Imagine having some 160 people from 60 countries around the globe, comprising of bloggers, journalists, photographers, film-makers, policy advisors and top academics, many of them internationally renowned and recognized. That makes up for an awesome, awesome crowd. However, one would still be apprehensive when it comes to socializing with such a diverse crowd. After all, you never know when you may say ‘Hi’ to a social snob.
But imagine my surprise when every single one of these 160 people turns out to be the friendliest lot I have come across so far. To further substantiate my claim, how often do you make such good friends within a few hours that you go out at dinner with them, crack jokes, sing songs and have fun? For me, it was a first at the Global Voices Summit which happened during the dates of July 28 – June 3.
As if all this was not enough to guarantee an extra-ordinary trip, the Summit was hosted at the beautiful city of Nairobi in Kenya. While I found a lot of similarities between Nairobi and Karachi, what with the traffic rush, Nairobi had a slight chill in the air and a lot of greenery to adorn it, which was a very welcome change for me, coming from the hot, dry weather of Multan.
The five day event was packed with a lot of activities. The first three days were Internal Meeting of GV community, which hosted some very passionate discussions. One question that kept recurring throughout the session was that whether or not Global Voices, which currently serves the purpose of congregating the opinions of bloggers from around the globe on different issues, should have an opinion of its own. Keeping with the tradition of GV, a majority voted against it.
The next two days were public in that people from different organizations, both international and local, were invited to be a part of the event and let the diverse group of GV-ers interact with them. In all, it was an excellent learning and cultural experience. It was amazing to note what immense potential for change does this small community holds and how bloggers around the world have been critical in bringing about some very significant social changes.
Below are a few photos from the event: