Thursday, November 27, 2008

Upcoming Delegations: Travel to Brazil for the World Social Forum!

Reality Tours eNewsletter

Dear Friends,

Global Exchange Reality Tours have helped thousands connect firsthand with other peoples and cultures, and to return home with a deeper understanding, a sense of empowerment, and the tools to affect change. We would like to share with you some examples of upcoming delegations, and enthusiastically invite you to join us in the powerful and transformative experience that is a GX Reality Tour.

In this newsletter we would like to highlight some very exciting upcoming delegations, including our January trip to Brazil and the World Social Forum. Founded in 2001, the WSF serves as a central point for dialogue and connection between an incredibly diverse range of groups and movements working for a more just and equitable globalization. Since its first annual meeting, the WSF has been held in Brazil, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Venezuela and Mali, and has grown in size and scope to reflect the tremendous energy and power held by increasingly interconnected and unified forces working for social, economic and environmental justice worldwide. This year, the WSF returns to its point of origin, Brazil, where tens of thousands of peace and justice advocates from around the world will gather to envision a better world, and to work actively for its realization. To learn about an exciting opportunity to join Global Exchange's delegation to the World Social Forum in the Amazon, please read on.

In this month's newsletter you will find:

  1. Information on some exciting upcoming Reality Tours delegations:

  2. A personal account of the World Social Forum 2007 in Kenya by Kirsten Moller, co-founder of Global Exchange

  3. Invitation to Donate to Reality Tours Scholarship Fund




Brazil: World Social Forum in the Amazon

January 24, 2009 - February 06, 2009

Cost: $1,600

As 2009 draws close, tens of thousands of peace and justice advocates from around the world are preparing to journey to the Brazilian Amazonian city of Belem to participate in the rapidly growing international gathering known as the World Social Forum (WSF).  Since 2001, the WSF has united peace activists, environmentalists, fair trade champions, advocates of indigenous, worker's and women's rights, and many others in global solidarity. Serving as a laboratory for new ideas and visioning toward the emergence of a just and equitable globalization, this forum encourages dialogue across socio-cultural, economic and political borders.

Join Global Exchange's delegation to WSF 2009 to explore the forum's possibility and momentum and its complex and dynamic backdrop that is contemporary Brazilian society. The delegation will participate in the official activities of the World Social Forum between January 27-February 1st, and spend the remainder of the time exploring the region, looking at rural communities, innovative development projects and meeting with indigenous activists.

"Global Exchange's Reality Tours offer participants a window into contemporary Brazil through a human rights and social justice framework," says Latin America Program Coordinator Sneh Rao.  "It provides U.S. citizens the opportunity to connect with their Brazilian allies and together brainstorm visions toward a more just and sustainable world."

Since the 2002 election of the liberal Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the second largest economy in the Western Hemisphere has been seen as a center of hope and potential for participatory democracy and regional integration. Reality Tours offers a trip filled with profundity and contradiction that other tourists never see.

While destructive agricultural practices and land policies plague the lowlands and roads spider through the Amazon, the Landless Movement continues to face ongoing repression. Meanwhile, the pulse of Brazil beats on as favela communities organize themselves, capoeira artists dance and fight, escolas de samba beat out batucadas, and entire cities strive for sustainability. For more information or to enroll in this delegation, please contact Sneh.




India: Globalization & Socio-Economic Alternatives

March 03, 2009 - March 17, 2009

Cost: $2,550 

Join Global Exchange on an exciting tour of Northern India focused on the work that people-based economics projects, non-profits, and community based organizations are doing to create upward mobility and social justice in India's rapidly developing civil society. Exposing participants to both the sophistication of Indian urban life and the dynamism of Indians living in rural areas, this tour will provide valuable insight into the social workings of this complex society and the tools and models being used to struggle for prosperity and equality. Incredibly rich in historical and architectural sites, delegates will have the opportunity to seamlessly combine their own exploration of modern India's social landscape with a journey through Northern India's stunning literal landscapes and most fascinating and beautiful cultural works and sites of interests.

