Keynote: MAUDE BARLOW
Social Justice Advocate and Author,
National Chairperson, Council of Canadians
Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Canada's largest public advocacy organization with 65,000 members. She was a founding member of the Council in 1985, and has served as its voluntary chair since 1988. During these years, the Council of Canadians has become a leading voice in Canada and around the world for social, environmental and economic justice. The Council fights to protect Canada's public social programs, natural resource heritage, and food security. It also advocates for fair trade and sustainable economic policies, in Canada and around the world, and promotes a peacekeeping role for Canada's armed forces.
Ms. Barlow is also a founding board member of the International Forum on Globalization (IFG), a San Francisco-based think-tank made up of international activists, scholars, writers and economists dedicated to creating sustainable alternatives to economic globalization. She is a contributing author to the highly acclaimed IFG report, Alternatives to Economic Globalization, which has been studied by scholars and politicians around the world. In 1997, she led a global fight with other members of this group to defeat the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, a proposed global treaty that would have given transnational corporations immunity from nation-state laws. Ms. Barlow is also a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council that brings the interests of future generations to the centre of policy making.
Ms. Barlow is an acknowledged leader in the international water justice movement, often called the "Al Gore of water." She founded the Blue Planet Project, a Council of Canadians project that works with grassroots groups around the world to stop the commodification of the world's fresh water resources. She is a founding member of Friends of the Right to Water, a North-South Coalition seeking a UN Convention on the Right to Water. Ms. Barlow is currently chairperson of the board of Food and Water Watch, the foremost U.S. organization fighting for the right to water. In 1998, she wrote a ground-breaking analysis on the global politics around water for the International Forum on Globalization and is the co-author of the 2002 book, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop Corporate Theft of the World's Water, which is now published in over 40 countries and 15 languages. Her newest book, Blue Covenant, The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, published in 2007, is also an international best seller. In 2008, Ms. Barlow wrote Our Water Commons, a report for a new international network to promote water as a global commons. Ms. Barlow's work on this issue has taken her to every continent where she stands with local indigenous and community groups to defend their right to water.
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» VIDEO: Maude Barlow conversation on fracking and water (3:15 · YouTube)
» VIDEO: Downstream Neighbor Water Symposium Keynote (1:23:08 · Vimeo)