We just wrapped up the Global Voices Summit in Budapest. I unfortunately missed the first public half of the Summit, but participated in the meeting afterwords for the authors, editors and the staff. It was amazing to see so many countries and regions discussing issues face to face in combinations that only the UN would come close to. It was a really great meeting everyone and the last session was tear-jerking, listening to everyone's stories.
Since the first Global Voices meeting in 2004, I've been peripherally involved, most recently as a board member. I'd seen the site growing and growing, but the scale, quality and commitment of the community involved in running this multi-national, multi-lingual blogging effort really hit me after attending this conference and I'm even prouder than ever to be able to part of this movement.
Global Voices is a super-important part in fixing what I call the "caring problem". There is a systemic bias against reporting international news in most developed nations. When pressed, many editors will say that people just don't want to read articles about other parts of the world. This is because most people don't care. They don't care because they don't hear the voices or know people in other countries. I think that by providing voices to all over the world, we have the ability to connect people and get people to care more.
I also believe that voice is probably more important than votes or guns. I believe that combating extremism is most effectively done by winning the argument in public, not by censorship, elections or destruction. I believe that providing everyone with a voice to participate in the global dialog is key. The ability to communication and connect without permission or fear of retribution is a pillar of open society in the 21st Century. Global Voices is the best example of this that I know of.