68th WORLD CONGRESS OF INTERNATIONAL P.E.N.
17th – 24th September 2002
OHRID, REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
The 68th International P.E.N. Congress will be held in the Republic of Macedonia, a country at the crossroads between East and West and a bridge connecting their cultures. It is constantly improving its contacts and co-operation with neighbouring countries and the wider world, and despite the conflicts in the region, its small size and lack of wealth, it is eager to take its place within the cultural communication of the world.
The Macedonian P.E.N. Centre has for many years been involved in the organization of literary and cultural festivals in Macedonia, such as the Struga International Poetry Evenings Festival. In particular, it has held five Regional P.E.N. Conferences in Ohrid over a period of ten years, providing a calm and supportive environment for the writers of the region to meet, to introduce their writings to each other and to work together to sustain each other’s cultural and linguistic rights. Through these meetings it has made a major contribution to the re-stating of the principles and values of International P.E.N. in a troubled part of the world.
By its very presence and concrete expression of the tenets of the Charter, the Congress will support the efforts of the Republic of Macedonia to further develop its democratic processes and to maintain its role as an important factor for peace and stability in the region. It will also give great support to the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre in its affirmation of and work for the literature, the language and the culture of the Macedonian nation and the minorities that live in the country, at the same time confirming its active role in the whole region of the Balkans.
The Congress will be based in Ohrid, one of the oldest centres of Slavic literacy and culture, which UNESCO has recognised as a World Heritage Site. It is a city of outstanding beauty, located by the Lake of Ohrid, with a continuous literary tradition since the 10th century. The city of the founders of Slavic literacy, Sts Cyril and Methodius and their disciples St Clement and St Naum, it was the home of Grigor Prlichev, one of the greatest poets of the 19th century, and many others.
The Macedonian P.E.N. Centre has planned a full programme of discussions, receptions, literary events, excursions and entertainment, including two poetry readings. On 20th September, a poetry reading will be conducted in English and Macedonian, featuring poets and poetry from the region. On 22nd September an international poetry reading will be held in the ancient cathedral church of St Sophia where traditionally the poet laureates of the unique and world-famous Struga Poetry Evenings Festival have been presented. Here will be an opportunity to read at the venue where such poets as Senghor, Alberti, Adonis, Ritsos, Vozhnesensky, Ginsberg, Hughes, Amichai, Heaney and many others, have read their poetry. On 21st September there will be an evening of Macedonian folk music and dance that will display the enormous wealth of the centuries’ old Macedonian folk tradition.
The old city of Ohrid and its vicinity abound in magnificent ancient archaeological sites and monasteries dating from the early 12th to the 18th century, adorned with unique mosaics, frescoes, wood carving and other relics and artefacts. The lake, the mountains around it, the city’s architecture, its museums, restaurants and cafés provide a wonderful arena for the Congress, and offer the visitor a remarkable range of sightseeing, walking and leisure-time activities.
TRAVEL TO AND FROM MACEDONIA
Note: This information was correct at the time of going to press. It is essential to check all details with your travel agent or airline before making your booking.
Flights to and from European cities to Skopje
Flights go to Skopje from a variety of European cities, including the following:
Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Rome, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zagreb and Zurich
NOTE: Transport to and from the airports will be provided. So that this can be organized, it is essential that as soon as you have made your travel arrangements you give the Congress organizers full details of your flight – dates and times of arrival and departure, airline and flight numbers.
Please check whether or not you need a visa. Valid Macedonian visas, if required, may be obtained at the diplomatic and consular offices of the Republic of Macedonia. In countries where such offices do not exist, visas may be obtained upon arrival in Macedonia.
The setting of the hotels “Metropol” and “Bellevue”, where the Congress will be held, is spectacular. The hotels are located on the shore of the Lake of Ohrid, have their own beaches and form a complete Conference Centre, with meeting-rooms, a press room, restaurants, bars and bedrooms. This is where all delegates and participants will be accommodated, in newly furnished, comfortable rooms, single or double, with private facilities.
The Host Centre pays for the accommodation of up to two Official Delegates per Centre in the hotels Metropol and Bellevue for seven nights, with full board, from 17th – 24th September 2002. Delegates wishing to stay for extra nights before or after this period will be charged pro rata for each night. All other participants are responsible for the costs of their accommodation.
Alternatively, bookings can be made independently in a range of other hotels located nearby. In such cases, it should be noted that Delegates will not be reimbursed for the costs of their accommodation.