Recap of TEDxBeijing 2016 Year End Event

This is a recap of the TEDxBeijing year-end event that took place yesterday. It was my first attendance at a TEDx event in China and it was superbly organised. The venue was at Mee Park Cafe inside Universal Creative Park, Beijing.

TEDxBeijing 2016 Year-end event

The 300 RMB tickets were almost sold out by the time I purchased my ticket on the evening before the event. Luckily I took the proactive step of contacting the organisers and asking them to reserve a ticket for a fellow TEDx organiser from South Africa.

The venue was packed – always a good sign.

TEDx SPEAKERS HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Rubén Salgado Escudero: It’s always difficult being the opening speaker. Even though there was sound problems, Ruben recovered quickly. His freelance photography from Myanmar was inspired by the impact solar lighting is making in this developing country, the poorest among its South East Asian peers.
  2. Ching Tien: A speaker who packs powerful emotional impact. She runs a charity: Educating Girls of Rural China. During the Cultural Revolution she was sent to Gansu province, in a rural, western part of China. Despite great difficulties, she eventually moved to Canada. It was a little ironic when she quoted Chairman Mao, “Women can hold up half of heaven.”
  3. Greg Smith: He delivered an interesting talk on the pros and cons of building highways. He is the Asia-Pacific lead for the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), a UK-based charity dedicated to creating a world free of high-risk roads.
  4. Hu Weiwei (MoBike): A crowd pleaser for sure. This female entrepreneur shared her passion for encouraging more young people to use bicycles in Beijing and other big cities around China. Ironically, it reminded me of the Katie Melua lyrics, “there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing…”
  5. Saki Chen: This was supposed to be much more exciting as a TEDx Talk. She showed video clips of her in action as the first female-Chinese solo pilot to fly a light aircraft around-the-world. There’s an expression – dynamite comes in small packages – that best describes this young lady.
  6. Qichao Hu: An applied physicist graduate from Harvard. This was a fascinating delivery of a hardcore geek business, i.e. improving battery performance while reducing the size. The potential for providing high altitude wireless Internet through drone technology is astounding. What most impressed me was the developers’ ability to reduce the battery size while doubling the capacity compared with batteries used in the iPhone 6.
  7. Hu Yihan: Another impressive topic, using big data for medical challenges in China and worldwide. There was no mention of privacy concerns during this talk. However, the benefits of the medical advances made in this field may outweigh everything else in the short term.
  8. Yuan Chen: This lady spoke confidently about her work. I did not access the interpretation provided, so I did not get the gist of the topic, except that she has an impressive track record with a Ph.D. and experience in Nigeria and India.
  9. Mario Zaccagnini: What a delightful treat. This food entrepreneur delivered a presentation that I’m sure Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah would have enjoyed. Since moving to Beijing, he has started several successful restaurant ventures: Eatalia Group (La Dolce Vita, Carpe Diem, Unique), Galleria and Feel Bar.
  10. Chen Xu: the Director of the Greater China Observatory Group, responsible for business development and public relations in the Greater China Region.
  11. Hao Zhou: is the founder and CEO of QuantGroup, a web-based credit scoring and data mining system that assesses risk for large institutions, including the Federal Reserve, totalling hundreds of billions of dollars.

TEDxBeijing 2016 welcome

TEDxBeijing 2016 year-end event at Mee Park

 

 

 

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Short Film Laisuotuo 莱索托

A new short film Laisuotuo was released by filmmaker Carl Houston Macmillan.

He says, “This is a film about two immigrants, a Chinese shop owner in Lesotho and an African doctor in China. This 20 min film is about how stereotyping and racial profiling reduces our empathy. Cultural understanding is ever so important in our global village.

short film Laisuotuo China-Africa story

As a regular listener to the China-Africa Project’s podcast, I always follow up on the guests interviewed on the show. Eric Olander (American) and Cobus van Staden (South African) host the best podcast about China-Africa issues. Even though they usually discuss politics and economic issues, in this show they highlighted a beautiful short film Laisuotuo 莱索托.

There are two stories joined together with empathy. The first story takes place in Beijing, China. An African doctor, fluent in Mandarin Chinese, goes to visit a new patient. She’s blind, and her husband asks the doctor not to tell her that he is black. After the doctor leaves, the blind wife admonishes her husband for treating people of colour differently.

