The founder of Cirque du Soleil Guy Laliberté launches a global foundation to deal with access to water issues



    MONTREAL, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Guy Laliberté announced today, in the
presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Jeremy Hobbs, Executive
Director of Oxfam International, and Gordon Nixon, President and Chief
Executive Officer of RBC, the official launch of the ONE DROP Foundation to
fight poverty in the world by giving everyone access to water.
    "No one can remain indifferent when we know that at least every eight
seconds, a child dies from a disease caused by drinking contaminated water,"
said Guy Laliberté. "With the creation of ONE DROP, we want to mobilize people
everywhere in the world to find sustainable solutions to the problem of access
to water, and to adopt better practices for the use of this precious
resource."
    Access to water is one of the planet's most pressing issues. Over a
billion people do not have access to water in sufficient quantity or adequate
quality. Almost half of the world's population drinks untreated water.
    Inspired by the creative experience of Cirque du Soleil and its
international program for street kids, Cirque du Monde, the ONE DROP
Foundation makes use of the circus arts, folklore, popular theatre, music,
dance and the visual arts to promote education, community involvement and
public awareness of water issues. Technical projects in developing countries
will improve access to water, ensure food security and promote gender equality
in communities. The Foundation will unveil its program for developed countries
in 2008.
    The operating costs of ONE DROP will be covered by a $100 million
contribution from Guy Laliberté over 25 years. Field activities will be
financed by donations from the employees of Cirque du Soleil and from the
public, as well as through funding commitments by Canadian and international
partners.
    Oxfam International, through Oxfam-Québec, has been associated with ONE
DROP since 2005 in a three-year pilot project in Nicaragua. A leader in
development aid, Oxfam brings expertise in selecting and implementing field
projects.
    "Water is central to many health and agricultural issues and to the
development of communities throughout the world," said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive
Director of Oxfam International. "Our involvement with the ONE DROP Foundation
is based on a common desire to support sustainable development with concrete
actions and in collaboration with local partners."
    RBC announced a $10 million commitment over ten years to support ONE DROP
projects in Canada and around the world. The leading financial services
company in Canada, RBC employs approximately 70,000 people in 34 countries.
This is the largest donation ever given to a single organization in RBC's
138-year history.
    "ONE DROP is the first grant recipient of our new RBC Blue Water Project,
a program to support charitable organizations dedicated to improving water
access, conservation, protection and education," said Gordon Nixon, President
and Chief Executive Officer of RBC. "We are proud to be associated with the
ONE DROP Foundation to support projects that will ensure a better quality of
life for communities in Canada and around the world."
    Active in the fields of climate change, biodiversity and water, the
Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is the first international organization
to sign a collaboration agreement with ONE DROP.
    "Water issues transcend the boundaries of countries and affect the whole
of humanity," said H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. "This is a major
challenge of this century and it is essential that organizations throughout
the world come together in a global movement of solidarity to ensure the
preservation and better management of a resource that is both irreplaceable
and fundamental to life."

    The ONE DROP Foundation is based at the Cirque du Soleil International
Headquarters in Montreal (Canada).
    To know more, please visit www.onedrop.org




For further information:

For further information: Cirque du Soleil: Renée-Claude Ménard, Public
Relations Director, (514) 723-7646, ext. 7366; Prince Albert II of Monaco
Foundation: Isabelle Peters, Media and Communications, +377 98 98 43 27, +377
(0)6 78 63 51 68; RBC Financial Group: Beja Rodeck, Director, Global Media
Relations, (416) 974-5506; Raymond Chouinard, Director, Media Relations
(Quebec), 514-874-6556; Oxfam-Québec/Oxfam International: Justine Lesage,
Media Relations, (514) 513-0013

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Cirque du Soleil

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PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO FOUNDATION

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