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Friday, January 27, 2006

The World Social Forum

Today is the third day of the actual events of the World Social Forum. The actual events of the forum are mixed. I have showed up at ones that were
canceled, there have been ones that werent very interesting, and then some that were great. The majority of workshops are in Spanish and some have translators availible if anyone wants them, some dont. Most of the ones I have been to have been all in Spanish with no translations. Some highlights: Yesterday I attended a panel talk (that I unfortunatly had to leave early) that was about the media crisis and alternative media. Most of the panel members were American and many talked about the lack of media coverage of Latin American politics in main stream media in the US, why Latin America is ignored and about alternative sources that do cover these topics. Today I went to a talk on human rights at the US-Mexico border. Although it was a lot of information I knew, it was interesting to hear the problems at the border being described as human rights abuses and the ways in which deportation and arrests of undocumented immigrants effect the border communities in the US.

Last night I finally met up with the CAS and Evergreen groups and so spent some time with Jesse, Eli, Hannah and Sophie. I tagged along with 50 global exchange people and got free dinner.

Besides specific forum events, beign here has been amazing. Everyday I meet
lots of people from all over the world (though the majority are from Latin America, the US, and Canada). Everyone is really friendly and wants to talk
about politics, or about why you are in Venezuela, or recomend workshops, etc.
In addition to the lectures and panel disscussions there are constantly films
and concerts.

This morning the Bard group decided to pack up our wet and muddy tents and move to the other youth camp which is in the center of the city. We had all been
reluctant to move because of the hassel of packing up but once we got there it
was clear that it was the right choice. This camp is dry, centrally located, and there is much more activities there. So we will stay there for the rest of the time.

Random story. Yesterday I was sitting next to a woman and I heard her mention
San Francisco so I asked here where she was from. She lives in Oakland and we
talked for a while. At some point it came up that I went to Bard and it turns out she graduated from Bard too. She hasnt had any connection to Bard since she
graduated and so was excited to hear about it. Also, (for those of you who know Bard) when she was at Bard, Blithewood was a dorm and she lived there!! Anyway, it is a small world, even when I am in another country thousands of miles from Berkeley and Bard.


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