GIWA Launches at UNICEF

On 25 September, 2013, religious heads from around the world, joined by the Executive Director of UNICEF and representatives of many organizations, officially launched the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance. The launch was held at UNICEF World Headquarters during the United Nations General Assembly Meetings. The Government of the Netherlands and USAID served as co-sponsors of this historic event.

In attendance were dignitaries including Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Government of the Netherlands; Christian Holmes, the Global Water Coordinator for USAID, and many other representatives from State Governments, international agencies, faith organizations and the United Nations.

The launch also included a sacred water ceremony in which the leaders offered water, gathered from 20 rivers across the world, to a beautiful crystal globe. The ceremony was symbolic of the union of the leaders of the world’s religions in their commitments to help ensure safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all.

Event Sponsors/Partners

Featured Speakers: At The Launch Of GIWA

Anthony Lake

UNICEF Executive Director

H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor
Former President of Ghana and current Chair of Sanitation and Water for All

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp
President & Founder, Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values
and GIWA co-founder

Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati
President of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Founder of Ganga Action Parivar
and GIWA co-founder

Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi
Chief Imam of India & President, All India Imam Organization and GIWA co-founder

Sister Karen Schneider
Religious Sister of Mercy and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
at Johns Hopkins University

Xihutezcatl Martinez
12-year-old award-winning environmental champion and “Earth Guardians” founder

Alexandra V. Destin Pierre
World Youth Parliament for Water, Regional Coordinator
for Latin America and the Caribbean

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Ph.D
President of Divine Shakti Foundation and member of Ganga Action Parivar

Moderator: Alfred Ironside
Ford Foundation, Director of Communications