zondag 8 juni 2014

Wetskills to the western hemisphere


4 June 2014, start by Johan Oost

For the first time in North America

It took thirteen editions, but Wetskills entered North America for the first time! After being in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe, it was time to go to the west. The Canadian Water Summit was a great opportunity to organise a Wetskills event. Thanks to the Dutch Consulate in Toronto that we are here! And of course thanks to Ryerson University, our host for this Wetskills event.

The first contacts with Canada (actually the Embassy) was made in spring last year. Because of the visit of a huge delegation from Canada to the International Water Week in Amsterdam (November 2013), the contacts were intensified. We found a point on the horizon: Canadian Water Summit. Ryerson University (as main sponsor of the summit) was pleased to join the organisation of the Wetskills event in Canada. The organisation of Wetskills actually led to an extension of the summit programme. The day before we will have the Wetskills finals and the day after the summit there is a workshop about phosphorus. All these elements to tighten the relations between the Dutch and Canadian water sectors (or should I say: North American or Great Lakes area, because of the participation of Wisconsin USA?).
Toronto is a very multicultural city. In the plane from Amsterdam to Toronto you all the faces from over the world: Asia, India, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America. And that only in the plane! Looking at the participants you see this back: The students from the Canadian universities (Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Waterloo University) are mostly from other countries. This leads to a mixture of many internationalities (Iran, India, Columbia, Jamaica, Mexico, China, Austria, Canada and The Netherlands) in this Wetskills event as well. I think that we have some interesting and diverse study cases: from urban water management in Toronto to decentralized wastewater systems and life cycle costs in wastewater treatment plant investment, from phosphorus removal to monitoring of pollutions by mining.

I am proud to be in North America for the first time with the Wetskills programme. It was a short stay in The Netherlands after our successful event in South Africa (see: http://wetskillssouthafrica2014.blogspot.nl/), which we finalised less than a week ago. Together with all the help from the Dutch Consulate, Ryerson University and Imko, Nora and Pim, I hope (actually am sure) that we will have a next boost in our over Wetskills programme!!

Johan Oost
Programme manager Wetskills and event leader Wetskills-Canada 2014

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