It’s funny, I wrote earlier that the GVO summit was kind of silly—useful outrage, perhaps, but overly idealistic. While I would still generally say that about some things, to a large degree this criticism was misplaced.
For starters, everyone I met was incredible, whether from Bahrain, Malawi, Bolivia, Tajikistan, or the Czech Republic. But it was most incredible to hang out and drink with many of the people I have only ever interacted with over Central Asia issues online—people like Ben Paarmann, Adil, Vadim, Tolkun, Onnik, and so on. I met a surprising number of people who read Registan.net with zeal, to an extent that surprised me—people at NGOs, media outlets, radio stations, and just plain old blog junkies.
But more than that, these people are about affecting change. The most promising thing I saw was a GV project called Rising Voices, which is focused on bringing blogging technology to poor communities and amplifying their voices so they can be heard by the global community. Frankly, this sort of project is just stunning.
But I shan’t ramble on and on about the conference. It was a wonderful experience, and Budapest charmed me sufficiently to ensure my return. And perhaps more ominously, I feel somewhat less cynical afterward. I hope you can understand.