Seeking Common Ground Through Shared Water Dialogues: Waterlution's Karen Kun Shares Insights (Part 1 of 2)

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Keywords: Environment and Climate Change | Awareness | Canadian Water Sustainability | Corporate Social Responsibility | Karen Kun | Rio+10 | Stakeholder engagement | Tatiana Glad | Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Water Resources | waterlution

Seeking Common Ground Through Shared Water Dialogues: Waterlution's Karen Kun Shares Insights (Part 1 of 2)

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 7:30pm

For a growing number of Canadians, Waterlution has been a source for inspiration, creative thinking, network building and above all, an instigator for rethinking. When you attend a Waterlution event, you can certainly bring pre-conceived ideas, but those will likely shift once you leave. That is, of course, by design. Waterlution creates facilitated sessions on a variety of issues related to water. Through facilitated dialogue, groups from industry, academia, policy makers and the public engage in a meaningful way.

The Waterlution experience can give insights into successful stakeholder engagement, especially essential to companies looking to strengthen relationships with their critics. I spoke with Karen Kun, Director and Co-founder of Waterlution, to learn more about the organization's humble beginnings, accomplishments and expanding beyond Canada's borders.

Starting Point
Co-founded by Karen Kun and Tatiana Glad, Waterlution has been around for eight years. Kun recalls: "As trained facilitators, Tatiana and I had a passion for facilitation techniques and how those can be harnessed to solve problems." She also remembered observing the deep connection to water among indigenous communities in South America - something that seemed rather lacking back home in Canada. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg - also known as Rio+10 - things began to come together. While there, Kun observed that water was not a prevalent topic, yet it is the most vital, connecting element of all. The two decided water should be part of the conversation and Waterlution was born.

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Meirav Even-Har is a Justmeans staff blogger. She reports on Canadian CSR issues. Meirav is an independent sustainability consultant and writer working in Toronto, Canada.