Next month, a conference with an ambitious objective will convene in Jerusalem. The Educational Water Pact Forum international conference will seek to promote the goal of providing a glass of clean drinking water to every child in the world. It was born from the common vision of the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes and Israeli innovation and project management company Y.A. Maof. The two signed the pact and created the forum last year, in order to heed the call of the world's most vulnerable, inspired by the ethical challenge of Pope Francis.
The pact seeks to achieve its goal through socio-environmental projects related to water treatment, and safe, sustainable access to water in underdeveloped regions. It also seeks to integrate innovative technological solutions in water management and create a local professional workforce in the water industry in these regions. The pact was first announced at the annual Scholas conference in Madrid last July, which was attended by researchers from 118 universities, as well as diplomats, religious leaders and global governments' representatives, and was officially signed last December.
Scholas Occurrentes is a Pontifical organization active in 190 countries, founded by Pope Francis to build the “Culture of Encounter.” In the educational field, its network connects more than 450,000 schools and a hundred universities in 35 countries with students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and diverse cultures and religions. It creates synergies, and promotes knowledge sharing for the benefit of local communities. In the environmental aspect, Scholas is committed to promoting "integral ecology," meaning a change of habits and a more sustainable lifestyle that will allow humanity to take better care of Earth, our common home, as advocated by the Pope in his encyclical “Laudato Si.”
Y.A. Maof is an entrepreneurial project management company that provides advanced solutions that turn environmental challenges into resources. It’s committed to creating long-term, sustainable economic and environmental benefits under the circular economy principles, and its solutions are based on sustainable business models in the fields of water infrastructure and purification, renewable energy, waste and wastewater management.
At the core of its activities, Y.A. Maof builds bridges between people and technology, to allow regional decision-makers to pivot and lead their economies, environments, and societies. The company accomplishes this by leading powerful global partnerships and facilitating meetings between academic experts from universities that represent their own country, and social and spiritual leaders to promote together scalable, applicable, and innovative solutions.
The unique event organized by Scholas and Y.A. Maof will bring together representatives from the Israeli and international water industry, including company CEOs, NGOs and researchers, with their counterparts and senior government representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean, through the extraordinary reach and commitment of Scholas Occurrentes. Among them will be the heads of the municipal water company of Monterey, Mexico and Guatemala City, the head of Peru’s the Dominican Republic’s national water company and rectors from 20 Latin American universities. Michelle Bolsonaro, the First Lady of Brazil, and the head of the forum of Latin American First Ladies, Fabiola Yáñez, First Lady of Argentina, and Silvana López Moreira, First Lady of Paraguay, will also be special guests at the event.
All these stakeholders will all come together with the goal of working towards the common mission of developing sustainable water solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean such as water saving schemes, purification and desalinization projects and renovating water infrastructure through public and private cooperation. Israeli companies will be able to present their advanced know-how to Latin American attendees.
The event will be in cooperation with the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the only academic institution in Israel that offers multidisciplinary BA, MA, and PhD programs in these fields. Researchers and students at the Department are already actively participating with Maof in joint research projects in Latin America that deal with local poverty, energy, and sustainability issues.
The first day of the conference will deal with rethinking cooperation between universities and the public and private sectors in Latin America. The second day will deal with international cooperation and water solutions, and the third day will have roundtable discussions on producing potable water, wastewater and solid waste treatment, and water-saving technologies, and especially how First Ladies of Latin America can contribute to these solutions. The final panel will be attended by Tamar Zandberg, the Israeli Minister of Environmental Protection.
The upcoming conference is part of a series of events, designated to promote the Water Pact’s goals. The next event will take place at the Vatican on International Environment Day, June 5, 2022. It will be the first official meeting of the Pact’s Board of Governors and an opportunity for water industry companies to present their solutions, activities and progress since the launch of the forum, as well as, the Educational Water Pact Forum’s standard, that will be officially launched and awarded to eligible companies.
On September 5th-7th the 7th International Scholas Chairs Congress in collaboration with The Educational Water Pact Forum, will convene at the Católica Silva Henriquez University in Santiago de Chile to discuss education as the main instrument for social change. The event will bring together professors and researchers from the universities that are members of the Scholas Chairs Program together with prominent religious, cultural, business, and diplomatic figures, as well as representatives from NGOs, trade unions and governments.
This article was written in cooperation with Y.A. Maof