A vivid dream sequence, in the short film Laisuotuo, on the Great Wall of China, serves as the transition between the two stories.

The second story takes place back in the mountains of Lesotho. A young student is expelled from school because his father cannot pay the school fees. The principal sends him home, and his father apologises half-heartedly. The father sends him to buy flour and warns him not to buy from the Chinese shop.

Without spoilers, I want to encourage you to watch this short film below. It’s a good lesson for South Africans given the high levels of xenophobia exhibited in their country over the last 10 years. More Chinese migrants will come to Africa and more Africans will study and work in China. This film shines a light on some of the immediate challenges facing us in a multicultural world.

Watch the whole short film Laisuotuo below and please leave a comment…

 

Grow Your Confidence with Toastmasters in Ningbo

This is an my first column published in Ningbo Focus magazine.

Madam Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen…”, is how many speeches start at a Toastmasters club meeting. Two years ago when I arrived in Ningbo there was only one club with 5 guests. In 2015 there are five Toastmasters clubs, who meet regularly, from Book City to Ningbo University to University of Nottingham Ningbo China.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Members deliver speeches to enhance their Communication. They take roles in the club e.g. president, treasurer, or meeting roles like Timer or Ah-Counter, to enhance their Leadership skills. Worldwide there are over 14,000 clubs and in China the rate of growth has been tremendous since launching in 1999.

Chuck Tidiane Ndiaye Toastmaster in NingboNingbo is a prime example of this growth with over 100 people who regularly attend meetings. Some clubs focus on Chinese Mandarin, some are English only, and many are bilingual. So why do people join Toastmasters in Ningbo besides the obvious learning environment?

What we learn in Toastmasters is really useful in our life. With all the presentation and communication skills I’ve learned in Toastmasters, I managed to enter one of the largest private companies in Ningbo and then start my own business. Toastmasters has helped me find my passion.” says Weiwei Yang, former president of Ningbo #1 Toastmasters club.

Many of my Chinese friends are not from Ningbo or Zhejiang. Some like Nina are from Hunan, and others like Lillian are from Gansu province in the north West of China. Toastmasters allows them to make high quality friends, sometimes with foreigners like me. The members of the clubs are all interested in personal development, they are confident and lead by example.

In fact the most popular phrase we use is “learn by doing” and every activity in a Toastmasters meeting reminds you of this. It’s a safe place where you can make mistakes and correct them easily. There are no teachers and everyone may provide some form of feedback either verbal, on the stage, or in a written form. The agenda for the meetings are followed closely because “time” is one of the most important values in our meetings. By being on time, it shows respect to your audience.

Ningbo University Toastmasters club China District 85It turns out Toastmasters helped me to reduce my culture shock after moving to China. The people I’ve met have become my best friends. The activities are always fun and my confidence around Chinese people has improved tremendously. The value of this group increases over time.

To join one of the next meetings, simple email add me on Wechat: rjthomas

 

Why I Study in China not America

In September 2013 I arrived in Beijing, China on route to Ningbo University. It’s been two years since I moved to China, and this is the best decision I’ve ever made. So why did I choose this radical move from South Africa to China. Well it’s not because of BRICS, the group of developing countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa all form part of. Why did I move to the country with the biggest population, and maybe the worst pollution on the planet?

OPPORTUNITY!

RT Thomas with Chinese model in Ningbo Fashion Fair 2013China is not America, and the Chinese dream is not the American dream. Everyone who’s ever watched a Hollywood movie probably dreams of living in America. Not me! My journey to China started more than 10 years ago when I first read a book, Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching. This book is a beautiful synthesis of businessman James Autry’s servant leadership interspersed with quotes from the Tao Te Ching ??? translated by Stephen Mitchell. There was something beautiful and yet profound about the wisdom from ancient China and it’s only now I’m able to better appreciate it.

The rise of China is undeniable over the last 30 years, when nobody was looking. According to the Worldbank, the number of Chinese living in dire poverty fell by 662 million between 1980 and 2008. To add another black eye to America, in 2014 China over took the US as the world’s largest economy according the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Of course I may continue to quote number after number of China’s rapid growth until pigs learn to fly but that alone will not make my argument more convincing.

