Wednesday, 5 October 2016


Come ogni anno, allego le brevi note in inglese che pubblico giorno dopo giorno sulla pagina PEN International on Facebook al fine di fornire un minimo di informazione a Centri e Soci che non abbiano potuto - per motivi personali o economici - essere presenti.

Ho il piacere di constatare che da quando ho inaugurato questa modalità informativa qualche anno fa diversi colleghi relazionano sul Congresso via Facebook.

Quest'anno - contrariamente alle previsioni, visto che il Congresso ha dovuto essere organizzato in gran fretta a causa del ritiro della candidatura del PEN Puerto Rico come ospitante - la partecipazione è stata di 75 Centri, un certo numero dei quali hanno avuto un sostegno da parte di altri Centri.

Buona lettura ! 

 Monday 26

Arrived on the 24th in Ourense, a fascinating city in Galicia.
Yesterday Sunday 25 we had the usual Board meeting before the Congress, meeting many old friends.

Today we had the meetings of the standing Committees and we met most of the Delegates.
I attended the Writers for Peace General meeting chaired by Edvard Kovac, where Sarah Perry told us about the PEN International Global Campaign.
The most important issue addressed was that of Refugees. There was also the recommendation to elect Marjan Strojan of Slovene PEN (who could not be present to the General Meeting) as Chair of the Committee instead of Tone Persak, who resigned having been nominated Minister of Culture of Slovenia. Marjan was actually elected in the afternoon. Jennifer Clement was also present to the WfPC in the morning.
Then I attended the Writers in Prison Committee meeting, chaired by Salil Tripathi, while Zeinep Oral, President of Turkey PEN, spoke about the critical situation in this country.
In the afternoon, I attended briefly the Translation & Literary Rights Committee meeting, chaired by Simona Skrabec, whose subject In that moment was the Literary Linguistic Rights Declaration, and the Women Writers Committee, chaired by Elisabeth Lundgren, where I was invited to say a few words.
This evening we will take part in some official ceremonies in the Teatro Principal and to a reception given by the Mayor.

Tuesday 27

Today the Congress started with the usual procedures, but before that the Empty Chair #1 was dedicated to Ahmed Naji (Egypt) after a short intervention of Laura Garcia Lorca.
The Centres were asked to propose ideas, suggestions and observations and there were about 20 intervention
The discussion about the proposed Amending Resolution to PEN International Charter, introduced by Margie Orford, Mohamed Sheriff and Xavier Castro Martinez, was very wide and interesting with many interventions.
After lunch, the Board accepted to review the text of the resolution taking into consideration the suggestions of the Centres and to propose the revised text not less than 6 months before the subsequent session of the Assembly of delegates.
The Reports of the President, of the Secretary and of the Treasurer, as well as that on behalf of the Board and that of the Executive Director were presented to the Assembly.
An encounter with a representative of SIDA – an important funder of PEN International – did follow.
Immediately after we were presented the results of Gender Study about our structure.
The session ended with a Panel about Literature as a tool for empowerment.
In the evening a Galician Poetry reading.

Wednesday 28

The day started with the Empty Chair #2 Guy Minhal (China) introduced by his son.
A short presentation of the activities of PEN in Hong Kong followed.
After that we heard the Reports of the Chairs of the Committees WWC, WfPC, T&LRC and WiPC with some interventions from the floor.
A Resolution presented by Norway and Swedish PEN was discussed, about whistlebrowers (in particular Snowden) after many observations.
The election of Marjan Strojan to the Chair of the Peace Committee was ratified by the General Assembly.
A panel about Violence online was held by Salil Tripath (English/WiPC), Dina Meza (Honduras), Margie Orford (South Africa) and Grace Mutandwa (Zimbabwe).
The elections of 2 Vice Presidents and of the International Secretary were held before lunch.
Takeaki Hori (PEN Japan) and Franca Tiberto (Swiss Italian and Retoromansh PEN) were elected International Vice Presidents for Services to PEN with more than the due 2/3 majority.
Kätlin Kaldmaa (PEN Estonia) was elected International Secretary with 39 votes, I got 29 votes. There were 7 abstentions, something unusual in this kind of votes. Anyway, I’m still on the Board for other 2 years.
In the meanwhile the Global PEN Campaign was presented to the Assembly,
During the afternoon there were some workshops about the Women in PEN review,
I attended a workshop on Haiku in honour of Takeaki Hori.

Thursday 29

The Empty Chair of today was Asli Erdogan (Turkey) introduced by Zeynep Oral.
The proposed PEN Togo was unanimously accepted.
A number or Centres was proposed for dormancy not having given signals of activity for many years: African Writers Abroad, Afar Speaking, Iraq, Roma, Somali Speaking, Tunisia and Writers in Exile London Branch. There was a discussion about these dormancies that in the end were approved.
During this session we heard a delegation of the Spanish PEN, proposed for dormancy in Québec, that should have been declared closed this year. The President of the Spanish PEN read a long letter in Spanish. After discussion, the decision was postponed to the next Congress.
After a Panel about Protection, there were the elections of the Members-at-Large of the Board. Anders Heger and Mohamed Sheriff were re-elected and Ma Thida of Myanmar PEN was elected.
In the afternoon all resolutions were approved, most of them unanimously.
Sorry for a short report, but I did catch a cold and was not in a 100% condition…

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