The ShareFair 09 has just come to a close. Months of preparations, negotiations, discussions, worrying whether this was a good decision, will people come, will they understand?….

When Mrs. Williams, Assistant Director General for the Knowledge Department in FAO declared the ShareFair closed, I had shivers down my back, and more so when the crowd in the Green Room spontaneously clapped seeing the names of all the people who contributed to the Fair and its success displayed on the screen in the closing ceremony. It was done..a job well done by all of us. We should all feel very proud!

Only 3 days earlier I was sitting in the main podium of the Plenary Hall trying to explain in two minutes that knowledge sharing was just a way of doing things smarter.

Three days of ShareFair…what are my 3 take home messages:

– You cannot manage knowledge, let is flow, let it grow. Allow others to stand “on the shoulders of the giants”.

– Given the chance, people are eager to share and learn. Reward those who ‘dare to share’.

– People speak differently when they speak to their superiors. Create a safe space where they can talk, express their ideas, their creative juice. Let them grow, your organization will only benefit from it.

Usually at the end of such an intense period, you feel a certain anticlimax. This time it has not happened to me, I still feel the buzz of people walking along the corridors, meeting and talking to people they had not talked to before, even if they worked in the same organizations for years, finding out they had similar issues and together they could find solutions. People asking “when can we do this again”? What else can we, as organizers, ask for?

A heartfelt “thank you” goes to all who worked so hard to make this possible, from the steering committee, to the management who “dared” to support such an event and be ready to ‘face the consequences’, to my fellow CGIAR colleagues who traveled from afar to participate, to the volunteers, the translators, all the unsung heroes….

It is never fair to try and single out a person….but if I were pushed to do so, no hesitation. Gauri Salokhe, an information management officer in FAO, who worked so hard, so relentlessly, so creatively and always with a smile. She has been dubbed by a fellow Steering committee member as the “Saint of the Fair” a title well deserved!

Keep up the energy, we started a movement and we must keep it up!

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