Despite the Bardo Museum attacks in Tunis, Tunisia, the World Social Forum proceeded to convene from March 24 to March 28, 2015. Not only did the forum continue, but also a march was held to demonstrate solidarity for peace in Tunisian society.
Approximately 80,000 people who make some of the world’s top leaders in social justice, economic reform, and poverty eradication came together for the World Social Forum. Some attendees include ActionAid and Oxfam International. They come together to discuss the alternative to capitalism and methods for creating a peaceful, fair, and green society.
WSF was founded in 2001 as the alternative to the World Economic Forum under the belief that another world is possible. The first forum was held in 2002 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This conference primarily focuses on the one percent group that holds most of the global wealth and political power. In preparation for the event, ActionAid declares that “A more equal society that values everyone depends on citizens holding the powerful to account…We will together champion international cooperation to avoid a race to the bottom.”
The forum typically convenes in the global south to ensure inclusivity and diverse global leaders. The outcome of the initial global civil society meeting resulted in international attention—positive and negative. WSF has received critical attention primarily because some attendees have strong opinions that have resulted in distracting from the main concerns of the forum. In 2003, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan sent a humbling message that expressed a concern for building relations between governments, businesses, and non-profit non-governmental organizations.
This year’s forum is expected to focus particularly on wealth distribution and poverty. The forum has grown in popularity. Their efforts combined demonstrate a reluctance to remain silent on issues that affect a large portion of the global population. It is unclear what may come out of this gathering, but one must stay attuned to their voices. As a global force that challenges the status quo, their popularity demonstrates a positive global development that says peace and anti-poverty efforts should not be ideas, but rather actions.
– Courteney Leinonen