Raymond Jost (1943-2016)
Raymond Jost was born May 14, 1943 in Strasbourg, France. After studying special education, psychoeducation and criminology, he received a humanities grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, immigrating to Quebec in 1965. He worked with at-risk youth for over 22 years.
In 1990, Raymond’s talent and enthusiasm positioned him for an encounter with destiny, when he was asked to organize the Water Is Life international forum in Montreal. Held as part of the International Water and Sanitation Decade, the event united over 100 water management stakeholders from around the world. The International Secretariat for Water and Solidarity Water Europe family was born from this gathering. Raymond contributed as founder, secretary general and president.
The ISW-SIE owes most of its signature initiatives to Raymond. A bold, forward-thinking visionary, Raymond helped create innovate projects that touched many peoples’ imaginations. Key milestones include:
-Mobilizing the Quebec National Assembly in support of the efforts of over 100 global youth to write a bill on water governance. The effort turned into the World Youth Parliament for Water.
-Uniting political leaders and citizens along the Niger watershed with the aid of a mascot, Professor Hippopotamus.
-Creating the Blue Passport, a document unique to an individual that defines citizenship based on watershed, not country.
-Implementing the Water and Citizen’s House at the World Water Forums, enhancing dialogue between all stakeholders.
Raymond wanted the movement’s message to be universal. It was his conviction that lofty speeches are quickly forgotten, while images, music and imagination are all far more powerful means to touch the human spirit. Over the years, Raymond has been proven right. Today, thanks to his energy and dedicated work, we can say that the voices of citizens are better represented in water management. Ordinary citizens have a seat at the table with elected officials, where together they can build a work where everyone can drink clean water and access safe and dignified sanitation services.
Raymond spent the last 25 years of his life toiling with all his energy as a visionary, developer, and manager. He died in Montreal on March 27, 2016.
Also read: A comic book in tribute to Raymond Jost