I intended for this post to serve as some sort of table of contents for what I’ll be writing about over the next couple months, but I think that this is really me trying to keep my head on straight as I flutter and flounder all over the map.

The Soul of the New Machine: Human Rights, Technology and New Media

On Monday and Tuesday I’ll be at UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center for a two-day conference they are putting together on how technology and new media are changing the field of human rights. On Monday I’ll be giving a workshop, which will essentially be an updated, hands-on version of “Build a Virtual Global Organization.” By the end of the workshop we will collectively put together a toolbox on Social Source Commons for anyone interested in starting an online grassroots community project. On Tuesday I will be speaking on a panel with Xiao Qing, Ron Bigler, and Kirk Boyd about “Blogging Human Rights.” I will present case studies of Ceasefire Liberia, Drop-In Center, HiperBarrio, and El Nula Por La Paz as examples of capacity-building programs that empower communities affected by human rights abuses to document their own stories rather than the old model of advocacy campaigns which speak on behalf of communities.

Fora.tv will broadcast the conference live and remote viewing hubs have been set up in New York City, Bogotá, and Medellín.

Then on Tuesday afternoon I head down to Sunnyvale to catch up with Ory, Rebecca, Amira, and Guarav at Yahoo’s “Business and Human Rights Summit.” The summit, in the words of its organizer, Ebele Okobi-Harris, “will focus on how technology and the Internet facilitate freedom of expression, with a focus upon innovative approaches to addressing government challenges.” Much of the discussion, I imagine, will build on the framework of the Global Network Initiative.

Ceasefire Liberia, NYC

Next weekend I will be meeting up with Ruthie Ackerman in New York City to visit Park Hill, Staten Island, the largest community of Liberians living outside of Liberia. A couple months ago I was in Monrovia speaking with Prince Tolkpah, Titus Alagba, and Dave Shellnut of Amnesty International about why they see a need for an online community of Liberians in the diaspora and at home to discuss issues that affect them both:

Titus has been especially active on the Ceasefire Liberia website, with informative posts on “Social and Economic Inequality in Liberia” and about flooding in Monrovia.

This coming weekend I will get to see the other side of the project – Liberians living and struggling here in the United States. Here is an amazing video by Ruthie about the Liberian community in Staten Island:

Argentina: Arrorró: Networked Lullabies

The next week I will be in Buenos Aires where I will interview visual artist and professor Gabriela Golder about her upcoming art project, Arrorró, one of twenty “Live Bits” projects as part of 80+1: A Journey Around the World. (More on this soon.)

Uruguay: Flor de Ceibo


The Ceibo tree is the national flower of both Argentina and Uruguay. It is also the name of a student-led organization to support the One Laptop Per Child Project in Uruguay. I wrote at length about the project yesterday on Rising Voices so I won’t repeat myself here, but I’m looking forward to connecting with Pablo Flores later this month in Montevideo and helping out with some workshops to get more Uruguayan youth blogging on their XO laptops.

Voces Bolivianas

In early June I head to Bolivia to meet up with my dear friends Eddie and Cristina and to finally meet Mario and Hugo, all of Voces Bolivianas.

Boston: The Future of Civic Media and Community News

Then it is back to Boston for a conference at MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media where the Knight Foundation will announce this year’s winners of the Knight News Challenge. If you are interested in the latest developments in community news and citizen journalism than the Center for Future Civic Media, Knight Pulse, Idea Lab, and MediaShift are all important resources to keep your eyes on (and all Knight-funded initiatives). Here are some of the issues at stake:

Amsterdam: Open Translation Tools

The following week: Amsterdam for the Open Translation Tools 2009 conference. This is a follow-up meeting to the gathering we had in 2007 in Croatia. After that meeting I wrote a five-part series on Open Software, Open Content, and Open Translation, which focused on the importance of open source software, open licensing, open translation, the then-state of localization and content translation, and obstacles to translation workflows.

I am looking forward to seeing how far we’ve come since 2007. Global Voices Lingua translation has expanded tremendously under the leadership of Leonard and Portnoy. Meedan is starting to really get going. dotSUB has partnered with TED to make their talks available in multiple languages. And perhaps most exciting of all is this news from Chris Salzberg about a new tool called Minna no Honyaku which will soon be released as open source code with the aim of translating as much online content as possible. Why translate as much online content as possible? Ethan Zuckerman makes a good argument.

Portugal: International School on Digital Transformation

Next stop: Portugal, for a week long program at the University of Porto on “Digital Transformation“. (They will hopefully digitally transform their website soon.) The University of Porto is involved in lots of cool projects including Future Places: Digital Media and Local Cultures and the Summer Institute in Digital Media.


Then comes the big project that I’ll announce in a week or two.

The next five months are going to be insane. I am sure that I will lose my mind at least a few times, but not a day goes by that I don’t think to myself (at least once) that I’m the luckiest person on this planet. To be able to work on such amazing projects with old, new, and future friends is really a dream come true.

Now it’s time to get back to work …