On a more personal note I wanted to start over. After more than five years of being self employed, I didn’t achieve some of my goals for income, romantic relationships and so on. In 2012 I ended a very difficult relationship with a woman whom I had been living with in Johannesburg. I sold my house and decided to take a year off to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with the rest of my life. This is called getting perspective and not beating yourself up for mistakes.

A few years earlier I was seriously looking at teaching English in Thailand. However, after reading about some of the race issues non-white i.e. non-European male teachers faced, I caned this idea. Now after a trip to Phuket in Jan 2014, I know Thailand is much more fun for holidays than working.

Anyway, after applying for the Chinese Government scholarship in early 2013, I finally received my admission letter from Ningbo University around July. This means I had only two months to wrap up my business and prepare for a move to the Middle Kingdom.

Even though there was so many reasons to stay in South Africa, like family, friends, good food, weather, the whole situation was all too familiar and I wanted to go as far away as possible. Previously I had lived and worked in London, England and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. So I’ve always considered myself a risk taker because I had no children to hold me back.

So on Sunday, 1 September 2013 I boarded my flight to China via Dubai on Emirates Airlines. I arrived in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Monday, after 10pm and basically two days of flying.

Here’s the top 5 reasons I choose China over America:

  1. China is the land of opportunities (certainly for the next 100 years).
  2. Chinese people are don’t care about religion and politics.
  3. Chinese Taoist philosophy (Yin / Yang) places harmony and balance above all else.
  4. China has the best high speed rail network in the world, and public transport is cheap & reliable.
  5. Chinese girls are soft and feminine.

As China continues to rise, there’s opportunities abound. Chinese people are hungry to learn more about the outside world and I’ve become the defacto South African business expert in Ningbo. Even though China has a Communist party, religion is not banned as it may have been in Communist Russia. I’ve been to church several times and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. In fact some Chinese are curious about religion, and ask good questions about Christianity and so on. For the majority of people, they only go to temples on very important days of celebration like Spring Festival.

Real Power: Business Lessons from Tao Te Ching by James AutryAs a Tai Chi Chuan practitioner since 2002 I’ve come to appreciate the Taoism / Daoism and the Tao Te Ching even more since moving to China. It may not be quoted widely but people certainly act accordingly. I’ve now been to Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and some smaller cities using the high speed train. Since I’m not able to book and buy my tickets it’s even easier to travel around China. Finally what can I say about Chinese girls that haven’t been said before. They are like a dream compared to the Westernised, materialistic feminists women.

If you want to join me in China, here’s some basic information and Scholarship Conditions before applying on the China Scholarship Council website. The Chinese Government provides the following:

  • Registration and tuition,
  • Shared accommodation in the international dormitory on campus,
  • Living allowance:
    • Undergraduates and Chinese language students: CNY 1,400
    • Master’s degree students: CNY 1,700
    • Doctoral degree students: CNY 2,000
  • Once-off settlement subsidy provided to new students after registration
    CNY 1,000 for new students who will study in China for less than one academic year.
    CNY 1,500 for new students who will study in China for one academic year or more.
    – Medical insurance
    – Once-off economy train ticket from airport to institution (for first time arrival in China and final
    departure)
 

5 Reasons for Gratitude before Christmas 2014

Watching a video by business coach Shannon Waller, I want to express my sincerest gratitude before Christmas 20RJ Thomas after speaking at IWE Conference in Hangzhou14. Gratitude is an inoculation against guilt or anxiety in your life. When you are grateful and you appreciate the people and things you have, you don’t feel bad about what you don’t have in you life. These are words to live by if you’re feeling lonely this Christmas season. Here’s my top 5 reasons I am grateful in 2014:

