This is the story of my adventures in Berlin, July 2014, this is not intended as a working report, so please don’t expect much seriousness.
Short version but less interesting:
I went to Berlin, I got lost, overslept, missed a inter-continental plane but I made loads of friends =).
Longer and more interesting version:
@pablocollada (FCI’s new executive president) and I (handsome coder at FCI) went to Berlin to attend to one of the most of massive events in the field of democracy, open government, technology the other molecule, open-culture.
To promote the use of our tools.
To see what the rest of our community is up to.
To meet and network with potential partners and collaborators.
In short, to save the world.
We got in the same Sunday as the Word Cup Final (Germany-Argentina), you might imagine all the excitement in the streets of Berlin, the flags, flags everywhere, everythings with a German flag. I was kind of missing all the latin-american mess and it was such a funny experiment to think of how crazy the streets of Buenos Aires would have been at the same time.
I thought that the best way to get rid of the awful jet lag was to stay up and ride a bike all around town. Right when I thought that I wasn’t going to meet anyone I saw the Argentine crowd from Democracy Os headed towards the Kulturbrauerei to watch the game drinking beer and eating pretzels. The rain seemed not diminish the enthusiasm of any of them, although unfortunately the jet lag did to me what the rain didn’t. So about an hour before the match, I rode my bike back to the hostel where I watched the game with a beer and some germans that were cheering for Argentina (funny thing isn’t?). I passed out 5 minutes after the game finished. The end.
Next day was a completely different thing. I didn’t have a trace of jet lag (at least I thought so) and the only thing I could think of was more biking and exploring the city, and that’s exactly what I did. So I got to see the memorial at Bernauer Straße and then I got a bit lost. Next thing on the list, meet my new roommates for the next 4 days at 4 PM in Eberwalder Straße. That was about the time I met Jorge Díaz @YAYjorge and Martín Szyszlican and together with @pablocollada we shared a very nice apartment in central Berlin for 4 days.
I got late at the meeting (predictable) and the guys were inside the apartment already set and ready to go to the first activities of #okfest14 here you can see the programme. I went to the fair where I got to see all the projects mentioned in the slot from 18 to 19 hours on thursday. I met my friend Breyten, you might know him for projects like Politwoops or the Dutch openspending. I also met Paul Lenz, Jen, Mark, Tony and Tom from mySociety. We went to see Artists without a cause @ArtistsWAC and their Politaoke which basically is a karaoke but with political speeches. I promised myself I was going to send them a speech of Salvador Allende’s.
Back at the apartment, it didn’t take us too long to start a conversation with @YAYjorge and @martinszy about what were the main issues in our beloved latin america, and it didn’t take us much of the conversation to find out that it was the sexism embedded as part of our culture is a real problem across all the region and we all agreed that we would so something about it (I think that the content of these conversations didn’t get much further but if you want to join please don’t hesitate). Twit us at @lfalvarez, @pablocollada, @martinszy and @YAYjorge.
I overslept the next day and I got to the Festival in the middle of the keynotes =/. Anyway, I attended to the Open Access Global Review, where I got to see some of the most interesting updates regarding opendata from around the world.
Right after that I started talking with @tmtm about VoteIt, here I want to stress the usefulness of this project and specially for us at @ciudadanoi and probably to a lot of NGOs that are working with votes and their interpretation.
In the afternoon I attended to Open Data Communities, which was a session about finding who is doing what around the world. If you want you can check the session link.
Later I attended a session called “Global Elections Toolbox”. I was drawn to that session because I feel some kind of love for our project VotaInteligente. The projects here were presented by @stefvangrieken and he showed us several projects intended to promote transparency and better participation around the globe. NOTE: I could not find the presentation does anyone have it?.
After that I had the opportunity to talk to several mexican guys, working on great things, that I’m going to describe now:
Juan Pablo Escobar from Codeando México, we realized that they were working on a project called “Congreso Abierto” which seemed to me that was really close to our CongresoAbierto. (This project was born in DAL 2012).
The guys from the Laboratorio para la Ciudad de México who I realized were doing a really interesting work that is worth keeping an eye at, not just in terms of the code that they produce but also in terms of the cultural scene that they are promoting in Mexico. Particularly I had the opportunity of talking with MikeSaurio who has been working on Traxi.
On thursday I participated in the “Money, Politics and Transparency” session hosted by the Money, Politics and Transparency initiative where I had to introduce the work with Quién te financia?. If you want to read more about this session you can go here.
Right after that and just out of mere chance I met @fancynancynyc and @lksriv whom I had a really interesting conversation about feminism and also I met for the first time Circle of 6 which is an app that helps prevent the violence against women before it happens.
During the afternoon I went to the unfestival to a session about promoting the use of poplus where we met a lot of people who wanted to see what was this all about. Particularly I had the oportunity of talking to Jaroslav from Kohovolit about how was write-it coded and how NapišteJim.cz was the inspiration for it. And see if there was a possibility for us to collaborate.
Later in the afternoon I went to dinner invited by Panthea Lee from Reboot. There I had the opportunity to meet Anne Mugai and my old pal Daniela Silva and suddenly the same conversation about sexism arose and I realized that Daniela was an activist pro women in technology back in Brazil and that our problems in Latin America were very similar to the ones that Anne was facing in Africa.
After a bike riding day in Berlin, Saturday was the day for me to leave and get back to Santiago. But things were not going to be any easy were they? So I got to the Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and 15 minutes before departing we were offered to stay one more night in Paris in exchange for a few euros, so naturally, I took it. Finally got to Santiago on Monday morning straight to work and I had Sunday to see wonderful Paris.
And that’s it.
Who to follow?
Besides the people mentioned above, I met some really interesting people in my trip and I want you to check them out:
- The guys from Open-steps project who have been mapping initiatives related to open knowledge.
- The guys from the OpenKratio an spanish #opengov and #opendata citizens group, particularly I had the chance to talk to Félix.
- Andra Bucur from Romanian Foundation from an Open Society.
- The guys from the brand new and spanish CEPID, focusing on investigative journalism.
- Doing an amazing job from Philadelphia Andrew Thompson from Azavea.
- Working in open data from South Africa Hannah Williams, she is one of the School of Data fellows and she has an awesome site.
- Making humanitarian data easy to find and useHumanitarian Data Exchange.
- I didn’t have the chance to speak much with Javie, but now I’m checking and his work in Uganda is really amazing please follow this link to check it out Uganda speaks.
I would add
I really don’t want to write anything else can this be a working report?
Where to go now
To Anca Matioc (most of you know her, right? if you don’t GO AND FOLLOW HER RIGHT AWAY!!!!) who helped me write this thing and is awesome.