Put May 22-24 2012 in your diaries - because that's when the four Africa Foundations of the Open Society will host an unprecedented OpenForum on the theme of Money, Power and Sex: The paradox of unequal growth. Taking place at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town, the OpenForum will represent the first event of its kind and will provide a space for activists, academics, businesspeople and policy-makers to talk about the economic, social and political implications for Africa of the emerging world order.
Within the broad overall theme, the OpenForum will focus particularly on the roles of India, Brazil and China as drivers of growth on the continent, but increasingly as important actors in the political and social affairs of African countries. Layered on top of this, will be an interest in how inequality – across money, power and sex – affects young people. In the shadow of the North African and Arab Spring revolutions, the Africa Foundations will be looking at who is being left behind as the race for resources plays itself out in Africa, and who – equally importantly – is being pushed aside.
The OpenForum will provide space for a range of African actors – prominent and well known, as well as younger and newer voices – to take a critical look at the factors that will influence the African democracy and governance agenda over the next decade - as well as an opportunity for Brazilian, Russina, Indian and Chinese thinkers, policy-makers and activists to participate.
With a focus on poverty and inequality, and on the role of the BRICS countries in particular, the OpenForum will also provide a much-needed opportunity for those engaged in questions of poverty and development to interact with those who work on human rights, justice and governance issues.
While the OpenForum will provide an unapologetic space for reflection and thinking, it is intended to result in a few important outcomes that will guide the programming and advocacy of the Africa Foundations – and their partners and grantees – over the next few years. Linked to the OpenForum will be a grant fund, which will be dedicated to enabling ideas seeded at the OpenForum to be taken forward – so that innovative ideas really are transformed into action.
In addition, given the importance of BRICS, the OpenForum will provide an opportunity for the Foundations to agree on a programme of work around economic policy, human rights and environmental monitoring related to the conduct of state and non-state actors from BRICS countries in Africa. Beyond the on-going questions related to deepening economic inequality and the adoption of policy models that are overly prescriptive, the Africa Foundations will also be seeking input on a new set of phenomena that threaten human rights on the continent.
Lastly, beyond the substance, the OpenForum seeks to bring to the fore new voices in African conversations. The participants at the gathering will be a mix of global policy actors with extensive experience, and local and regional actors who are on the cutting edge of forcing change. The diversity of voices and perspectives will be carefully selected both in terms of speakers and participants to ensure lively, dynamic and interesting conversations.
More information on the programme and speakers can be found on the websitewww.openforum.net - as well as more details for those who are interested in participating. A call for proposals will also be issued before the end of 2011.
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