The day began with an introduction by Georgia Poppelwell (GV Managing Director) and Solana Larsen (GV Managing Editor), in which our wonderful wonderful sponsors were thanked. David Sasaki (Rising Voices Outreach) spoke briefly about the latest ongoings of the Rising Voices project, and showed a short film that featured the current independent projects being funded by Outreach.
Session 1: Web 2.0 Goes Worldwide was moderated by Lova Rakotomalala, with Catalina Restrepo (HiperBarrio, Colombia), Collins Dennis Oduor (REPACTED, Kenya), Cristina Quisbert (Voces Bolivianas, Bolivia), Mialy Andriamananjara (FOKO, Madagascar) speaking. It was live blogged by This panel gathered leaders of cutting-edge Web 2.0 initiatives from Colombia, Kenya, Bolivia, and Madagascar who seek to make the global conversation more representative of the global population. Issues pertaining to their specific projects and the challenges that they have overcome.
Session 2: The Wired Electorate in Emerging Democracies focused on how the rise of blogging, social networking and micro-blogging services like Facebook and Twitter, video- and photo-sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr, and the spread of mobile technology have given ordinary citizens the means to participate more fully in the democratic process. Looking at the impact these tools have had on recent elections were Daudi Were (Kenya), Onnik Krikorian (Armenia), Hamid Tehrani (Iran), Luis Carlos Díaz (Venezuela). Solana Larsen moderated the session, while Jillian York livedblogged the proceedings.
When Biases Meet Biases was the topic for Session 3. Focusing on recent Tibetan protests against China with the Olympic Torch Relay Ceremonies, international sentiment towards the Chinese has been quite negative. What can be done to encourage dialogue in times of such heated disagreement? Panelists Isaac Mao (Entrepreneur and Researcher, China), Rebecca MacKinnon (University of Hong Kong and Global Voies), John Kennedy (Chinese Language Editor, Global Voices), aided by moderator Xiao Qiang, endeavor to answer this question. Thanks to Jillian York for liveblogging the session.
The up-and-coming powerhouse branch of GV, Lingua, provided Session 4: Translation and the Multilingual Web. Lingua Head Portnoy introduced and moderated a panel with speakers Chris Salzberg (Canada/Japan), Paula Góes (Brazil), Rezwan (Bangladesh), Claire Ulrich (France). They briefly addressed issues concerning how Lingua content posts are chosen for translation, the importance of how offering different language content greatly expands GV's audience, and covered some of the new translation tools that are being utilized by this team. Lingua currently translates into German, Spanish, French, Italian, Malagasy, Portuguese, Albanian, Macedonian, Arabic, Farsi, Bangla, Hindi, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Japanese.
Our last session today was When the World Listens. Moderated by Preetam Rai and with Neha Viswanathan (India), Juliana Rotich (Kenya), Lova Rakotomala (Madagascar) as speakers. They provided the summit with a look at the importance of the “other” blogger- the ones who don't blog about politics but who blog about everyday life. Other issues discussed were how blogs can fill in the gap in new and inventive ways when traditional media outlets cannot report, such as in the cases of natural catastrophes and political crises. Rebekah Heacock provided the liveblogging coverage for this session.
It must be said that such a conference takes a huge amount of effort to put together, not only should the conference organizers (Georgia and Solana) be commended but our sponsors and partners. In addition, the team of volunteer bloggers who offered their time to take session notes, twitter, flickr, and to live blog (incrediably labor intensive!) deserve a great vote of thanks. It takes a community to cover our community!