Art for Water and Peace


The Geneva Water Hub believes that Art is a powerful vehicle for spreading messages around the world on the crucial issue of water. For this reason, it is involved in two distinct artistic initiatives approaching and conveying messages in an original manner around water and peace to the wider audience possible.

Symphony for Water and Peace

The Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace’s messages and recommendations are finalized, they have also been conveyed in the universal language of music. Indeed, a unique and particularly inspiring feature of the Panel’s work is that it is accompanied and enriched by musicians from around the world. The result, an original Symphony for Water and Peace, has been composed progressively as the Panel convenes in different continents. The Symphony is intended to become a powerful symbol and inspiration for all efforts to make water a source of cooperation and peace.

The 1st Movement of the Symphony was composed by the Swiss double-bass player Mich Gerber (offcial page), who performed during the Panel's opening ceremony in Geneva in November 2015. His contribution can be heard here: Listen to WODA.

The 2nd Movement was composed by a famous Senegalese musician, Alune Wade (official page), for the Panel's second meeting which took place in Dakar in April 2016. This second part, to which the Syrian flutist Naissam Jalal (official page) contributed, can be listened to here: Listen to SALOUM.

The 3rdmeeting of the Global High Level Panel on Water and Peace was held in San José, Costa Rica, from 7 to 9 December 2016. The 3rd Movement was hence composed by Carlos Guzman (official page), a musician and musical director of Costa Rica. Listen to the 3rd Movement "AGUACERO EN EL TROPICO".

The 4th Movement "FIREWATER" was composed by Jordanian musician Tarek Younis (offcial page) on the occasion of the Panel's meeting in Amman, Jordan, between 3 and 4 May 2017.

The first four Movements of the Symphony for Water and Peace can be heard below:

On 14 September 2017, The Blue Peace Orchestra performed the Symphony for Water and Peace for the first time in its entirety on the occasion of the Launch of the Global High-Level Panel on Water and Peace Report.

On 25 August 2018, on the occasion of the Middle East Mediterranean Summer Summit, Lugano Switzerland, The Blue Peace Orchestra performed the 5th Movement of the Symphony for Water and Peace: Chuva no Sertao composed by Serge Frasunkiewiczc.

Water and Peace at the “Festival à Sahel Ouvert 2020”

As a driver for peace and development, culture has an important part to play in the Sahel region faced with growing destabilization. Water is a major challenge in this context but it isn't sufficiently recognized as such. Yet, one can witness a burst of tensions between communities regarding access to water and natural resources. In this context, a call to explore through culture the roots and the intimate linkages that connect people to water serves the purpose to promote a culture for peace and development and increase awareness about the issues local populations are facing.

With this in mind, the Geneva Water Hub partnered with the "Festival à Sahel Ouvert", which was held in Mboumba on the bank of the Senegal River between 14 and 16 February 2020, in order to collaborate around Art for Water and Peace through cultural activities to heighten awareness and promote the commitment to water challenges.

This experience was captured in the film "Water and Peace at the Heart of the "Festival à Sahel Ouvert" which sheds a local, philosophical and cultural light on the challenges of water in the Sahel.

The collaboration around Art for water and peace in the Sahel is in line with the philosophy of this festival and was unfolded in three components.

  • Cinema and photography

    Young people from this region were invited to develop their ideas and their talents by making a short film on water under the supervision of film professionals. The short film “Daali-O, The Day Nature Spoke", is a work produced during the movie workshops of the Festival which addresses the relationship the community has to the river and their related development issues. This artwork inspired an intervention by the philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne in the video “Water and Peace, a philosophical view” available here under.  

    Last update: Daali-O "world tour" continues! The short film is officially selected for the 13th International Film "Film Sozialak" in Bilbao, Spain! It will be projected on 16 October 2021 at 19:00 followed by a conference entitiled "Nouvelles narrations africaines : l'art et la culture comme outils de transformation"...

    Furthermore, photographer Ken, a promising artist of the French scene, was invited to take a look at the project of Art for water and peace at the "Festival à Sahel Ouvert".

  • Open exchange on the issue of water

    Arranged at the home of the Mayor of Mboumba, this talk was opened by words by the eminent Senegalese philosopher Prof. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, available in the above video, and was attended by members of the village and very diverse personalities among whom the leader of the fishermen community, the Director of the Geneva Water Hub, the Swiss Ambassador to Senegal, Dr. Marion Weichelt Krupski, a representative of the University Gaston Berger in Saint Louis, a representative of the Society of development and use of the delta land. This talk, facilitated by the artistic director of the festival, Xavier Simonin, gave rise to constructive discussions on water as a vital element, the challenge of which is to "make humanity together" in line with the Ubuntu philosophy advocated by Nelson Mandela. These reflexions applied both to the local and the global level, allowing everybody to draw lessons and raise their awareness of the challenges related to water.

  • A concert of the Symphony for water and peace

    This musical performance was played by the Blue Peace Quintet composed of the Bordeaux-based group, Milk Music, who invited local musicians and the choir of the children from Mboumba to join them on stage to share this message of openness and tolerance.

