Indra Nooyi addresses global youth leaders at World Water Day event

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Indra Nooyi [Former Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo] and Esha Mittal [Safe Water Network Youth Steering Group Member] Photo courtesy: Safe Water Network/organizers
Young activists from 43 countries engaged with iconic leaders and youth peers on the issue of water and climate change March 22, 2021, on the occasion of World Water Day.

Former PepsiCo CEO and Chairman Indra Nooyi,was one of the main speakers at the “Water and Climate Change: Risk and Resilience” event organized by Safe Water Network which drew the interest and participation of over 900 young leaders from around the world, a press release from the organization, said.

Nooyi spoke of her connection to this important cause, stating, “Water is very personal to me because I grew up in a town that was extremely water distressed. So,I feel the need for water, deep down inside. And I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Safe Water Network literally since the beginning and want to applaud the impact you’ve had over the last decade.”

She encouraged the young audience to come together and act.

“Every single one of us on the Zoom session today has a role to play in solutions,” Nooyi said during her address. “There is a collective responsibility towards climate change, including corporate action. It requires leadership and government and requires community action and, most importantly, individual action,” she emphasized.

Venky Raghavendra [SVP, Safe Water Network] and Param Iyer [Global Lead, Strategic Initiatives, The World Bank’s Water Practice] Photo courtesy: Safe Water Network/organizers
Parameswaran Iyer, the global lead for Strategic Initiatives at The World Bank’s Water Practice, talked about the central role of youth in creating citizen’s movement. Recalling the role of young leaders in the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Iyer described how the mission was able to galvanize young people, especially women, to help address the issue of sanitation all across India.

He encouraged the youth to take risks and address global issues, saying, “You need to seize the moment. When an opportunity presents itself, don’t let it go and never be afraid to take risks, particularly when you’re young.”

Mohit Chauhan [Singer, songwriter] Photo courtesy: Safe Water Network/organizers
Singer-composer Mohit Chauhan addressed the youth and talked about his roots in Himachal Pradesh and his bond with nature.

He said, “I know that there are many, many passionate youngsters who are bringing their enthusiasm and talent to Safe Water Network, as we all know that this is a time that we have to take action for water and climate.”

Other speakers and thought leaders included Jainey Bavishi, director of NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, and Gayatri Chauhan, founder and CEO of BuzzOnEarth, and director of Planet and Climate at Ashoka.

E Wen Wong [Poet, innovator, community-builder and Founder of P.S. Our Beaches] Photo courtesy: Safe Water Network/oranizers
E Wen Wong, a youth leader from New Zealand, brought in a unique message through her poetry and called on her peers to act fast and decisively to help address climate change, including the well-being of oceans.

Kurt Soderlund, Safe Water Network’s Founding CEO, highlighted this year’s UN theme of World Water Day –valuing water. “Let us be aware of the enormity of the challenge from the perspective of the 2 billion people that everyday struggle to access safe water. This struggle needlessly compromises the health and livelihoods of too many communities all over the world, including here in the United States,” said Mr. Soderlund.

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