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 Home > Event-related > World Social Forum

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Press release: Babels will not participate in the 2015 WSF

(Date: 19 January 2015)

On January 8, 2015, the Organizing Committee of the WSF 2015 contacted Babels ( requesting the help of our network in supplying interpretation logistics for the World Social Forum in Tunis, (24-28 march 2015).

After debating the issue with its members, Babels regrets having to inform the Organizing Committee of the WSF that we collectively decline to organise interpretation for the WSF 2015.

The majority of our responding members have expressed the opinion that it would not be realistic for Babels to engage in the present project. This position is based on a number of reasons, among them:

  • The timescale is far too short to ensure a proper organisation that guarantees a minimum of professional quality. This assessment is based on our experience organizing interpretation for World Social Forums for the past 12 years. We have always stressed - and had already done so in 2013 - that a period of three months is the bare minimum to find volunteer coordinators who are able to make time in their work-life to prepare logistics for such an event and to find available volunteer interpreters (who have their work schedules booked a long time in advance).
  • Prior preparation of the 2015 WSF has been carried out without a number of Tunisian Babelistas whose involvement at an early stage would have allowed to build on the experience acquired by the organization of interpretation for the Tunis 2013 WSF by Babels. Unfortunately, Babels was not contacted upfront and did not know about preparations for and running of the first training session organized locally. This session included no trainer acting in agreement with Babels.
  • As a result, there has been a lack of prior participatory consultation with our collective on the political or logistical issues that we consider should be jointly and collectively defined, including diversity of languages to be covered by interpretation, and dates and content of training sessions.
  • There are a number of other reasons that motivate our decision, these reasons having been presented and debated numerous times with members of the OC during the previous World Social Forums in Dakar and Tunis (and before that).

This year we will be happy to support the organizational process of the WSF 2015 in Tunisia through other means. And of course, we remain committed to our mission, which is to strengthen language diversity in the processes and events of the social movements, including future instances of the World Social Forum.

In solidarity : The Babels collective (

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