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About Solana Larsen

Solana Larsen is managing editor of Global Voices Online.She sits on the board of openDemocracyUSA after being its editor for 5 years.

Articles by Solana Larsen

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Voices without Votes on the Convention

Getting anywhere near The Big Tent is a hectic experience. There are several degrees of credentials, bracelets for backstage, dozens of smiling volunteers, free massages by Google, and free burritos and beer. This isn't where the politicians are speaking (although many visit). This is where the bloggers are convened with their power plugs, wifi, and laptops galore, writing I'm-not-sure-what yet, because I haven't had a chance to read it.

The Big Tent is ordinarily a parking lot, but now has an enormous two-story tent erected on it. The panel I spoke on was upstairs from the bloggers. The panels are back to back. Mine was organized by the Better World Campaign of the UN Foundation, and was primarily about a new poll they have published that says Americans care about foreign policy. The fact that this would be news, is sort of astonishing to me. But there is some scientific method to help establish the fact that this has changed in the past year. I always wonder whether people just respond according to what they happened to see on the news the night before.

I spoke about the work my colleagues Amira, John, Jillian and many others from Global Voices are doing on Voices without Votes, a website sponsored by Reuters where we are tracking non-American responses to the US presidential election and foreign policy. I personally, think Americans tend to focus too much on what foreign policy means for themselves (and how people perceive them), and not enough on what it means for citizens in other countries. The questions I got during the panel reinforced my sense of this.

Let me paraphrase: Do non-American bloggers say that America doesn't accomplish it's foreign policy goals? What do bloggers in the Middle East say about American women?

In other words, what does the rest of the world think about America. Well, I don't know. I think most of the time they too, are thinking more about themselves, and interpreting world events according to what makes sense in their own hemispheres and blogospheres. Please visit Voices without Votes to see the many, many different things bloggers around the world are saying. Unlike pollsters, we don't pretend to speak on behalf of entire populations or the world - but we do hope to give a taste of what foreign opinion and reasoning looks like.

A Punjabi vice president?

On the South Asian group blog, Sepia Mutiny, blogger and Duke University professor, Amardeep Singh, wonders whether Republican presidential candidate John McCain might seriously be considering Indian-American Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal as his running mate.

"I know it's crazy, but maybe it isn't as crazy as it sounds," wrote the blogger when he first suggested the idea in February. The New York Times now seems to think it's a possibility in an article this week, and American radio host Rush Limbaugh has also echoed the idea.

Jindal was born in Lousiana to Punjabi Indian parents. He used to be a Hindu, but converted to Catholicism after high school.

In his post, Singh argues that if Barack Obama wins the nomination of the Democratic Party, John McCain will end up looking "very old and very white".

How power works for women

How is the condition of women improved and thereby the world changed? Two intense weeks at the United Nations leave Solana Larsen with a few answers and more questions.

Between silence and thunder: the climate change story

The story of climate change is stark and complex, dramatic and detailed, and universally important. Why do writers have a hard time telling it? Solana Larsen invites you to listen in on the Ankelohe Conversations.

The WSF in search of itself

The World Social Forum pioneered new forms of global activism and democracy. Now it is being pressed to take the shape of an older politics, reports Solana Larsen in Caracas. 

Blogging Iran's election

On IranScan 1384 and other blogs, a virtual parliament of global Iranians has tracked Iran’s presidential election. Solana Larsen reports.

Blogging Iran's wired election

Iranian bloggers are uniting to post laser-sharp ideas on their country’s momentous presidential election in June. Solana Larsen & Hossein Derakhshan (“Hoder”) introduce openDemocracy’s new Iran project.

Portraits from the World Social Forum

Brazilian landless workers, Indian child labour campaigners, Canadian media activists all carried their hopes to the fifth World Social Forum. openDemocracy’s Porto Alegre team – Caspar Henderson, Solana Larsen, Vince Medeiros – talked to them.

Going to the casket

At 8 years old, Solana Larsen was a guest of Nancy Reagan’s at the White House. Now she returns to Washington to say goodbye to an era and finds personal stories at a political funeral.

Talking democracy: 2003 in our forums

This year we introduced our new discussion forums, now you can find over 11,000 messages from across the globe. This brief overview of the highpoints, by our forum moderator and readers' editor, is both an introduction to those of you who haven’t yet visited, and a thank you to all of you who have contributed.

The WSIS: whose freedom, whose information?

The UN’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva is intended to create ways of bridging the global ‘digital divide’. But will its political tensions and complex agenda make it less of an “internet-Kyoto” and more of an arid talk shop?

Voices from a new world

Solana Larsen talks to the foot soldiers at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre.

Being royalist the Danish way

The bond of affection between monarchy and people in Denmark is grounded in a shared sense of the national character.
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