  1. Making New Friends – When I moved to China in September 2013 it was very difficult for me to adjust to the new culture, new environment and the Chinese language. Terry Jiang has become my best friend in Ningbo. I always appreciate how he helps me with simple and complex translation with other Chinese people, especially at the first business dinner I had with the owners of a Clothing Factory. It turned out these Chinese business people were speaking the local dialect in Ningbo, and since Terry was born in the same city, he could easily understand and interpret my conversion. Thank you for being such a great friend.
  2. Finding A Support Group – When you’re a stranger in a strange land, you can either go it alone or you can find a support group. Before I moved from South Africa to Ningbo, China I looked for a Toastmasters club and found only one. Just over one year later we now have 3 clubs and about 100 members. A special thank you to Ningbo #1 Toastmasters club and the immediate past president Vanessa Yang and new president Larry Kowk for your support.
  3. Support From My Mother – My mother has been a pillar of support my whole life. Having raised me by herself without my father, she did an amazing job. She was the one who kept in contact via Skype with me, sometimes on a daily basis, to give me encouragement. Mom I appreciate all those early morning or late night phone calls because of the time zone differences. A special thanks to my sister’s son Caleb and daughter Payton who often talked to me on Skype even though they couldn’t always see my video.
  4. Good Health – My father has had 4 heart attacks over 5 years; my mother has high blood pressure but no serious illnesses. So I am confident I have some good genes to keep me healthy, because I don’t exercise enough, hate jogging and never have enough time to go to the gym. Bad habits, like smoking, have returned while living in China, so I have to avoid other smokers to help me stop. Good health always includes eating healthily, drinking water and some exercise. However, I do have a good role model in the form of Uncle Andrew, who died at age 88 in 2015. He walked an average of +10km from the time I become conscious of his routines. So instead of reinventing the wheel and whenever possible, I plan to emulate his habits and daily routines which encouraged good health. Thank you Uncle Andrew!
  5. Relationships with Women – Whenever I was dumped, I used to believe I didn’t deserve it, I was such a great guy, and so on. Well now, I can easily say to all ex-girlfriends, thank you for breaking up with me, thank you for dumping or rejecting me. All the bad relationships with women in the past, makes my new relationships better because I learned how to avoid the same mistakes. As I always encourage other people who are trying to move on from past relationships, “You cannot open the door to new relationships, unless you close the door behind you.” Why? Because the draughty wind from the past will spoil the new opportunity in front of you. And as Tom Leykis taught me, the best revenge is to become successful.
 

Why MBA Students need Toastmasters

RJ Thomas with Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, World Champion in Public Speaking 2014 ToastmastersMBA Students are notoriously busy people. Either they are taking many classes or running a business on the side. In China we also have to learn Chinese language (Mandarin), the Putonghua or common language of the people in the world’s second largest economy. To truly have an advantage after graduating from MBA school, you need to have superior communications skills.

Toastmasters International is the leading organisation worldwide offering structured training through regular meetings in communication and leadership. Many complete only the basic level of Competent Communicator (CC), which is 10 prepared speeches with feedback, to ensure they have a foundation in public speaking and delivering presentations in a confident manner.

MBA students enter the business world with high expectations from their colleagues and hiring managers. You are almost certainly on a fast track to management and eventually CEO with some hard work. However, most business schools do not directly offer training in sales, persuasion or public speaking. Enter the Toastmasters Communications track:

After receiving CC recognition, you can work in the Advanced Communication Series. There are 15 manuals, each containing five speech projects. Many of the manuals are career-oriented. You choose the manuals you want to complete and the skills you want to learn. Working in the advanced manuals, you’ll refine and enhance your speaking skills and become eligible for several awards:

As an MBA student at Ningbo University (NBU) in Zhejiang province, China, I’ve been thrilled by the impact the new Toastmasters club has had in bringing together both foreign and Chinese students on a regular basis for a shared learning experience.

The Business College at NBU has sponsored for chartering of the Toastmasters club. Membership is limited to students, teachers and graduates. Of course guests from other clubs and the community are always welcome. We decided on this to ensure a feeling of fraternity among members. Students get to meet graduates, many of whom have started their own businesses. They have opportunities to practise and prepare for class presentations, oral examination through Table Topics and much more.
MBA students may apply some of theoretical ideas in a practical ways by sharing business ideas or case studies from class. Certainly entrepreneurs do pitches to investors when they start new businesses; on the other hand you may enter sales areas where you need to persuade the audience to your point of view. And when you’re the CEO you need to inspire and lead your team. All in-all is available for an investment of only $36 per 6 months.
What are you waiting for to join?

 

Africa is Rising in Ningbo, China

Ningbo has eight twin sister cities around the world. It’s a uncanny that Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage), South Africa, my home town was selected in recent years for this honour. So this first column serves as an introduction to the South Africa, the windy city, and to yours truly.

