Increasingly, foundations and donor education providers are organizing donor tours (or site visits) overseas for groups of philanthropists. These often seem to be the most valued part of donor education courses. What do people get out of these trips? Bob Burnett and Kathy Barry were part of a Tides Foundation delegation to this year’s World Social Forum at Porto Alegre, Brazil. Here Bob Burnett describes the event and what it meant to them.
"In October 2002 my wife, Kathy Barry, attended the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) international forum, ‘Reinventing Globalization’, in Guadalajara, Mexico, with a delegation from the Global Fund for Women. When she returned, she said that we should seriously consider going to the World Social Forum (WSF) to be held in January at Porto Alegre, Brazil. During the Guadalajara conference other delegates had told her that the WSF is the one place where activists from all parts of the global justice movement gather to talk and network: environmentalists, human rights advocates, peace and justice activists. Though neither of us had ever been further south than Mexico, and it would take at least 19 hours to get to Porto Alegre from San Francisco airport – an important factor since Kathy doesn’t like to fly – we decided to go as part of the Tides Foundation delegation. This turned out to be a very good decision on our part.