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.

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