Development and Peace at the People’s Social Forum

Last August 21–24, Development and Peace participated in the first Peoples’ Social Forum in Canada held on the campus of the University of Ottawa. Development and Peace presented a workshop and set up a booth, and several members also attended.

This important civil society event brought together more than 5,000 individuals, people from all walks of life who came to learn, share their ideas, meet and organize: individuals or members of trade unions, NGOs from various sectors or groups, activists, environmentalists and feminists, researchers and students, French and English speakers, people from First Nations, etc.

The workshop proposed by Development and Peace offered a comprehensive introduction to the topic of food sovereignty and was attended by about sixty people. The workshop was presented by the Social Justice Committee at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, in collaboration with Development and Peace. After a warm welcome in Creole, the youths on the committee introduced the concept of food sovereignty, and then screened the documentary On the Road to Food Sovereignty. Participants were then invited to break up into small discussion groups to propose definitions of various concepts relating to food sovereignty.

The kiosk manned by Development and Peace enabled us to share with the Forum’s participants, tell them about Development and Peace’s work and introduce the brand new education campaign under the slogan Sow Much Love, on the topic of small family farms and the right of farmers to save, use and trade their seeds.

The hundreds of workshops presented at the People’s Social Forum dealt with various themes: resource management, poverty, climate change, public services, trade unionism, economy, social change, North-South relations, human rights, etc. The actors in each set of themes met at convergence assemblies to develop strategies for working together on common concerns.

Participants in the People’s Social Forum emerged equipped and motivated to continue their work in their respective fields, after having been able to attend stimulating workshops, listen to the inspiring conference of the journalist and activist Naomi Klein, and take advantage of opportunities to meet and network.