In the context of the 70 years anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, we are pleased to announce that renowned South African playwright and cultural activist Mike van Graan will hold the keynote lecture at the ICORN’s General Assembly in Malmö. He is the 2018 recipient of the Hiroshima Prize, which he receives “for his contribution to the fight against apartheid, to building a post-apartheid society, and to the study of the interface between peace and culture both in his home country and across the African continent.”
Mike van Graan says:
It is seventy years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Seventy years after the second world war and the promise that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realised”. But this is not the world of 2018. We are more connected to each other, and yet, further apart. We possess military arsenals that could wipe out humankind. Human misery continues through poverty, war and other forms of violence. Which begs the questions: human rights for whom? Whose human rights matter?
Thursday 3 May is also UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. We mark this with a panel debate on the role of journalists and artists in times of increased precarity, uncertainty and illiberalism around the globe. The panel will consist of the ICORN writers Manal Al-Sheikh (Iraq/Stavanger), Khaled Harara (Gaza/Gothenburg), Naeimeh Doosthar (Iran/Malmö), Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury (Tutul) (Bangladesh/Skien, Tesfagiorgion Habte Kelati (Eritrea/Luleå). In line with the assembly theme "not silent" - what does that actually mean and require in practice? For example, does 'not silent' mean raising awareness in the new location or participating in resistance / transformation back home? Or both? Or if the latter, what challenges exist in terms of being physically located away from home? Lecturer and moderator is Professor Stephen Marr, Malmö University.
Safe Not Silent
More than 200 participants has already registered for the ICORN assembly in Malmö. The rich and diverse programme is under construction and will be finalized and communicated very soon.
More and more cities around the world are joining ICORN to become safe havens for persecuted writers and artists. Since 2006, around 200 poets, bloggers, novelists, publishers, visual artists, journalists, playwrights and musicians have found long term, temporary refuge in ICORN cities. Protected and promoted, they are safe, but not silent.
When ICORN convenes its 9th General Assembly in Malmö 2-4 May 2018, we explore how writers and artists can continue their work in exile, and express themselves, in their new safe cities, and towards the country and regions they were forced to flee. They will engage in a diverse programme of concerts, debates, readings, film screenings, performances, with city representatives, invited guests, observers and the Malmö public.
The 2018 ICORN General Assembly will mark the 70th Anniversary for the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Its article 19 on Freedom of Expression has been formative for ICORN's work from the very beginning. At the assembly, the first external evaluation of ICORN will be presented, and the city delegates will discuss and vote over a new strategic plan for the years 2018-2022.
The annual meetings have proved to be vital meeting places and sources of information and inspiration for further developing our joint efforts for solidarity, creativity and hospitality. The assembly programme will also include discussions on the conditions of freedom of expression, digital security, protection and promotion of writers and artists at risk, country reports and a rich and diverse row of cultural events.