The Share Fair in Cali a couple of weeks ago brought back memories of the first Share Fair held in Rome last year. An unprecedented event bringing together major food and agriculture organizations: CGIAR, FAO, IFAD and WFP, the Share Fair took knowledge sharing to new heights within many of these organizations. Having just joined the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR, it was an exciting ride for me.
Blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, Skyping…seemingly rebellious technologies were now being used to exchange data, information and know-how.. knowledge was changing hands at breakneck speed and I was in the thick of it.
Beyond the technology buzz, one critical objective was achieved – people connected! And while it may have appeared that tools and methods were driving the Share Fair, at the very heart of it, people were really driving the Share Fair – they were sharing, connecting and building relationships that would help them in their work. I made many new friends that week within the CGIAR and also among the other agricultural development organizations.
After the Share Fair in Rome, when I was tucked away in the island of Penang, as the solo ICT-KM-er based at the WorldFish Center, I felt I was part of something big. Whether benchmarking research outputs, writing how-to blogs on social media tools, or building on some of the CIARD suite of pathways to research uptake, I felt that I was part of a special community. People who were willing to share their know-how, and their time, people who were supportive and inclusive.
This year, I find myself at a different vantage point. I sit at FAO’s Espace Gabon Room and watch the opening ceremony of the Share Fair in Cali via video conference….and wonder what the year will bring for me and the 200 or so participants in Cali – connecting and sharing – as well as the many who followed the event from afar.