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Cultural Ambassadors

The UNESCO-IHE cultural ambassadorship programme builds a pact between culture and science. The Institute appoints an individual who possesses widely recognized talent in the arts, sciences, literature, entertainment, sport or other fields of public life, bestowing the title of cultural ambassador on these talented people.

These individuals demonstrate a strong desire to help mobilize public interest in and support fo the purposes and principles of UNESCO-IHE, and the United Nations at large.

Our current cultural ambassador is Gil Garcetti who is helping mobilize public interest in and support for the purposes and principles of UNESCO-IHE. He is working to raise awareness of the aims, objectives and priorities as outlined in the vision and mission of the organization, thus extending its public outreach. Read more about him here.

Gil Garcetti (USA)

A serendipitous photo of an ironworker working on the construction of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles led Gil Garcetti to a new career. Gaining access to the site and photographing the ironworkers' skillful and artistic work led to a book in 2002, IRON: ERECTING THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL. With this book, Gil wished to salute the construction workers, whose intricate curved, bent, and angled steel work would soon be covered over by stainless steel - and their work forgotten. Through his photographs he also wished to share the beauty of the geometry of the raw steel and to add to the pictorial history of the city of his birth, Los Angeles.

His subsequent six books have all been photo essays. While showing beauty through the unique eye of the artist, he also calls one's attention to the subjects of the books and often invites one's call to action. His book, DANCE IN CUBA, shows the ardent spirit of the Cuban people through their dance, despite lives of extreme poverty. WATER IS KEY tells the story of how clean water in villages in West Africa changes the lives, health, education, and destiny of the people there, especially that of women and girls. PARIS: WOMEN ON BICYCLES, while showing elegantly clad women bicycle riders throughout Paris, also asks us to consider how getting out of our cars to do everyday activities can help reduce traffic congestion and clean up our environment.


Women, Water, and Wells

Women, Water, and Wells reveals the challenges, hopes, and successes experienced by people throughout West Africa—particularly women—who are faced with the daily task of providing safe water for their families and communities. Featuring images by photographer Gil Garcetti, the exhibition commences with landscapes from Niger, Ghana, Mali, and Burkina Faso.

It chronicles the work of non-governmental organizations in the struggle to provide healthy drinking water and to eradicate a variety of diseases linked to unsafe water. Later sections show the joy that results from locating safe water sources and the ways that they benefit people through sanitation and health, education, economic ventures, and new agricultural possibilities.

The exhibit first debuted in 2007 at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and was recently mounted at UNESCO’s Water is Key Photo Exhibition in Paris, France; but also at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland and at the United States Mission to International Organizations in Vienna, Austria before arriving at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands.