This week (May 2-4, 2012) thousands of minds will join in Berlin, Germany at the annual gathering aimed at exchanging knowledge and ideas called re:publica  (#rp12 ). Those physically present will be able to attend lectures, debates and nightly parties . Last year the re:publica conference had over 3,000 attendees, and almost a hundred thousand viewers of the webcast. Even more are expected this year.
The motto for “Germany’s largest and most prominent conference on the future of our society and all things digital” this year is ACT!ON.
In Germany, it's a conference that really speaks for the Internet scene and has a clear influence on the political discourse here.
For us European netizens, Berlin is the center and driving force of hackers’ culture, the “free” culture, in short, our European “innovation hub”. re:publica in Berlin is a showcase of international trends, but also of this hacker culture that will be essential in the recession and political crisis we are in, and a great opportunity to meet those future movers and shakers.
When can you hear Global Voices people speak?
Ivan Sigal , GV executive director, will speak together with Solana on May 2 (13:30 CET) in a session called “Joining Forces”  about the driving forces behind the rise of citizen media, and if individual acts of online activism in countries that are far from each other together can be considered a “global movement”. Ivan will also speak with Bjarke Myrthu  of Storyplanet.com  on May 3 (11:15 CET) about “New directions in visual storytelling” .
Ivan thinks that re:publica is important because…
…It seems to be expanding beyond Germany and even Europe in terms of its reach and influence. I also like that it has an open-ended and democratic feeling.
Jillian York , GV author, member of GV Board of Directors, and EFF  director of international freedom of expression, will speak on May 3 (13:45) about Threats to Free Expression in the Middle East and North Africa . A re:publica veteran, she said:
re:publica was one of the best conferences I attended last year – the unique mix of participants, as well as the pertinent topics.
The panel “From Dissent to Disillusionment?”  hosted in cooperation with Deutsche Welle , will focus on Syria, Egypt, Tunisia in “A Critical Assessment of the Media Landscape After the Arab Spring” on May 3 (15:00 CET) and will feature 3 GV'ers: Leila Nachawati  of Spain/Syria, Claire Ulrich, and Tarek Amr  of Egypt. They will speak on a panel with international journalist Zulfikar Abbany.
Claire Ulrich and Tarek Amr are also participating in the jury of this year's the Best of Blogs Awards . Tarek says:
I am part of the jury this year, and I used to follow the competition since its beginning. I love how despite it covers about 11 languages, it doesn't only stick to that but there are also verticals, topics, ranging from video blogs, to blogs for human rights to the use of technology for social change, which shows how they aren't limiting themselves to blogs only and how also the are creating competition within certain languages as well as worldwide between blogs from different languages.
On May 4 (11:15 CET) Markos Lemma  will speak about Blogging in Ethiopia . He considers the conference “a big scale meet-up for people who are engaging on citizen media and create a physical nexus point for connections,” and adds:
It is my first time to re:publica and Berlin. I am excited to represent the Ethiopian bloggers and talk a little bit about them.
Besides the speakers, other members of the GV network attending re:publica include Berlin residents Kasia Odrozek  and Débora Medeiros , as well as outlanders Paula Goes , Emma Brewin , Katrin Zinoun , Suzanne Lehn , Bernardo Parrella , Janet Gunter , and Rayna St. , who echoed a wider sentiment when she wrote:
This year's edition will be held in the middle of quite a battle: we had SOPA/PIPA in the US that saw massive protest again and the same happened to ACTA which, I hope, will not be ratified. In the meantime, numerous countries impose various restrictive regulations on their own. re:publica 2012 will gather speakers with wide range of experience, backgrounds and standpoints which will definitely help (me) to make better sense of what is happening and what is to come.
Also attending will be Adil Nurmakov  and Filip Stojanovski , who are participating in the Blogger Tour 2012, a public diplomacy initiative at the invitation of the German Federal Foreign Office.
Global Voices Speakers at re:publica