Knight Chair attends World Water Week to meet with water experts and work on multimedia project

Photo credit Thomas Henrikson/SIWI

Photo credit Thomas Henrikson/SIWI

Photo credit Thomas Henrikson/SIWI

For two decades experts from around the world have been going to Stockholm in late summer for what has become the world’s largest annual conference on water.

This year – in early September— the University of Miami’s Knight Center for International Media sent Professor Joseph B. Treaster, the Knight Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication and the editor of, the Knight Center’s environmental online magazine, to report on the event, produce a multimedia project on water, recruit writers, videographers and photographers for and develop collaborations with universities and environmental organizations.

At the conference in Sweden, known as World Water Week, Professor Treaster interviewed and photographed water experts from more than half a dozen countries for the multimedia project which will distill on a single page the best thinking on the main themes involving water, including health, scarcity, flooding, pollution and human rights. The idea for the project grew out of work by Rich Beckman, the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism.

For the multimedia project on water and a series of columns to be published on, and other online publications, Professor Treaster spoke with the Minster of Water and Irrigation in Kenya, the director of China’s Center for Environmental Education and Communications, top officials from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, the executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute and the winner of the Stockholm Water Prize, awarded this year for work on cholera and other diseases that are spread in water. Professor Treaster also spoke with teenagers from China, South Korea, Chile, Canada and the United States who competed for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for scientific work and water experts from England, Germany, Nigeria, Ghana and other countries.

Professor Treaster signed up several new writers for, including journalists from Malawi and India, and developed several new story assignments with a Swedish writer who has contributed to with an article from Vietnam.

In its first year in 1991, World Water Week drew about 500 participants. This year, with concerns about water and the environment increasing, more than 2,500 scientists, aid workers, corporate executives and government officials from 135 countries packed a conference center on the edge of Stockholm for one-on-one conversations, interviews, panel discussions, lectures and seminars that ran late into the evenings.