International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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IVU Annual Report 2006


George Guimares, with IVU Chair, Tina Fox

"...vegetarian movement in the region took an extraordinary leap during the last one and a half year."


Congress Organizer and president of the Brazilian Vegetarian Society (SVB), Marly Winckler (center) with congress attendees.

 

36th IVU World Vegetarian Congress - the impact on Brazil since 2004
George Guimares vegan dietitian, Brazil

The world's most important vegetarian event came to Brazil and started the most significant growth ever for the vegetarian movement in the country.

As many of you know, the 36th WVC was transferred to Brazil on a short notice and the newly established Brazilian Vegetarian Society (SVB) had a big task ahead. Though inexperienced in organizing events and still too fresh to have a big network around the country, the Society took the task because what was to come was a unique opportunity to bring the movement together in the region and, just as importantly, make the contribution from so many renowned speakers accessible to us.

What we all shared in Florianopolis in November 2004 was a huge celebration, so rich in information and networking opportunities, that it had a deep impact on the old-time vegetarians and movement leaders just as it inspired the newly arrived. The result could not have been more positive.

I can say for myself that during the event I barely saw it happen, it was like it has just started when it was all over, but that was because I was not only very busy, but also overwhelmed. In the weeks and months that followed, the results became ever more evident and it all started to make sense. The energy we all invested started to show its value.

With so many folks inspired, many groups started to form. Marl.y Winckler, president of SVB, made sure many of these groups were organized under the structure if the main organization. This was very important to keep them networked and motivated. There are more than a dozen of them now distributed across the country promoting lectures, cooking classes and social events on top of organizing demonstrations and other forms of local activism. Meanwhile, the main organization works on the bigger picture with legislation, literature production and national events, like the Brazilian and Latin-American Vegetarian Congress to be held in Sao Paulo this August.

We were also able to get to know one another, which is a rare opportunity in a country as geographically big as Brazil. This has made all the difference when different people living far too apart are required to work together on a single issue. With the exception of the Sao Paulo group, which I now have the honour to coordinate, most groups and individuals worked very isolated, finding more access to organizations abroad than to the small local groups inside the country. Sao Paulo was different only because there are more vegetarians in this 20 million people city, with many old-time vegetarians and animal rights activists amongst us. Nevertheless, we also experienced a huge improvement with all the information and structure acquired after the World Vegetarian Congress. Many of those who now integrate the local group had already worked together on different groups, only now there is a more formal and structured organization to work under.

Many other groups which have chosen not to become a part of SVB were also formed or were improved by what was learned at the IVU World Vegetarian Congress. The same is true for individuals who promote vegetarianism on their own for health professionals who work in close contact with the issue of vegetarian diets. Anyway we look at it, the vegetarian movement in the region took an extraordinary leap during the last one and a half year.

There is a great sense of gratitude for the opportunity given with the contribution of so many speakers and colleagues who visited us from all parts of the world and we assume the efforts we made prior and after the event were also an important part for the harvest we now share as vegetarianism rises. With that, the generation touched by this opportunity is determined to be soaring even higher over the next decades, as we hope to leave a legacy of our own for the generations to come, thus ensuring the growth and continuity of our struggle.