Three months ago, the organising committee were desperately looking at how to cut costs for this conference and who could fill gaps in the programme. To be honest, even the outstanding Indian speakers who have not previously attended WRI events - Arundhati Roy and Ashish Nandy at the opening session, P.V. Rajagopal of Ekta Parishad, Samarendra Das from the Orissa anti-mining campaign and Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan - were not sure that they could come. Since then, however, everything seems to have fallen into place. Those five Indian speakers have confirmed. But even more significantly, thanks to the efforts of people in various places in the WRI network, we have secured funding and can promise a pretty global gathering with people from important nonviolent struggles in every continent. The attached programme highlights speakers at the plenary sessions, but don't think of them as the "stars" of the conference - it's the quality of participation that counts!

A participatory conference

The attached programme was updated on December. You will find later updates on the web page http://wri-irg.org/india2010

As you can see, the conference has a structure and quite a lot prepared already. However, there is room for more participation.

First, if you want to organise a workshop, please tell us about it!

Second, every morning plenary session will have two spots before the speakers and discussion.
One will be "here is the news". Any participant is welcome to report a short news item from their home. But also every day some participants (which can include you) will prepare a piece of "newspaper theatre" - this means acting out a news story in a way that reveals what really matters. For the opening session, we plan to recruit volunteers from the WRI Council, but after that it's over to everybody.

The other spot will be for "reflectors". We will find five "reflectors" whose job is to listen to what's happening in the conference, even in the food queues and in the evenings, and each morning mirror back to us what they're hearing and the issues they think this raises.

A WRI conference

Before and after "Nonviolent Livelihood Struggles and Global Anti-Militarism: links and strategies", there will be WRI meetings.
On the morning of 22 January, there will be a meeting of the WRI Council - those elected for the period 2006-2010 plus representatives.
On 27 and 28 January, there will be WRI's "quadrennial" business meeting to set our course for the next four years and elect new Council members. All individual members of WRI itself or of WRI affiliates are entitled to attend this, and others are welcome to observe. On 29 January, there will be a meeting of the WRI Council members elected for the period 2010 onwards plus representatives of affiliates.
Further papers on this have been prepared and will soon be distributed.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

As a good anti-consumerist conference, in Ahmedabad we hope to have materials you can buy. These will include khadi (homespun) shirts and bags with the conference logo, and also t-shirts with the broken rifle. Also, a limited amount of material will be taken from the WRI office to Ahmedabad - including badges and some books. But please let us know in advance what you want.

If anything you want to know is not included in the attached information, then please check the conference web page - http://wri-irg.org/india2010. If it isn't there, or isn't clear, then write to info@wri-irg.org


On behalf of the Conference Organising Committee