Delegates will have the opportunity to visit major religious, cultural and historic sites such as the Raj Ghat (Mahatma Gandhi's memorial and cremation ground), the Gandhi National Museum, the Jama Masjid (the Universal Mosque), the Qutab Minar (the Emperor Humayun's tomb), and the Taj Mahal. Participants wil take the Shatabdi Express train north to Dehra Dun to spend a few days at the Dr. Vandana Shiva Centre, and meet with Dr. Shiva, one of the pioneers of people-based economic and social models. Also, we will travel to the state of Rajasthan where we will visit the lake city of Udaipur (known as the Venice of India), take a tour of important cultural sites, and spend a day with Aajeevika, a group working to coordinate urban and rual poverty alleviation projects. In Delhi, delegates will visit with groups and organizations including a project working with street children with women and children from slum communities. Throughout the trip, participants will have opportunity to engage in lively discussion about India's political history, present, and future directions. For more information about this delegation, please contact Alessandro.




Afghanistan: Women Making Change

March 02, 2009 - March 11, 2009

Cost: $1,750 

Join Global Exchange, in partnership with Afghans4Tomorrow on a women's delegation to Kabul, Afghanistan and bear witness to the self-generated transformation of women's roles in Afghan society. After three decades of warfare, Afghanistan continues to strive towards reconstruction, despite waning support for the UN-backed government and the threat of Taliban insurgency. Within this challenging environment, Afghan women are taking reconstruction into their own hands. On this tour you will experience first-hand the inspirational work of Afghan grassroots organizations, engaging directly with many of the women leading the drive for change. Specifically, participants will explore the current political landscape and the challenges facing grassroots organizations in reconciling a history of conflict with today's needs and threats.

Highlights of this delegation will include meetings with women's literacy, microfinance and fair trade organizations, visits to public and community centers bringing relief and service to the Kabul community, and first hand engagement with women's groups striving to improve the lives of widows, refugees, and victims of conflict. Delegates will also be offered the unique opportunity to tour Kabul's cultural and historic sites, such as the tomb of King Nader Shah, Darulaman Palace, the National Archives, and the Ashiana Art Gallery.

This trip to Afghanistan is the opportunity of a lifetime to see the challenges that Afghan women are facing, to hear their stories first-hand, and to learn from them how we can support their efforts. For more information or to join this delegation, please contact Sanaz.




World Social Forum 2007 in Kenya: A Firsthand Account

By Kirsten Moller, Co-Founder of Global Exchange 

Last year I had the pleasure of attending my second World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of Global Exchange's delegation. It was an incredible and invigorating experience. Imagine sitting in a room discussing how to protect our natural heritage and diversity by creating seed banks, with farmers from India, Mozambique, Brazil, India and Mexico and then moving into another workshop looking at cultural responses to violence against women and children organized by women from Somalia. At the WSF there are hundreds of workshops, talks by leading intellectual leaders, dynamic music and arts events organized by youth groups, and delicious food from all over the globe.

The WSF is such a vibrant and stimulating event that truly it can be a little overwhelming at first. Being with Global Exchange's delegation helped me to orient and navigate the events of the forum. Our delegation also had a week on site in Kenya before the forum began, which allowed us to get oriented within the country, to begin understanding what it meant to host the forum, and to be ready to absorb the tremendous wealth of international grassroots organizing. It was a humbling and inspiring experience! The grassroots movement is truly international and is built on the stories and struggles of people all over the world who want to share and join together in a truly inclusive movement to create positive change. I can think of few better opportunities to connect with this unifying movement, to become educated about the struggles that are inextricably bound to our own, and to experience the profound solidarity of the global justice movement than participating in the World Social Forum.






Have you participated in a past Reality Tour and returned home feeling inspired and energized to be an active agent for change in our world? Did a Reality Tour deepen your understanding of the importance of creating people to people ties across geographical, cultural, and economic borders? If so, we would like to invite you to share this experience by donating to the Reality Tours Scholarship Fund.

Since many youth and people from low-income communities find it difficult to afford our delegations, Reality Tours works to maintain a Scholarship Fund as a way of extending this transformative opportunity to a larger population.

The purpose of the Scholarship Program is not only a means to help support these communities, but also to ensure greater diversity and mutual learning within each Reality Tour group. The Fund is sustained by benefits events and donations from previous Reality Tour Participants, like you.

Every penny counts. Your contributions go to ensure that young and economically disadvantaged individuals continue experiencing these empowering delegations. All donations are also tax-deductible as we are a certified 501(c)(3) Non Profit!

To donate please send checks made out to "Global Exchange: Reality Tours Scholarship Fund", to:

Global Exchange
2017 Mission St, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94110


Thank you for your care and support!

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