Mr Hong Jia Xiang, Vice Mayor of the Ningbo Municipal People’s Government, visited Nelson Mandela Bay in April 2013. He said the purpose of the visit by the high powered delegation led by him, was to enhance the relationship and the cooperation with Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

South Africa is known as the “rainbow nation” because of it’s diversity, and ?? in Chinese language. On 5 December, my world came to a stand still when I turned on CCTV, to discover our former president Nelson Mandela had passed away. The outpouring of grief and condolences was overwhelming from the Chinese people and the world.

Like the eponymous, Nelson Mandela, I’m from Eastern Cape province, often considered the poorest in South Africa. And yet it is one of the most naturally diverse and beautiful places in Africa, untouched by urbanisation. The coastal city of Port Elizabeth and nearby town, Uitenhage, was merged into the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in 2001. The new metropolitan are was named after our former president in his honour.

Ningbo Rivers Panorama ChinaThere are no known companies from South Africa operating in Ningbo but some products may be available if one looks hard enough like Rooibos tea ??? at some supermarkets. In recent years, Ningbo companies have looked to South Africa for opportunities.

“I came here before and brought along very powerful companies from Ningbo. The exchange and cooperation between our two cities is progressing well and as a result I am satisfied with the progress,” Vice Mayor Hong added after his most recent visit.

Engineering News reports that over 600 million RMB worth of products have been exported to Ningbo from Eastern Cape, South Africa. The products include African-style honey-based wine, iQhilika; mohair products; pickled cherry peppers for Seea Seafood Restaurant, which is owned by a large franchising group with market capacity in over ten major provinces in China.

So because of Ningbo, Africa is rising. And because of Africa, Ningbo is rising. A mutually beneficial relationship is a trade mark of both Chinese and African business culture.

For more on African opportunities please visit our website Africa Is Rising in association with Bruce Mubayiwa.

 

Five Ways To Feel Up When You're Down

Littlefinger schools Lord VarysChaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.” Littlefinger, Game of Thrones

Recently I’ve been obsessed with this quote from the fantasy drama series, Game of Thrones. I’m not about to discuss analogies to the show or life lessons from the Lannisters. What I want to share with you is something very personal.

As I moved to China in 2013 to do an MBA degree. This meant an investment of at least two years in China to complete courses, learn the language and do an internship. There’s been times when I’ve been very lonely, there’s been times when I was frustrated. There were also times when I felt it wasn’t worth the effort and I’ll give up.

Some people I met after arriving didn’t last and went back home. Now I’m older than most of the students at Ningbo University, and I suppose that gives me some life experience. What life experience also does is, it gives me more memories, more people to miss. You feel down, and you think about all the things you don’t have, and the spiral continues downwards.

Here’s Five Way To Feel Up, Even When You’re Down

  1. Avoid Being Alone – This often difficult because when you feel low, you don’t feel like talking. The trap is that your mind will play games with you. So if you can find someone very talkative, hang out with them or call them. They will chit-chat and hopefully their energy will help lift you out of whatever is getting you stuck or down.
  2. Practise Gratitude – Sometimes we don’t realise what we’ve got until we don’t have it any more. Many people teach practising gratitude like Dan Sullivan. You can read a great book on this like Choosing Gratitude.
  3. Take A Walk – Sitting at your laptop or looking at your Smartphone doesn’t help. I found a great path outside the place where I stay that goes past a river and takes about 1 hour to walk. Once I jogged the route with German Professor of mine and it took 30 minutes. The point is to get out of your room, out of your apartment and walk.
  4. Listen To Great Music – Music can make you feel happy or sad. I have a playlist of upbeat music for those times when I feel low. So I put my headphones on and turn up the volume. Music can change your internal state faster than almost anything else.
  5. Keep On Climbing – I used to quote Napoleon Hill, “Keep on, keeping on…” to people who are despondent. Sometimes I wishes they would tell me something similar. At least I remember this for myself and now with the quote from Littlefinger I think about it daily.
 

China Toastmasters and My First Speech Competition

Toastmasters International logoIn September I moved to China to do my MBA degree at Ningbo University. Before I left South Africa I wanted to make sure there is an active China Toastmasters community. I was not disappointed after participating in my first Speech competition last Sunday.

 

Toastmasters International is a worldwide organisations that teaches communication and leadership in weekly group meetings. The environment allows people to become comfortable with public speaking as well as leading group activities. You can find a Toastmasters club in most big cities in the world by searching online.

