Chris, Hanako and I, representing Global Voices Online, visit Sapporo, Japan, for iSummit08. I am probably the one who has the least knowledge/understanding toward free/open content idea in the whole conference.
You will never know what keynote speech will turn out to be. They are all big names in this field. Some are received and talked about like a star, but in their speech, they only touch upon very general issues or challenges. Those are disappointing ones. Others are amazingly (or unexpectedly) wonderful. On Day 1, one of the best keynotes is from Mohamed Nanabhay from Al Jazeera (also a GV Arabic person). He mentions very concretely about what Al Jazeera are doing, why it is doing them, what channels they are using (YouTube, for example), etc. His speech clearly explains their goals and approaches.
In the Local Context Global Commons lab, I heard several interesting/exciting/amazing projects. Instead of writing posts about iSummit08 for GV, I will probably do several (email) interviews with some presenters I met here. I think it will be more interesting.
Five Minutes to Midnight is absolutely a good one. They hold workshops, for instance, for young people in Kibera, one of the largest slums in the world, learning to use digital cameras to record their life. The results are wonderful and showcased in their book Kibera. In the presentation, Wojciech Gryc, their representative in the summit, explains what challenges they have in the process, including lack of internet access, high costs of technology, and need for ICT training. It sounds quite relevant to GV Rising Voices project, in fact.
There are more good ones. I will write about them later.