City of Asylum (CoA)/Pittsburgh had brought CoA Las Vegas, CoA Ithaca NY and ICORN director Helge Lunde together for an intensive workshop earlier the same day, on how to coordinate and expand the City of Refuge movement in USA. CoA Pittsburgh will serve as a national hub for this initiative, and act as a global model for how to use the arts to build communities and foster cross-cultural exchange.
“We are all deeply impressed and immensely inspired by how CoA/Pittsburgh has developed and expanded their work to protect and promote writers and artists at risk”, said Helge Lunde during the public event. “We look forward to work together them and the current and upcoming member of ICORN in North America, to build a real ICORN stronghold in this part of the world”.
“I’m sure you know we are on the right side of history, all of us and what we are doing. The only question is when history catches up,” Mayor Peduto also said in his memorable speech, and continued: “We have something amazing happening in Pittsburgh by being able to bringing people in from around the world.”
“This city is in transition, but it’s always been in transition. It was in transitioin in 1921 when it was becoming an industrial giant on a global scale and on a global map when my grandfather came over. And they told him, ‘Go back.’ Because at that time the ‘others’ were the Italians. And before that it was the Germans and the Irish. And before that the French and the Native Americans… So we have to understand that that history is a part of it and if we don’t make the changes that are necessary, we just repeat the same problems once again.”
See and hear William Peduto's speech.