I wrote last week about Jay-Z tackling Africa’s considerable water and sanitation problems, and an NYC shindig to preview the MTV documentary on his visits to Angola and South Africa.

I was with a good friend, Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, the morning of the UN bash, before he hopped a train to NYC to share the podium with the rapper and music mogul. Peter, one of the world’s leading water experts, was at the Wilson Center in Washington that morning presenting his new book, The World’s Water 2006-07.

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I asked Peter about the event and his take on Jay-Z as a force for progress on the issue. He wrote in an email:

The event was a remarkable and unusual collection of individuals and groups at the UN. Jay-Z underwent a real transition in his understanding of the nature of African water challenges during his recent tour. The documentary that MTV is releasing shows his growing understanding and appreciation of water problems, and reflects in a genuine way his emotional responses to those problems. It also hints at his efforts to help solve them, through education of others, and his own direct financial contributions to specific solutions. If only all of our cultural celebrities and icons were so engaged!

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