Reporting on the 5th World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil

With this special issue of Headlines we initiate a mini series of dispatches from Porto Alegre, reporting on the 5th World Social Forum (WSF). This first issue, being circulated just before the official opening, is meant to provide some concise background information. Together with the forthcoming reports, our wish is to bring to you news, experiences and short analyses of what happens viewed through the eyes of collaborators, friends and Jesuits who are taking part in this event. The irruption on the international scene of a pluralistic and multiform movement opposed to neo-liberal globalization and in favour of a society centred on the human person, is one of the most striking phenomena to have characterised the close of the 20th century. The march towards Porto Alegre has already started. Today, 26 January, as the organisers give the final touches to the opening ceremony of WSF 2005, tens of thousands of people are about to celebrate, so to speak, its 5th anniversary on the streets of Porto Alegre, the Brazilian town that will play host from 26 to 31 January to this incredible event.