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Sitting in betahaus café, Anni Roolf, from Germany, and Brazilian Leila País de Miranda are passionately discussing the concepts of privilege and reward in the third world. They are not arguing; it’s simply a healthy exchange of ideas and perspectives, an example of open communication. Another young coworker from the US sitting at the end of the table pipes in, and he and Leila delve deeper into the conversation.
By Anna Cashman - Monday, 07 January 2013

This guest post is written by Anna Cashman from Deskwanted:

Anni and Leila are the two women behind Jellyweek 2013 – the ‘glocal’, week-long, decentralized event aiming to establish connections and form cross communal networks. And they certainly practice what they preach: openness, difference, and collaboration are the principles of the event organization, and the pair is excited to see these values explored and embraced during the week-long event.

‘Glocal’: supporting global action at the local level

From the 14th to the 20th of January for the third year running, Worldwide Jellyweek will take place in countries all over the world. It is completely decentralized and organized by the thousands of individuals, communities and networks who host a local event and share ideas and experiences in their communities.

There are no boundaries or limitations as to what can be organized, but they should be free and open to the public. The organization of hundreds of simultaneous events serves to promote global action on a local level, the philosophy of Worldwide Jellyweek.

What Jellyweek will thus look like or achieve is yet to be seen.

‘We want to empower people to do what they want,’ said Anni, ‘and set people free. We want to provide the [platform] for connections to be made, but their involvement is all very voluntary… and the volunteers give shape to whole project. We have no certain result in mind.’

Forging local and regional networks between different sectors

While we are yet to see what Jellyweek will look like, Anni and Leila are working hard to ensure that each event receives exposure, and meaningful connections between hosts across the globe are forged.

Currently, the two, who became a strong partnership during the Jellyweek Summer Camp, are focusing on community building, introducing participants with similar focuses in different regions over the Jellyweek Facebook group. This ensures that not only the events, but the connections are both local and global. 

‘We also want to introduce totally different networks [with each other]. Hacker groups with artists and residency programs, and international networks which are doing nice things.’

But Jellyweek is also providing a platform for different groups to promote themselves and increase their own visibility, within and outside of their own environments.

‘If you think about communities and groups in Morocco for example,’ said Anni, ‘there is a huge need to connect, and it’s hard to be visible outside their own environments. We provide very simple things like downloadable flyers and a template press release (coming soon) to distribute and connect with others. We invite people to print them themselves, to contact their own media contacts, to translate the text.’

Certainly, Jellyweek is an excellent opportunity to put a community group or project on the map, thrust it into international recognition, and meet meaningful contacts and collaborators. Which explains why so many hosts have already registered events.

>> Next page: Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect to find during Jellyweek 2013

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