"Exhibiting You" - Story

LIVE! From South Africa: Blog Entry 5

November 14, 2008: After Russia

By: Masum Momaya, Curator
Submitted: 11/18/2008

Greetings from the first day of the AWID Forum. Since one of my responsibilities as Curator at I.M.O.W. is to make sure that we feature voices from many different parts of the world, I decided to attend several sessions today that focus on Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia - two areas of the world that, sadly, I know little about.

The presence of activists from these regions at AWID has historically been strong, especially through the years when George Soros' foundation, the Open Society Institute (OSI), provided travel grants and paid to have Russian translation and interpretation services. OSI funding, though, has recently declined in these countries, leaving it so that we are back to seeing this "1 activist per country" representation from 40+ diverse countries, all from a region that seems to have immense suffering.

The transitions to democracy have not been easy. Petro-wars are placing the citizens of these countries in precarious positions. Fundamentalisms are on the rise. And each of the activist-presenters were all grappling with the question "Is the women's movement in your country dying?" All this while, women's movements in most countries in most parts of the world are growing stronger, becoming more visible and receiving more support.

As there was no Russian translation available, many participants were valiantly giving their first presentations in English, laboring to convey what seem to have become forgotten, basic struggles amidst the high-speed train that is transnational organizing. As I close this blog entry, I am still thinking about how we can go back and pick up these passengers.


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