South Asian Social Forum in Dhaka

University of Dhaka. (Official photo)

Source: The Daily Star

The South Asian Social Forum 2011 will be held in Dhaka, for the first time in Bangladesh, from November 18-22. University of Dhaka (DU) will co-host the conference.

The theme of the forum is 'Democracy for Social Transformation in South Asia: Participation, Equity, Justice and Peace,' DU Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique Arefin said this week at a press conference in Dhaka's Cirdap auditorium.

At least 200 seminars, symposiums, workshops and cultural programmes will be held during the five-day gathering, he said. All the events will be held on the DU premises.

The objective of the conference is to create a new South Asia free from poverty and hunger caused by exploitation, discrimination and oppression and to establish a common humanity based on equality, freedom and justice, Arefin said.

“We have to assimilate humanity with globalisation through holding such an event,” said Prof Arefin.

Around 20,000 participants from South Asia and others parts of the world will attend the forum.

Some of the major issues that will be addressed at the forum include participatory democracy, human rights, fundamentalism, conflict and societal peace, food sovereignty, justice and development, media and cultural hegemony, and regional and trans-boundary issues.

The first South Asian Social Forum was held in 2003 in India, as a part of a bigger platform, World Social Forum (WSF).

In a meeting in Casablanca last year, WSF endorsed the proposal to organise the South Asian Social Forum in Dhaka this year.

In line with the spirit of WSF that originated in Brazil in 2001, several events in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan were organised by activists opposing the current phase of the globalisation process.