On January 20-25, 2007, eleven people from China NGO Network for International Exchanges, China UN Association, the Chinese People¡¯s Association for Peace and Disarmament, the Chinese Association for International Understanding, the Contemporary World Research Center and the China-Africa Business Council attended the 7th World Social Forum (WSF) held in Nairobi, capital city of Kenya.
Initiated by the left forces and NGOs in Latin America and Europe and without any Party and government affiliation, the WSF is convened annually and participated by a broad range of organizations from different fields. It is also one of the most widely attended and influential international NGO forums. Since 2001, the WSF has been convened at the beginning of each year, the time when the World Economic Forum (WEF) is also in session. The gathering of WSF is to dialogue and debate with WEF. When these two important international gatherings are held, the whole world will be amused by such picture in which on one side are those decently dressed and big-bellied political elites while on the other side are the poor in their shabby clothes. One side is talking about how to push forward the trade and capital globalization while the other side is condemning the adverse impact of globalization. At the WEF, countries like U.S. and Britain may be in the limelight but at WSF they may be the targets of blames. The WAS upholds that ¡°another world is possible¡±, a long-term theme which is clear opposite to the Western politicians¡¯ theory of ¡° no other choices than the neo-liberal globalization¡±. Under such common goal and theme, the participants at WSF held lively discussions and fully exchanged their views on the hot issues arising from globalization.
It is the first time that the Forum this year was held in an African country. It drew nearly 80 thousand attendants from more than 100 countries and witnessed over 3000 individual activities. It was a gala meeting for the NGOs from various countries to increase mutual understanding and seek fresh ideas from each other. The participants demonstrated their unique culture and expressed their understanding of the theme through various forms such as workshops, cultural exhibitions, parades, rallies and art performances. For the participants it is rare chance to have face-to-face communication in such a big group of people, they showed enormous enthusiasm, making the meeting venue a place of cheers for days.
At the gathering, the Chinese NGOs successfully held the workshops discussing Sino-Africa relations. Chinese cultural exhibitions were also held. The big lanterns with distinctive Chinese feature were hung on the exhibition booth drawing a large crowd. What was more noteworthy was that the African people were showing tremendous interest for Chinese culture and China¡¯s latest development. We felt such unusual fervor as soon as we arrived in this equator country from thousands of miles away. As Chinese NGOs, we felt the African people¡¯s truest sentiments towards us. The simple and unadorned nature of the land of Africa together with the time-honored China-Africa friendship have all along lingered in our mind. From the deep hearts, we are calling for real actions to promote the people-to-people exchanges between China and African countries.