9 February 2009


As the 2009 World Social Forum opened in Belem, Brazil, co-founder and Catholic activist, Chico Whitaker, told a forum on liberation and theology that the global economic crisis was also an opportunity "to build another world".

"At this forum it is clear that it is really possible to have another world, and not just possible, but urgent and necessary" he said.

The World Social Forum (WSF) was created to facilitate dialogue between peoples and generate practical actions to improve the planet. People of all nations, continents and cultures converge their hopes and struggles in the WSF and reaffirm that another world is possible!

More than 100,000 people from 150 countries attended the 2009 gathering that met in Belem in northeast Brazil from January 27 to February 1, according to a report published in Ekklesia

Belem was chosen as the location of this year's social forum to symbolise the importance of climate and environmental issues, as well as the rights of minority cultures.

Environmentalists have warned for years about the continued deforestation of the Amazonian region, noted for its biological diversity, and where many of its inhabitants are indigenous peoples.

"In Chinese, the word for crisis means a risk and an opportunity," said Whitaker, who was addressing a World Forum on Theology and Liberation held in Belem in advance of the WSF. "The ones in Davos are facing the risk of seeing their system go down the drain. We in Belem have a moment of opportunity."

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