Today I find myself in Bogotá, a metropolis which, with its high elevation, bohemian vagabonds, and surrounding green hills, reminds me quite a bit of Mexico City. Last time I was here I barely got out of La Candelaria and embassy row. This time I’m in Barrio Chico staying at a quaint little hotel with my friends Álvaro and Claudio.


I am here thanks to the kind invitation of another friend, Carolina, who is organizing the blog track for Campus Party, a sort-of technocentric South by Southwest for the Iberian world. Campus Party has been taking place for 11 years now in various locations throughout Spain, but 2008 marks the first year that the organizers set their sights on the ‘new world’.

Global Voices buddy Daniel Duende (who I will be meeting offline for the first time in a couple days) has a great summary of the first Latin American Campus Party, which took place earlier this year in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now it’s Spanish-speaking Latin America’s turn to get their geek on with Campus Party Colombia. The most exciting news for me is that 15 of the young participants from HiperBarrio (as well as all the coordinators: Gabriel, Jorge, Juliana, Álvaro, and Alfredo) will be here all week long. You can bet that they will all be posting updates on their personal blogs which will hopefully be summarized on the HiperBarrio website. We’ll get an English translation up on Rising Voices as soon as possible.

The bad news (sorta) is that I won’t be here all week. Tomorrow I will be giving a presentation on the current obstacles to a truly representative and participatory global conversation. Many of those obstacles, of course, are what Global Voices tries to find solutions to: lack of attention by traditional media outlets, government and corporate censorship, and lack of capacity building, training materials, and outreach. Later in the day I get to lead a hands-on workshop on how to use tools like WordPress, Gengo, Worldwide Lexicon, and dotSUB to set up a truly multilingual blog. Should be fun.

Unfortunately, tomorrow is about all the Campus Party experience I’ll get as Wednesday morning I start a gruelling journey from Bogotá to Miami to Frankfurt to Budapest for the Global Voices Summit. This is a meeting I’ve been looking forward to for over a year and a half now. We have grown so much since 70 or so of us were able to get together in Delhi at the end of 2006. It is incredible to look back at the 2006 summit program and realize that so much of what we discussed then lead to the concrete projects which today make Global Voices what it is. The Outreach Session led to Rising Voices. The Language and Translation session led to Lingua. And many of the topics touched in the Tools and Technology session foreshadowed the excellent work that Sami would be focusing on with Global Voices Advocacy.

It is both very inspiring and a little daunting to realize that many of the conversations we’ll be having this week in Budapest will similarly form a road map for Global Voices to follow over the next year or so. Of course, I am especially looking forward to the session on Rising Voices which Lova Rakotomalala will be moderating on the second day of the conference. And, no doubt, I’m looking forward to getting my party on with my Global Voices brethren and sisteren.

My fingers are crossed that on the long-ass plane ride from Colombia to Hungary I’ll find the time to uncross my fingers and hammer out a wrap-up post on Campus Party and a pre-post on the GV Summit.

Until then, chaito, pues.