ICORN is led by the ICORN Board of representatives from the ICORN member cities. The ICORN Administration Center is responsible for the daily running of the organisation.
The ICORN Board
ICORN is led by a board that is elected by the General Assembly and heads ICORN between the biannual assemblies. The ICORN Board is elected by the member cities and consists of representatives from 6 member cities from different nations across the network, representing and advocating the views of ICORN. Representatives from Internatinonal PEN, Sølvberget Cultural Centre and an ICORN guest writer representative may attend ICORN board meetings with the right to speak and suggest agenda items.
ICORN Chair of Board
Norwich City of Refuge
Writers’ Centre Norwich was one of the founder members of ICORN (the International Cities of Refuge Network) and Chris has been an active participant in the network since the start; he was a member of the original advisory Board, he served as boad member of the ICORN Board of Directors for two full terms, and was elected Chair of the ICORN Board at the 2016 ICORN General Assembly in Paris. Norwich was one of the six cities who took part in the five year EU funded Shahrazad project.
Chris Gribble is the Chief Executive of Writers’ Centre Norwich. After completing a PhD in German Poetry and Philosophy at the University of Manchester, Chris worked in publishing, then the cultural sector and was the Director of Manchester Poetry Festival and then Manchester Literature Festival. He is Co-Chair of the National Association for Literature Development, sits of the Advisory Group for Manchester University’s Centre for New Writing and the Editorial Board of Jon McGregor’s new journal The Letters Page.
Leikny Haga Indergaard
ICORN Board Vice Chair
Bergen City of Refuge
Leikny has followed ICORN closely from its very beginning. She was the Director of Stavanger Cultural Center and Library when Stavanger welcomed its first guest writer Araz Elses in 1996. She is currently Library Director of Bergen Public Library. The library manages the ICORN programme in Bergen and has hosted 4 guest writers so far. Leikny is also Chair of the International Library Commission and a member of Norwegian PEN. Leikny was elected Vice Chair of the Board at the General Assembly in May 2014.
ICORN Board Member
Uppsala City of Refuge
Annika is a cultural strategist at the Municipality of Uppsala and works primarily with the preparation of literature and public education issues within the municipality. In 2008, Strömberg drafted the proposal for Uppsala to become an ICORN city of refuge and has since been the coordinator of the city. Annika has been part of the ICORN international board since 2012.
Educated as a cultural worker at the Uppsala University, she was a trained librarian in Borås in 1992. She then worked at the Tidningen Göteborgs Posten’s photo and text-archive, was a librarian at Falkenberg Municipality ant the Sigtuna Foundation Library. During the years 1997-2003, Annika worked as a librarian on the book-bus in Uppsala. She co-founded the literary "Stig Dagermansgatan Society" and have held political positions of trust in the municipality of Uppsala and Uppsala County Council.
ICORN Board Member
Ljubljana City of Refuge
Jasmina Rihar holds a BA in French and Spanish literature and language from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. Since the graduation she worked as a freelance translator , mostly in the fields of Philosophy, Theology, History and Anthropology.
As a coordinator of the Slovene PEN Centre (2010-2014) she was among other responsible for the organization of the annual International Writer's Meeting. In 2014 she helped setting up in the first Festival of Literature for Peace, an initiative of the Writers for Peace Committee of PEN International, gathering writers from different conflict areas together on stage.
Jasmina Rihar has been involved in the ICORN programme since Ljubljana became a member in 2011, and is the coordinator of Ljubljana City of Refuge. In 2014 she coordinated the 2014 ICORN General Assembly in Ljubljana. Jasmina has been on the ICORN international board since 2012.
ICORN Board Member
Krakow City of Refuge
Danuta Glondys, holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies, MA in English philology, MA in political science. Since 2005 till 2011, she was the European Commission expert responsible for selection of all European Capitals of Culture between 2013-2017. She is former Director of the Culture Department of the Municipality of Krakow (1993-99), responsible for creating and implementing new cultural policy of the City. As Director of the Villa Decius Association (since 2001) Glondys is responsible for its initiating and implementing programmes which advocate international, cultural and intellectual cooperation and promotion of human rights.
Danuta is an academic teacher and author of publications on culture management, relations between culture and politics and intercultural communication. She introduced the idea of ICORN to Krakow and assisted the City Authorizes in joining the network. The institution she is in charge of receives and hosts ICORN guest writers in Krakow. Danuta was elected member of the ICORN international Board at the ICORN General Assembly 2014.
Ralph Henry Reese
ICORN Board Member
Pittsburgh City of Refuge
Co-founder and President of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh and Publisher of Sampsonia Way magazine, Henry Reese is former principal in Reese Brothers and Communications & Commerce. A Northside resident since 1978, he serves as Treasurer of Cave Canem: A Home for Black Poetry, and is a member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Programming Advisory Committee. He is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and SUNY Buffalo. He received Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s Citizen Service Award, a 2011 Purpose Prize Fellow and has honorary degrees from Seton Hill University and Chatham University.
Reese was elected Member of the ICORN Board at the 2016 General Assembly in Paris.
The ICORN Administration Center
Helge Lunde (1961) was the director of Kapittel, Stavanger International Festival of Literature and Freedom of Speech from 1998-2005. During the same period he was responsible for Stavanger as City of Refuge for persecuted writers, and worked together with Norwegian PEN to develop the network throughout Norway and beyond.
Lunde was among the main figures behind establishing ICORN, the International Cities of Refuge Network in 2005 when the original network International Parliament of Writers was dissolved. He became its first executive director, a position he has been holding since.
Mob: +47 995 82 488
Phone: +47 51 50 71 25
Elisabeth came from a position at the newsroom department at Dagbladet when she took up the position as Programme Director of ICORN in 2007. Since then she has been working on bringing persecuted writers from all over the world into safe havens, giving them a new voice and platforms to express themselves freely.
With a background in Peace and Conflict Transformation studies, Elisabeth started working for the Secretariat of Freedom of Expression at the Stavanger Cultural Center in 1994. She worked with the City of Refuge Programme from its very beginning in 1995, when Stavanger became a city of refuge.
Elisabeth is responsible for… and is particularly engaged in migration and visa matters. As ICORNs representative to the European Commission working group, Arts-Rights-Justice, she is also strongly involved in artists’ rights and freedom of expression.
Phone: +47 51 50 79 17
Marianne Hovdan (1977) holds an MA in sociology in addition to a BA in psychology. Her MA thesis focused on women, migration and workers’ rights and her research led to legislative changes in Norway.
She has a background as a freelance writer in addition to having worked several years with Amnesty International Norway where she was responsible for national youth activism and served as a Regional Manager. Marianne has worked as the city of refuge coordinator in Stavanger for three years and joined the ICORN administration staff in 2010.
Marianne handles the applications from persecuted writers and communicates with both writers, researchers and member cities on a daily basis. She manages the annual international ICORN gatherings (General Assembly and Network Meetings) while also assisting the Executive Director in matters of economy.
Phone: +47 51 50 79 40
Phone: +47 51 50 78 75