Francisco “Chico” Whitaker Ferreira – Brazil

Linked with The World Future Council, and with World Social Forum: Origin and Aims.

He says: “So many people thought that Lula’s election meant change was on its way, but instead we’ve been disappointe. It’s sad, but the big lesson that we learned from these last two years is that it is an illusion to think you can change the world by taking political power”. (full text).

… In February 2000, Bernard Cassen, chair of Attac and director of Le Monde Diplomatique, met in Paris with Grajew and Francisco Whitaker, of the Brazilian Justice and Peace Commission (CBJP), to discuss the possibility of such a forum … (full text).

… As Francisco Whitaker, a member of the organizing committee from Brazil noted, “The Forum is a wind of hope that has taken hold in all of our hearts.” Almost 5 thousand organizations from 131 countries participated along with 11,600 young people who stayed in tents at the International Youth Camp … (full text).

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Francisco “Chico” Whitaker Ferreira – Brazil

He says also: “The Forum as an incubator space for movements. The Forum’s Charta of Principles has a very advanced approach in the position against establishing for itself any kind of direction or leadership: nobody gets the right to speak in the name of the Forum – it doesn’t suit to speak in the name of a free space – or of its participants. Everyone – individuals and organizations – keep their rights to express themselves and to act during and after the Forum according to his convictions, assuming or not positions and proposals that are or have been presented by other participants, but never in the name of the Forum and of the participants altogether. The Forum is an open space, like the public gardens, and as it is specified in the Charta of Principles.

But it isn’t a neutral space, unlike the public gardens. It opens from time to time and on different places of the world – during the events that make it concrete – with a specific goal: allow that the highest possible number of individuals, organizations and movements who oppose to neo-liberalism may meet freely, listen to each other, learn from the experiences and struggles of others, discuss proposals for action, articulate themselves in new networks and organizations that aim to overcome the present process of globalisation, dominated by the great international corporations and by financial interests. Thus it is a space created for serving a goal common to all who flow towards it; a space that functions horizontally like a public garden, without leaders or pyramids of power inside. All those who come to the Forum agree to accept this perspective – for this same reason one has established as condition for entrance in this “public garden” to agree with the Charta of Principles. (full text).

Francisco (’Chico’) Whitaker Ferreira is a Roman Catholic activist, who has worked for democracy and against corruption throughout his life, both at home and in exile. As Executive Secretary to the CNBB’s Commission of Justice and Peace (CBJP) Whitaker has been instrumental in the conception, development, and implementation of an anti-corruption bill in Brazil. He is also one of the key people behind the burgeoning World Social Forum (WSF) – a large conference event, a parallel to the World Economic Forum in Davos, to share the various insights of those from around the world who were working for alternatives to “world domination by capital, within the parameters of neoliberalism”. The idea has been a great success and the annual Forums have become platforms for civil society organisations from all around the world to exchange views, form coalitions, work on concrete strategies and coordinate campaigns. (full text).

Read: World Social Forum 2006.

Brazilian social-justice advocate Francisco “Chico” Whitaker Ferreira worked on urban planning and land reform projects for the Brazilian government before he joined the opposition movement against the country’s military regime in 1964. Two years later, he was exiled along with his wife and four children. Until his return in 1982, he lived and worked in France and Chile as a researcher and advisor for UNESCO, among other organizations. Now 75, Whitaker is a Catholic activist, inspired by liberation theology and closely allied with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. In 2006, Whitaker received the Right Livelihood Award, an annual prize given since 1980 to support people who not only dedicate themselves to social justice and the environment, but who live according to those principles. The prize, some 220,000 euros [$285,000 U.S.], was awarded in December by the Swedish parliament. (wikipedia).


The 21st century had just begun when something new came into the world: the World Social Forum, which met for the first time in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001, to coincide with the already well-established World Economic Forum in Davos. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and it is now a permanent fixture on the international calendar. What is it about? (full text).

Read: El Foro Social Mundial estᠡbierto a gente sin prejuicios.
Read: ?Temos de continuar nosso caminho, que est’ando certo?
Read: Nuevos retos para foro alternativo.
Read: Redes e Desenvolvimento.
Read these articles: COMISSÃO BRASILEIRA JUSTIÇA E PAZ, Organismo vinculado à CNBB.

Read in german: Francisco Whitaker Ferreira.


Forum 2000;

Brasilien – Buchriese und Lesezwerg;

Another World is Possible”, Social responsibility: rules for being on the market, São Paulo, Brazil;

Alliance News;

Forum Social Mundial.

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