The "Festival à Sahel Ouvert" is organised by the Globe Association and was selected among the 10 most promising projects of the 2019 Paris Forum for Peace. It became known for its approach of local development by culture implemented by closely associating the local population to its management and by supporting professional vocations. This 5th edition, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Senegal, provided an opportunity to address the vital issue of water one year before the opening of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar. Numerous artists and personalities spoke on this subject, among whom world-renowned artist Baaba Maal who belongs to the traditional Fulani region “Futa-Toro” established in this part of the Senegal river.

ART for The World AQUA traveling exhibition

The Geneva Water Hub supported the latest art project of ART for The World: AQUA, an international traveling exhibition focusing on water and its importance to human beings, fauna and flora, curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, inaugurated in Geneva on 22 March 2017, World Water Day.

The exhibition took place in two different locations in Geneva: From 23 March to 31 May at Île Rousseau, Quai des Bergues, located on the Rhône River in the heart of the city, and from 23 March to 2 July at Château de Penthes in Pregny-Chambésy, located in the area of the United Nations and international organizations.

AQUA aims to emphasize our collective responsibility on the role and use of water in our world today, where water management is a major challenge and a priority objective of the 21st century. The exhibition was presented in avant-première from Geneva, a quintessential city of water, where the Rhône River, after running through the Canton of Valais and forming Lake Leman, flows through the heart of Geneva where it converges with the Arve River before continuing on to Lyon and the Mediterranean Sea.

Being presented for the first time, the artworks by 32 contemporary artists from differing horizons, touched on the preservation of water. The exhibition is conceived to raise public awareness of the notion of interdependence, essential to the conservation of our environment and to the future of our planet. When water is under menace, so too are all forms of life on Earth. Recognized as a vital life-giving element, water is essential to preserving biodiversity and ecosystems. As a human resource, it is at the centre of climate change and its consequences, a possible origin, or a subject of conflict.

More information at, and the first press review at

AQUA poster:

L’initiative « Voix du fleuve, Voie de la paix »

L’initiative « Voix du fleuve, Voie de la paix » vise à organiser une réflexion stratégique et créative sur les enjeux liés à l’eau entre populations riveraines, dirigeants de l’Organisation pour la mise en valeur du fleuve Sénégal (OMVS), personnalités et experts en gestion de l’eau, centrée sur l’écoute des populations locales et la création d’emplois locaux pour le renforcement de la paix dans le bassin.

L’artiste et personnalité internationale Baaba Maal s’est engagé, en tant que parrain du projet et personnalité fédératrice du fleuve Sénégal, à convier le dialogue avec les populations locales de la région du Fouta.

Le projet a la particularité de mêler culture et développement en associant des artistes dans le domaine de la musique, du cinéma, du théâtre et de la photographie. 

Un album de musique portant le nom de l’initiative et appelant à l’engagement pour l’eau et la paix entre les peuples a été produit avec des artistes de renommée internationale des quatre pays riverains du fleuve Sénégal. Les artistes Baaba Maal, Daara J Family, Sékou Kouyaté (Guinée), Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritanie), et Noumoucounda (Sénégal) se sont produits également au Festival A Sahel Ouvert (FASO) dans le cadre de cet album. Des concerts de Sona Jobarteh (Gambie), Daby Touré (Mauritanie) et de jeunes artistes et griots traditionnels contribueront également à la programmation du Festival.

Des œuvres culturelles ont mobilisé la jeunesse et permis de transmettre leurs messages.

Le projet a organisé des échanges avec des échanges sur la route du 9ème Forum mondial de l’eau de Dakar, au Festival des Blues du fleuve à Podor en décembre 2019, au Festival à Sahel Ouvert à Mboumba en février 2022. 

Un concours de projets pour la jeunesse du bassin a permis également de créer des initiatives porteuses pour les communautés, qui ont été promues au Forum avec l’ensemble des résultats de la réflexion.

Pour renforcer la paix dans le bassin, le projet conçoit la mise en place d’un Fonds bleu pour le soutien à l’entrepreneuriat local et aux initiatives communautaires (Note du Fonds).

Le projet « Voix du fleuve, voie de la Paix » porté par l’OMVS est mis en œuvre par une coalition de partenaires dans les domaines de la diplomatie et de la gouvernance de l’eau, de la culture, de la prospective citoyenne, comprenant le Geneva Water Hub, l'Association Globe, IPAR, Milk Music, Naan-K et Bois Sacré, le Pôle Eau Dakar, le Secrétariat International de l’Eau, le Réseau International des Organismes de Bassin (RIOB), Waterpreneurs.

Ces rencontres ont permis de contribuer au succès du 9ème Forum mondial de l’eau de Dakar, portant le thème de la paix et de la coopération dans l’agenda international.

Le projet est soutenu par la Coopération suisse au développement, la Délégation de l’Union Européenne à Dakar ainsi qu’un ensemble de sponsors.