pen haruna

OVER 300 delegates including Accra Mail Editor, Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah are currently gathered in Korea?s historical city of Gyeongju for the 78th PEN International Congress.

The congress was launched by the host Centre President, Gil-Won Lee, which this year explores themes around literature, media and human rights.

PEN International celebrates literature and promotes freedom of expression; it is the oldest civil society organization in the world engaged in freedom of expression advocacy.

Founded in 1921, this global community of writers now comprises 144 centres spanning more than 100 countries and its programmes, campaigns, events and publications connect writers and readers for global solidarity and cooperation.

PEN International is a non-political organization and holds consultative status at the United Nations and UNESCO. The Ghanaian centre has Alhaji Harruna Attah as President and Mackay Anim-Appiah as Executive Director.

A number of Nobel Laureates in Literature have been or are members of PEN. One of the best known, Chinese Nobel Laureate, Li Xiabo is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence for displeasing the Chinese government.

Earlier this year, Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama was offered membership by the Ghanaian Centre, which he accepted. His book, ?My First Coup d?Etat was published in July this year.

At the opening on Monday, the congress heard keynote speeches by Nobel Laureates Wole Soyinka and Jean Marie Gustave Le Clezio.

Training sessions, workshops, lectures, literary events and networking sessions are ongoing. The annual congress is an opportunity for members from all centers to share their diverse expertise and experience. The Ghanaian Centre showcased a number of Ghanaian books at an exhibition mounted as an integral part of the congress.

President Mahama, through the Ghanaian Centre, presented an autographed copy of his book to Dr. John Ralston Saul, President of PEN International.

In his opening statement, Dr. Saul echoed the core purpose of PEN around the world: ?Through all of [our] work we must constantly remind ourselves that our cause is literature. Literature and freedom of expression are neither a nicety nor a legal technicality. They are a way of imagining the relationship between peoples. Between people?who may disagree or dislike each other or, in fact, know nothing about each other??

At the opening ceremony, PEN International announced its Declaration on Free Expression and Digital Technologies, which will address concerns around digital technology, particularly freedom of expression through digital media.

PEN plays a global role in promoting literature and protecting freedom of expression. The congress ends tomorrow, September 15. See full text of Dr. Ralston Saul?s speech on the Arts page

Source Daily Guide Ghana

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