8th Ohrid P.E.N. Conference
The 8th Ohrid P.E.N. Conference was held from the 22nd till the 25th of September 2005 in Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. A meeting of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of the International P.E.N. was also held during this Conference. The theme of the Conference was “The writer within/without a Homeland”. 22 representatives of P.E.N. Centres from the entire world took part in this year’s discussions on this subject, but there were also many writers that are members of the organizer and host P.E.N. Centre of the Conference – i.e. the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre. Among the participants was also the Secretary General of the International P.E.N., Ms Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, who greeted everybody at the opening of the Conference with a speech about the principles of P.E.N. and especially about the meaning of the subject of this year’s Conference. Among other things, she said: “Spread across 99 countries, shaped by different nationalities, cultures, religions, and language, P.E.N. is a community of writers who appreciate the importance of telling story and who defend the writer’s freedom to tell the story as he sees it and to tell it in the language of his choosing”.
After the greeting and the introductory speech of the President of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, Mr. Dimitar Bashevski, on the subject of this year’s Conference, which according to him was very important and in the spirit of P.E.N., many participants elaborated their views on the subject. The discussion was rich and was on a very high level.
During the Conference, the participants were greeted by the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia, Ms Melpomeni Corneti, who organized a special reception for this occasion. In her welcoming speech, she stressed the meaning P.E.N. has for the bringing of the literatures and cultures closer to one another and for their mutual collaboration, for the defending of the creative freedom, for the protection of the languages etc. The Mayor of the city of Ohrid, Mr. Alexandar Petreski, also organized a reception for the participants at the Conference in the memorial house of Gligor Prlichev - the famous Macedonian poet from the 19th century.
On the meeting of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee of the International P.E.N., among other things, an Appeal to the European Union for respecting the Macedonian identity was approved by the members of the Committee. In the Appeal it is said that: “The Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee appeals to the European Union and its members to respect in the official media communication and information the elements of the Macedonian identity – the constitutional name, language and culture – as an integral part of the European culture, its past, present and future”.
The participants of the 8th Ohrid P.E.N. Conference were also taken for sightseeing on the important archeological and cultural sights in Ohrid and the Conference was closed with a boat outing to the well-known picturesque location of the Church of St. Naum Ohridski where an international poetry reading was held.