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NEWS: World Social Forum to take place in Tunisia

Barlow at the 2003 World Social Forum.

Barlow at the 2003 World Social Forum.

IPS reports, “Following in the wake of the wave of revolutions dubbed the ‘Arab Spring’, which originated here nearly two years ago, North Africa is gearing up to host the World Social Forum (WSF) for the first time. …(Tunisia) will welcome visitors from all over the world in March of 2013, in a gathering organisers estimate will number upwards of ten thousand participants.”

Alas Talbi, coordinator of the Tunisian Platform for Economic and Social Rights, says, “The Arab world is the new centre of social movements.” Amélie Cannone, co-chair of the Paris-based organisation AITEC, adds, “From the Indignados in Spain to the student protesters in Quebec and Chile and the Occupy movement in the U.S. or UK – they all drew inspiration from the Arab Spring.” The article comments that it became apparent at the last WSF in Dakar, Senegal, “that the courage and determination of Tunisian and Egyptian activists should be honoured by selecting a North African country as the setting for the next WSF.”

As noted in the article, the WSF will:

  • encourage activism
  • help strengthen Arab social networks
  • serve as a foundation for cooperation with international movements
  • promote transnational cooperation
  • help to mobilise youth and women
  • have an ecological dimension
  • promote a paradigm shift to local economies, including new models of production, social protection and decent living conditions for all
  • challenge the current economic model based on intense extraction of natural resources.

The World Social Forum takes place March 26-30. Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow attended the World Social Forum in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007. Her keynote speech from the first World Social Forum in 2001 can be read at

The full IPS news article can be read at