In January 2009 global activists will meet in the northern Brazilian city of Belem for the eighth international gathering of the World Social Forum.
The city, which is located at the mouth of the Amazon, was chosen to highlight the importance of the region for the entire world. The global meeting will also seek to bring visibility to the diversity of the area’s population, the indigenous groups, “palenques” or “quilombos” (communities originally founded by escaped African slaves) and riverbank-dwellers, not to mention the rural labourers who are exploited in modern-day slavery conditions.
The WSF was originally founded in 2001 as a kind of counterpoint to the World Economic Forum, which was held at the same time in the Swiss resort town of Davos. While the economic forum brings together business and political leaders from around the globe, the WSF draws mainly civil society representatives who reject globalisation in its current form. It is the world’s largest event for providing possible models for a sustainable and alternative planet.
In past years, the annual forum has convened in Porto Alegre, Brazil; Mumbai, India; Bamako, Mali; Caracas, Venezuela; Karachi, Pakistan and Nairobi, Kenya.
The forum attracts people from around the world, who challenge the dominant forces and ideologies which seek to impose homogeneity by excluding or isolating those who are different and adopting inflexible “one size fits all” laws. In recent decades, diversity has increasingly begun to be valued and the United Nations now has a presence at the WSF through UNESCO. The forum provides an opportunity for dialogue and reflection on the future of the world’s societies with an emphasis on solidarity, justice, peace and human rights.
One group of committed activists attending will be La Caravana Arcoiris por la Paz, a non-profit intentional social project whose international volunteers work to support social development. Founded in 1996 in Mexico, the caravan is a collective of people who travel aboard colourful buses through Latin America spreading the idea that “Another World is Possible.”
Alberto Ruz, founder of the caravan, is appealing for funds to take a team of 100 to Belem and build a model temporary Peace eco-village.
“We use artistic productions, conferences, workshops and specialised courses to carry out our mission,” he said. “At our temporary peace villages, representatives of indigenous communities, peace movements, environmental organizations, social and spiritual change networks and artists from different parts of the world, all come to share their experiences in ecological campsites that are designed using principals of permaculture.”
If you can help support the caravan, please contact Alberto through his email below.
Contact Alberto Ruz Buenfil