Anyway after being a member of two clubs in South Africa, CIS Toastmasters in Houghton, Johannesburg and uSpeak Toastmasters in Port Elizabeth, I found only one club in Ningbo: Ningbo Nr. 1 Toastmasters, which holds it’s meetings at Nottingham University in Ningbo.

 

After attending only one club meeting I was invited to the Area Speech Competition in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. I was in for a big surprise on the morning of the competition when I discovered it was the humours speech competition. My speech title was “Passport to Mars” and I prepared a persuasive speech, to inspire and convince the audience, we should go to Mars in the 21st century.

After some quick thinking and thanks to Evernote, I adapted my speech into a tirade on Hollywood Alien-invasion movies, and how they mostly designed to scare people. Whenever you watch a movie about aliens, or going to another planet, unless it was E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, you would walk away with a sense of trepidation.

My second challenge was how to adapt my South African humour for a Chinese audience. In the end, this was the most difficult. My only cancellation was the warm reception from some individual Chinese people before and especially after my speech. In one day I met two Chinese people who visited South Africa, so I was very optimistic about the next two years on mainland China.

 

Spread the word – Occupy the Internet

Right now at a UN meeting in Dubai, authoritarian regimes are pushing for full governmental control of the Internet in a binding global treaty — if they succeed, the internet could become less open, more costly and much slower. We have only 2 days to stop them.

The Internet has been an amazing example of people power — allowing us to connect, speak out and pressure leaders like never before. That’s largely because it’s been governed to date by users and non-profits and not governments. But now countries like Russia, China and United Arab Emirates are trying to rewrite a major telecom treaty called the ITR to bring the Internet under its control — the web would then be shaped by government interests and not by us, the users. Tim Berners Lee, one of the “fathers of the Internet,” has warned that this could increase censorship online and invade our privacy. But if we object with a massive people-powered petition, we can strengthen the hand of countries fighting this power grab.

We have stopped attacks like this before and can do it again before the treaty text is locked this week. A wave of opposition to a new ITR is already building — sign the petition to tell governments hands off our Internet! and then forward this email to everyone you know — when we hit 1 million signers, it’ll be delivered straight to the delegates at this cozy meeting.

The meeting to update the ITR (International Telecommunication Regulations) is being convened by a UN body called the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Normally, it wouldn’t merit much attention, but Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and others are trying to use the meeting to increase government control of the Internet through proposals that would allow for access to be cut off more easily, threaten privacy, legitimize monitoring and traffic-blocking, and introduce new fees to access content online.

At the moment, our Internet has no central regulatory body, but various non-profit organisations work together to manage different technological, commercial and political interests to allow the Internet to run. The current model is certainly not without its flaws. US dominance and corporate influence highlight the need for reform, but changes should not be dictated from an opaque governments-only treaty body. They should emerge from an open and transparent, people-powered process — putting the interests of us users in the center.

The ITU does extremely important work — expanding affordable access for poor countries and securing networks — but it’s not the right place to make changes to how the Internet operates. Let’s ensure that our Internet stays free and governed by the public and show the ITU and the world that we won’t stay silent in the face of this Internet attack. Click here to sign and then share this email widely.

Avaaz members have come together before to save the free web — and won. More than 3 million of us demanded the US kill a bill that would have given the government the right to shut down any website, helping push the White House to drop its support. In the EU, the European Parliament responded after 2.8 million of us called on them to drop ACTA, another threat to the free net. Together, now we can do it again.

With hope,

Pascal, Ian, Paul, Luca, Caroline and the rest of the Avaaz team

SOURCES

Cerf and Berners Lee Criticize ITU Conference (IT Pro Portal):
http://www.itproportal.com/2012/12/05/sir-tim-berners-lee-joins-criticism-of-un-internet-regulation-talks/#ixzz2EDlH06f5

ITU and Google face off at Dubai conference over future of the internet (Guardian):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/dec/03/telecoms-unitednations

Keep the Internet Open (New York Times):
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/25/opinion/keep-the-internet-open.html?_r=1&

Proposal for global regulation of web (Financial Times):
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1b114d8c-422e-11e2-bb3a-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2EdnmBAXI

Who controls the Internet? (Guardian):
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/17/who-rules-internet



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