The 68th World Congress of the International P.E.N.,
Ohrid, 17th-24th September, 2002
The World Congress of the International P.E.N., the most significant event of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre and one of the biggest events from the domain of literature and culture in the country for 2002, an important event in the larger context was held in Ohrid, 17th–24th September. The Congress was evaluated as very successful and it passed in an atmosphere of peace, friendliness and tolerance.
The Congress of the International P.E.N. in Moscow, where the majority of participants voted for the Macedonian P.E.N. as the following host of the International Congress, the delay of the Congress due to the critical situation in the country in 2001, followed by an acclamation and a decision to bring the Congress back to Ohrid in September 2002 were all events that, previously to the Congress and its realisation were the main activities of the Macedonian P.E.N.. As an addition to these activities that activated a permanent and fruitful communication with the International P.E.N. in London and the centres through out the world was the concrete organizing and planning of the event.
There were 120 delegates, 110 participants and special guests from abroad as well as 50 Macedonian participants at the Congress – all in all, a number of 280 participants. The oP.E.N.ing ceremony took place on 19th September, and the president of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, Mr. Dimitar Bashevski, spoke in the name of the host institution. His oP.E.N.ing speech was followed by the messages from the president and the general secretary of the International P.E.N., Mr. Homero Aridjis and Mr. Terry Carlbom. On this occasion, Mr. Terry Carlbom spoke about this year’s 40th anniversary of the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, and greeted the distinguished first president, Mr. Tome Momirovski. The ceremony began with the performance of two musicians.
The round table discussions (Borders of Freedom – Freedom of Borders, The Language of Future – the Future of Language, the South Slavic Literatures, the Women Writers and the Young P.E.N.) were very successful. All the discussions were attended by a satisfactory number of participants and listeners. All the significant members present at the Congress participated in the discussions, including a large numbers of Macedonian writers. The president of the Writers in Prison Committee, Mr. Eugene Schulgin and the president of the Women Writers Committee, Mrs. Luchina Cathman spoke of the activities of their Committees. The resolutions connected to the freedom of speech and the writers in exile, as well as the countries at stake were also an actual topic. Mrs. Luchina Cathman spoke of the status of the women writers and the discussions regarding the women’s writing in literature.
Two especially important events for the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre also hapP.E.N.ed at this Congress. A decision was made that the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee should be transferred to Macedonia, and Mrs. Kata Kulavkova was anonymously voted as its chair person. The second important decision was that the Macedonian P.E.N. should be the Internet host centre for the region.
The participants at the Congress were invited for a reception at the villa Biljana, where the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Mr. Boris Trajkovski, cordially arranged a very pleasant meeting. The President was very interested and supportive of the work of the Congress and the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre. The famous ethno band Synthesis had a concert at the House of Poetry in Struga. There were two organized literary readings, the regional one held in the hotel Metropol, and the international one in the church St. Sofia, at which 40 poets from all over the world and Macedonia presented their work in their native languages. The poetry book by Homero Aridjis, published by the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre, was also presented on this evening.
The Congress was followed by numerous reporters of the Macedonian, as well as foreign news agencies.