digitizing and promoting water sustainability, a topic slated for presentation at the upcoming congress. This session aims to foster collaboration across sectors and identify youth-focused water sector priorities. 

Mary Trudeau – Rapporteurs and Congress Dynamics 
Mary shed light on the pivotal role of rapporteurs as the congress’s backbone and provided insights into their tasks and responsibilities. She also offered a brief overview of the event’s internal workings and announced the 19th WWC scheduled for Durban, South Africa, in 2025. Mary encouraged youth to apply as rapporteurs for the upcoming congress. 

IWRA World Water Envoys 2023 – Youth Perspectives 
The Congress focuses on sharing knowledge and experiences to explore the intricate connection between water, humanity, and nature. It aims to harmonize all aspects of water-related concerns through coordinated strategies and systematic approaches. To amplify the voices of the next generation in this effort, IWRA established the World Water Envoy program. These four chosen representatives, known as “World Water Envoys,” share their stories about challenging water issues in their communities and their innovative solutions for achieving a balance between human and environmental water needs. The intention of the program is also to enable the Envoys to bring back newfound knowledge received from the Congress in order to improve their communities’ pressing water challenges.  

The webinar showcased the following World Water Envoys sharing their insights: 

  • Kate Hawley (UK) championed nature-based solutions for water issues related to forestry and encouraged youth participation. 
  • Tra Nguyen (Vietnam) discussed mangrove forestation and the importance of tailored water management. 
  • Oudi Kgomongwe (South Africa) advocated for community-led groundwater management initiatives. 
  • Momen Sobh (Egypt) highlighted climate-related challenges and the role of start-up initiatives. 

Envoys of the Previous 2021 WCC  

Pallavi Pokharel (Nepal) and Maria Almote (Dominican Republic) recounted their journeys as World Water Envoys in 2021, how it shaped their careers and the valuable connections they’ve made within the water sector. 

The webinar concluded with an interactive Q&A session, engaging participants in conversations related to engaging with the IWRA and the Congress, and about youth involvement in water management. 

This event underscored IWRA’s commitment to nurturing young talent, fostering connections between scientific research and policy, and addressing global water challenges as we journeyed toward the 18th World Water Congress in Beijing. 


  • Renee Martin-NagleTreasurer, IWRA
  • Mary TrudeauProject Officer, IWRA
  • Kate Hawley IWRA World Water Envoy 2023
  • Oudi KgomongweIWRA World Water Envoy 2023
  • Son Tra NguyenIWRA World Water Envoy 2023
  • Moemen Sobh IWRA World Water Envoy 2023
  • Pallavi Pokharel – IWRA World Water Envoy 2022
  • Maria Almonte IWRA World Water Envoy 2022
  • Azriel Fariza Chairman, Indonesian Green Action Forum
  • Amrisha PandeyMember, IWRA Early Career Task Force

  Moderated by: Lindsey Blodgétt, Webinar Officer, IWRA

IWRA Webinars constitute an additional resource designed to help our members, academics, dedicated practitioners, and policy professionals further explore these and other timely themes engaging in fruitful discussions, also aligned with the international water agenda and in close collaboration with key partners.