The 2011 World Social Forum (WSF), the second to be held in Africa since its inception a decade ago in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has made a shaky start in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
At the first official day of the Forum, hundreds of participants from around the world were stranded as a result of the absence of a complete programme, inadequate and well-labelled venues, thus driving many event-organisers to either postpone or cancel planned events on February 7.
While tempers never flared up, participants were visibly disappointed at the quality of organisation. Organisers of the WSF have however assured participants and event organisers that the organisational challenges of the first day were being addressed. The confusion does not seem to have subdued participants’ enthusiasm.
The venue of the Dakar forum is the University of Cheikh Anta Diop. Participants of WSF 2011 have to compete with students of the university for space. And in a stack case on February 7, a university lecturer walked out organisers of a WSF event on Emerging Economies and Africa’s Media, to make way for his accounting class. He told the WSF participants he has two weeks to complete his syllabus for the semester.
However, 30 minutes into his lecture, the university authorities walked the lecturer and students out of the lecture hall to make way for the WSF event. According to the university, that particular lecturer hall had been earmarked for WSF events. (...)
(c) Kwesi W. Obeng
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