Three days ago, a new thread started on the GV-Community mailing list: from Georgia Popplewell, it read:
“Congrats to our Cambodian friend Sopheap Chak, who was honoured in a speech by President Obama at the Clinton Global initiative for her human rights work.
To date, it has 41 answers, and more are likely to come, as is the case every time we celebrate an accomplishment of a community member, or engage in one of those heated online debates with many voices chiming in.
It was my pleasure to meet Sopheap in real life at my first GV Summit in Santiago, 2010, and a greater pleasure still to tell her that she was the one who ushered me of sorts into this beautiful community. In fact, my translation test into Lingua French was her interview with Tharum Bun: I had been given the choice of the post by mentor and friend Claire Ulrich, and the test became my second published translation, under the title: Cambodge : Une nouvelle vague de blogueuses.
Some 6 years and 2,500 posts later – mostly translations, short or long, and a few self-authored posts – on my side, Sopheap had completed her studies in Japan and the U.S., and is now a worldwide recognized leader for her human rights work and civic engagement in Cambodia.
As Rezwan put it:
“Congrats Chak. You met two US presidents on the same day :)”
Speaking of US President? Back in 2008, there was this moment of grace and hope, the campaign and election of Barack Obama, when many in the world held their breath and felt that change was at hand. And with this moment came this beautiful GV project, Voices without Voices, led by Amira Al-Hussaini and which is now sleeping in the depths of the internet's archives.
The impulse to be part of this exciting venture was compelling, and Amira guided my first shaky steps as a fledgling author with her firm and gentle hand.
Thus I came to do a survey of some first reactions to Barack Obama's election in the francophone world.
Please don't infer from these accounts of “firsts” that I am looking in the rear-view mirror. Indeed those past years were full and rich in every sense. We learned and are still learning what makes us strong. The joy to be and work together.