All regions of the world were represented today as the International Civil Society Forum (FISC) kicked off here in Bélem as part of a two-day preparation for the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) to be held in Belém do Pará from 1-4 December.
November 28, 2009
By Ana Abelenda ICAE
UFPA Convention Center, 16:30
With over a thousand registered participants at the Forum, the Federal University of Pará ‘s auditorium was crowded with people. Some of them brought their country flags to show the geographical and cultural diversity of this event.
Through video presentations projected on a giant screen, the various regions of the world gave their greetings to the Forum. USA and Canada went first, then the region of Asia and the Pacific who grabbed the audience attention with a live performance of a Maori ancestral tune from New Zealand.
The Arab region went next, which highlighted the happiness of celebrating the CONFINTEA VI in Brazil, land of the great philosopher Paulo Freire, a remark that provoked a loud round of applause. The conflicts in the region did not pass unnoticed as it was marked that "nothing is more contrary to development than to submit a population to the occupation of their land."
Then it was the turn of the European region, whose large delegation sang live the Ode to Joy. Later, Kay Anderson from Jamaica represented the Caribbean with traditional music in the native language of Jamaica: a mixture of English, Spanish and various languages from the African continent.
The presentation of the African region awoke effusive applause throughout the auditorium at the entrance of Sara Longwe and Umaru Ibro. Between songs, the representatives presented the salient points for this region: the politics of youth and adult education, the right to education and the gender gap and the need for meaningful partnerships.
The Latin American region, host to the FISC, emphasized popular education practices as one of the most important tools for adult education. Their video had three emblematic figures: Paulo Freire, Mario Benedetti and Mercedes Sosa, whose song "Canción con todos" is a symbol of Latin American brotherhood. The MST gained attention with the call to "Globalize the struggle, globalize hope!"
The women´s movement had a great final space in a ceremony full of color (purple) and energy. With banners, balloons and music the world's women claimed their right to education and the struggle for gender equality as a central theme. Gender issues and women´s rights will feature prominently during the two days of the forum.