Literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals.
PEN International Charter
The jury of the peace prize especially highlighted PEN Català as a platform for the international projection of Catalan literature and their fight for the liberation and promotion of persecuted writers. They mention a series of PEN Català programmes such as the current Persecuted Writer Programme, together with the declaration of November 15 as the International Persecuted Writers Day; or, since 2007, the Guest Writer Programme, whereby writers who are threatened or persecuted because of their work, are given two years’ refuge. At present, within the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN), PEN Català is hosting the Palestinian poet Basem Al-Nabriss, in Barcelona, and the Egyptian journalist Amir Ali in Girona.
PEN and ICORN collaboration
Several of the ICORNs current 43 member cities that provide safe havens to persecuted writers around the world are run by or partnered with national PEN centres. ICORN works closely with PEN through a formal agreement with PEN Internationals Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC). Applications from persecuted writers are first received and screened by the ICORN administration, and are then sent on to the Writers in Prison Committee for a full evaluation.
The Peace Prize
The Peace Prize, with the support of the County Council, has been giving annually since 1980, and is given in recognition of the merits of an individual or collective achievement, for an outstanding personal record or institutional contribution towards the diffusion of the United Nations’ fundamental goals; the defence of peaceful mediation in conflicts, human rights and fundamental liberty. The list of laureates ranges from the journalist, José Luís Balbín (1980) to Casal dels Infants (2012) and includes prestigious personalities such as Pere Casaldàliga, Nelson Mandela (Nobel Peace Prize 1993), Mikhaïl Gorbatxov (Nobel Peace Prize 1990), Hans Blix, Daniel Barenboim, Olof Palme, Miriam Makeba, or Stéphane Hessel. [See complete list at www.anue.org]
Photo: Barcelona, Plaza Catalunya
Source: Wikimedia Commons