Open Min(e)d International Speakers Tour 2020 – An overview

The extraction of life, gold and oil

We at CATAPA look back with pride at the 11th edition of the Open Min(e)d International Speakers Tour: the extraction of life, gold and oil. Hong Kong based speaker Lap Hang Au zoomed in on the unnessaccary poor labor conditions for workers in ICT factories in China. Yefferson Rojas Arango took us to Colombia and told us of his experience fighting the extraction of gold, a basic resource in all our ICT products, in his own hometown. And lastly, Antonella Calle Avilés put the ecological and social consequences in the spotlight of the extraction of oil in Ecuador.

Over the course of one week these three highly inspirational people toured through Flanders sharing their experiences with young and old, during fun events and interesting guest lectures they reached up to 1100 people with their stories!

Our week started at Breakfast with a Rebel, where Antonella was one of six rebels people could sit down with at the breakfast table. Over coffee and delicious vegetarian food she talked about extractivism and feminism.

Breakfast with a Rebel room 2020

Antonella was present at the very first edition of GEC Talks at the Gentian Ecological Centre, together with two other strong woman telling inspiring stories about gender equality and environmental justice.

Crowd of the first edition of GEC Talks

Antonella, Yefferson and Au taught their guest lectures at KU Leuven, the University of Ghent, Arteveldehogeschool, HoGent, VIVES Brugge, the University of Antwerp and the Electronic Institute ELEC. Addressing classes of sociology, ethics, cultural history, social work, business management and many more. By the end of the week Corona countermeasures restricted our ability to visit the schools, but luckily we found creative online solutions for a couple of the lectures.

Guest speaker Lap Hang Au in one of the university guest lectures

Our guest speaker Au even reached the Flemish Parliament at a conference on the  Green Transition, by giving a presentation on the working conditions in Chinese factories where batteries for electric cars are made. He also was the keynote speaker during a webinar in a series directed to big buyers of ICT organised by the Fair ICT Flanders project.

Lap Hang Au presenting about his research on lit-ion batteries at the

All three speakers attended the network workshop Internationalisation of the Extractivism Struggle, exchanging experiences, tips and tricks on how to create sustainable and international alliances.


Au, Antonella and Yefferson at the

CATAPA is grateful for our amazing guest speakers, who were so motivated to share their stories, for their strength and determination in relation to their fight, for protesting against large companies which give too little voice to local communities and workers. This is why CATAPA organizes the Open Min(e)d tour every year, to say aloud what should have been recognized years ago and which despite today’s means of communication remains too discreet. Thanks to the help of our many Catapistas, it is possible each year to open the eyes of Flemish citizens, continue to learn that there are many alternative ways of consuming. So that together we may change.

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