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The Marist World Social Forum

18/02/2009: Brazil - Photo gallery

The Marist World Social Forum (FSM) is an open space meeting, which encourages discussion in a decentralized form of debate, reflection, formulation of proposals, sharing of experiences, articulation of idea among organizations and movements committed to concrete actions, from the local to the international level, for the construction of a world of greater solidarity, democracy and justice. (www.fsm2009amazonia.org.br)

The FSM was started as a counterpoint to the World Economic Forum (FEM) which takes place every year on the same dates in Davos (Switzerland), bringing together the most powerful and richest nations of the world. The pretext of the FSM, on the other hand, is to unite and speak for all the civil societies of the world, with the hope that “another world is possible”.

This year, 2009, the FSM will take place in Belem de Para (Brazil), in middle of the Amazon region, intending to call the attention of the whole world to the strategic role of this region for all of humanity. In effect, it treats of one of the last areas on earth which is still relatively preserved, in a geographic space of immeasurable value because of its biodiversity.

Even though the Marists have been present in the FSM since its first edition in 2001 in Porto Alegre (RS, Brazil), this is the first time that they are present in an organized manner, representing almost all the provinces of America, and a good part of Europe. The General Administration is represented by Brother Emili Turu, as coordinator for Missions, as well as by Brother Dominic Pujia and Sara Panciroli, director and secretary of FMSI, repectively.

The Forum started on the afternoon of January 27th, with a very well attended parade through the center of the city of Belem and, from the start, the evidence of the commitment of the Marist Institute to the goals of the FSM was evident. Marist College Nazare, which welcomed about 800 participant to the WSF, stood out as the only Institution that, throughout the entire route of the parade, embraced in a noteworthy manner the theme of the parade: while the river of people was passing in front of the college building, the siren of the College was sounding, a musical group was singing and animating the crowd, and a large banner displayed the Marist adherence to the “dream” that “another world is possible”. The welcome stood out even more because the financial institutions and chains like McDonalds had security guards or police outside in order to protect them. Protect from what?

On their part, the Marists of Brazil, in coordination with UMBRASIL, the body which holds together the collaborative efforts of all Marists in this country, is having is presence visible enough to the FSM. It now has a permanent booth which offers information about Marist Education for Solidarity in Brazil; it also has diverse Marist groups offering seminars, debates and experiences to all those who wish to participate.

On January 31 a meeting of representatives from Marist Solidarity organizations, (The Marist Foundation for International Solidarity) is scheduled and ways of collaboration and joint actions will be discussed.

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