Saturday, May 15, 2010

GV2010 - The People

I had loads of fun during last week in Chile, where I attended Global Voices Summit, GV2010. In fact, I might write a separate post about the trip, Santiago, and the extremely helpful and pleasant people there, but I prefer to dedicate this post to the GVers I met there during the summit.

We first met Gaurav Mishra and Aparna Ray in Sao Paulo on our way to Santiago. And that was enough to make us really enjoy our five hours stay in the airport. Then when we arrived to Santiago we met Laura Vidal who helped us a lot in translation, finding a transportation to the hotel, and tracking our bags which have been lost in Germany. Then later on, we were forced to go shopping to get new clothes till we get our lost baggages. So Renata Avila went with us, and showed us the nearby malls.

During the last week I was able to refresh my Spanish, and I had no problem dealing with people in streets and shops in Spanish all the time, especially that it's hardly to find people who speak English there. Yet, having conversations with Laura Vidal, Marianne Díaz, Issa Villarreal, Catalina Restrepo about everything from politics, to literature, to music and Spanish language made me interested in restarting to learn Spanish again in order to be able to read Spanish blog posts and literature. The Spanish and Latin American blogosphere has always been very interesting to me, and knowing the above people as well as Eduardo Avila, Firuzeh Shokooh Valle, Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe, Yesenia Corrales, Juan Arellano, and Julián Ortega Martínez made it even more interesting.

I also was able to make real new friends during this summit. It was really happy meeting Awab Alvi, Muhammad Karim, Sana Saleem, Satee Hamza, and Sarah Standish with whom I had spent a very nice time.

Sometimes a short conversation with someone is more inspiring than a long speech or a book, and even if I have to admit that I do not have Sarita Moreira's courage, I was really inspired by how she left her job to do what she likes and help poor people in distant countries far away from her home country. Also it was ironic to know from her about an Egyptian-born novelist - Albert Cossery - whom I have never heard of before.

Before going to the summit, I wasn't very comfortable to the idea of sharing my room with someone else, but Lova Rakotomalala was just the best room mate I'd ever have. I am even sad that I didn't have chance to get to know him more. And above all, I really want to thank Lova for the amazing note he left to me in the room before leaving.

It was also nice to meet people whom I've met last summer for few minutes, or only know online like Jillian York, Eduardo Avila, Sami Ben Gharbia, Hisham Almirat, Ayesha Saldanha, David Sasaki, Deborah Dilley, Ivan Sigal, Paula Goes, Solana Larsen, Suzanne Lehn, Sylwia Presley, Tomomi Sasaki, Ethan Zuckerman, Rebecca MacKinnon, Janet Gunter, Vilhelm Konnander, Rosario Lizana, Namita Singh, Jules Rincon, Jeremy Clarke, Dan Braghis, Katerina and Diego Casaes although I wish I had more chance to get to know them even more as well as many others in the summit.

And finally, I want to thank Jillian York, Renata Avila, Pauline Ratzé, Eduardo Avila, Elia Varela, Paula Goes, Bijoy Majumdar, Awab Alvi, Muhammad Karim, Suzanne Lehn, and Lova Rakotomalala for these. And I have to admit that I used to be an active volunteer in GV, but a very lazy reader, however after this summit, I became much more interested in reading more about different regions and places other than the Middle East and North Africa which I used to only read posts about them.

9 comments:

Gabriela said...

I agree with every and each of your words here. Thanks for the mention.
Saludos desde Lima.

lova said...

Hey Tarek,

It was truly a pleasure. I too wish we could have spent more time chatting but school would just not leave me alone :).
Hope to connect again some time soon, maybe at the next summit ?

Teeth Maestro said...

It was indeed a pleasure meeting each one of you - we have made bridges across the world, bonding them into a cast of steel. We were truly the voices of globe when we met for the mystical 4 days in Chile - it too has inspired me to the importance of an international dialog amongst a wide ranging international community.

Hope to connect yet again - some place some time in the future yet again

fsv said...

Hola Tarek! Thanks for the mention. It was also great meeting you! I hope we can talk more in the next summit. Keep practicing Spanish!

Abrazos,
Firuzeh

bint battuta said...

It was great to meet you at last, Tarek!

Catirestrepo said...

I agree with your words. GVSummit was totaly a wonderful experience

I believe that Lova was a nice room mate. He is so crazy. Hehe.

Good luck with your spanish.

Best Wishes,

Cati
http://catirestrepo.wordpress.com

Juan Arellano said...

It was great to meet you! Y ya tienes una buena colección de blogs en castellano para practicar tu español!! jajaja Greetings from Lima, Perú.

eliaws said...

As everybody is telling you: keep practising Spanish!

It was a pleasure meeting you, even briefly, and I hope you'll enjoy the coffee.

See you around the world!

Tarek said...

@Gabriela, You're welcome it was really nice meeting you in Santiago.

@Lova, Wish you best of luck with your studies, and looking forward to meeting you soon, either in next Summit or even earlier, who knows.

@Awab, aka Teeth Maestro, I'll just borrow your statement, "Hope to connect yet again - some place some time in the future yet again"

@Firuzeh, Lo siento, no hablo Ingles, Espanol por favor :)

@Ayesha, It was really a pleasure meeting you.

@Cati, Thank you, happy to have a new friend from Colombia.

@Juan, Indeed, I even created a new category in my Google Reader for Latin (Spanish) blogs, and sure your blog is in there.

@Elia, The pleasure is mine, and today I have just bought a coffee maker, and the coffee is just the best I've ever tasted in my life. In fact, I was never a coffee fan myself, may be I like instant coffee, but every time I tried coffee before I hated it even more, but this time is it totally different. It's 1:00 AM, yet couldn't resist its smell, and then tried it with and without milk and both are great. Even my sister - who is addicted to coffee - tried it, and she swears by it now. Thanks a lot.