GVO Summit Thoughts: That Hurt My Cynicism

by Joshua Foust on 7/1/2008 · 3 comments

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.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 3 comments }

Alanna July 3, 2008 at 10:39 am

I dunno – how will you be able to blog if you’re cynicisim-deficient?

Joshua Foust July 3, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Well, I didn’t say my cynicism was gone, just injured. Don’t worry — I’m reading up on Congressmen Issa’s and Melancon’s attempt to nominate Nursultan Nazarbayev for a Novel Peace Prize… which is helping a lot.

sillybahrainigirl July 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm

It was a pleasure meeting you Joshua!
All the best in your upcoming trip to Afghanistan 🙂

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