Download our PDF Brochure
Watch the Brazil WMV
Find us on Facebook


Brazilian Dialogue

Lula has impact at summit

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Social Forum (WSF) both held summits recently, the WEF in Davos, Switzerland in early February, and the WSF in Porto Alegre, Brazil in late January.

The names of these two entities are revealing. World Economic Forum -- the focus is on the human being as a buying and selling creature, with profit giving life its goal and purpose, the few against the many. World Social Forum -- the focus is on the human race as a family, people of all races and cultures co-operating to enable all to live with dignity.

And who attends? At the WEF are heads of state, ministers of finance, World Trade Organization officials, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank and, of course, the CEOs of the transnationals and financial institutions -- the top one per cent of the world when you measure in economic terms. A few hundred people.

And at the WSF? Non-governmental organizations, representatives of church-base communities, peace activists, human rights workers -- 150,000 delegates representing 80 per cent of the world's population.

But along comes a leader, a Brazilian no less, who tackles the great divide between the two. Lula, Brazil's new president, is solidly for change, for including the poor in the banquet of life.

He was hailed as "ours" at Porto Alegre. Then he flew to Davos and overwhelmed the rich folk there by his graciousness and charm, and his persuasive arguments, so much so that the president of the International Monetary Fund went to him at the conclusion of his speech and asked, "May I give you a hug?"

That's almost the effect Jesus had on Zacchaeus! The world's eyes are now on Lula.

Al Gerwing