A new civilization model must be built, says Sergio Haddad at the FISC 2009 Intercontinental Panel.
By Tatiana Lotierzo, FISC
Member of FISC International Council, the speaker was applauded by the audience when remembering the educator Paulo Freire, who was recently granted amnesty.
"A new civilization model must be built, which respects diversity and environmental balance by means of starting a de-globalization process, reducing the distance between production and consumption and democratizing the international system -whether Bretton Woods institutions or the UN system.
This was Sergio Haddad´s proposal in his presentation at the Intercontinental Panel held on the morning of November 29. Haddad, economist, university professor, general coordinator of the NGO Açao Educativa and member of FISC International Council, conducted a broad analysis on the Forum´s international context.
According to the panelist, civil society´s mobilization at the Forum towards CONFINTEA VI should look to another major meeting, also organized by the UN:
the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP15) http://en.cop15.dk/, to be held in Copenhagen, 7-8 December 2009.
Haddad stressed that both gatherings constitute opportunities for civil society´s mobilization and an opportunity to influence future decisions that encompass society as a whole and the project of building another world, more just, equalitarian and democratic.
In the economist´s opinion, "at COP15, the fight will revolve around the privatization and marketization of the air". At CONFINTEA, in turn, "the key issues will be how governments and international organizations will commit to
771 million young people and adults who cannot read and write and so many others who did not even complete the initial years of schooling and how they are going to develop a project for universal, free education throughout life", he highlighted.
In addition to the conferences, Açao Educativa general coordinator mentioned two historical frameworks in civil society´s fight for human rights in the recent past: the fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago on November 9, and the first visible manifestations against the economic model implemented after the fall of the Wall - when millions of people mobilized during a Conference of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, United States, in 1999.
At the time, the fall of the Berlin Wall was interpreted as a sign of the end of story, through the hegemony imposed by the rise of neoliberal policies. In Latin America, recalled Haddad, neoliberalism went hand in hand with the end of military dictatorships, establishing a period marked by the inhibition of the regulatory role of the State, the privatization of public patrimony and the loss of civil rights. "However, the seed sowed in Seattle started to grow and those people who mobilized in 1999 were the same who got organized at the World Social Forum (WSF) in 2001. The movement denounced the neoliberal
crisis: the story had not come to an end", the panelist affirmed.
Haddad also stressed the importance of the WSF, which continued in Porto Alegre, Mumbai, Dakar, Morocco, and from there on expanded to the five continents, until arriving in Belem in 2005. "The WSF shows the power of the counter-hegemonic field in social movements´ fight. The fight focuses on building a new development model", he affirmed.
Added to that resistance wave, the FISC nurtures participants´ advocacy towards CONFINTEA VI and COP15. "Gatherings are key, even if people, governments and the press do not treat them with the seriousness they deserve", remarked Haddad. CONFINTEA, a meeting that takes place every twelve years since 1949, poses the challenge of the universalization of basic education. In terms of visibility, the fight for the right to education is at disadvantage. "While climate crisis hits all people, illiteracy and low schooling afflict the poorest and most powerless: women, African-descendant and indigenous people, peasants, people who are not free to express themselves sexually and people deprived of freedom, among many others", he affirmed.
Haddad received a round of applause from the audience when he remembered the educator Paulo Freire who was granted amnesty by the Brazilian government on September 26. During the military dictatorship, the educator spent 70 days in prison before being exiled from his country for sixteen years. The panelist commented on Freire´s role and on the role of Brazil and Latin America in the resistance and the long-standing tradition of an adult education model based on political consciousness.
To finalize his presentation, which focused on the comparison between the two UN Conferences for the most part, the speaker concluded emphatically that "the model to overcome education inequalities adopted at global level should be as urgent as the one adopted to overcome global warming", while highlighting the central role that educators, learners and civil society as well play in the struggles for another possible civilization model.