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Letter from WiPC Chair to Presidents and Secretaries of PEN Centres

Dear colleagues, The opportunity of meeting many of you in person at the 88th Congress in Uppsala was amicably insightful as WiPC welcomed suggestions and appreciated the opinions of various delegates. Subsequently, the WiPC Steering committee with two additional new members, Elisabeth Löfgren (PEN Sweden)and Maria Emilia Arioli (PEN Switzerland), convened to finalize the Strategic plan and review ideas suggested by several Congress attendees. On the request for WiPC’s periodic newsletters, in light of PEN International’s existing frequent publications covering most of WiPC’s works and activities, it has been decided that such an additional endeavor would be redundant and cause a serious drain on our scarce resources. Instead, from time to time, WiPC will communicate with national Centers in writing on important matters and, especially, on urgent matters. Previously, we had requested national Centers to provide comments and suggestions on WiPC’s proposed Strategic plan by November 1, 2022 but received no response. As time is of the essence, consequently WiPC Steering committee had reviewed, analyzed, refined, and finalized the Strategic plan. We are pleased to inform you about WiPC Strategic plan’s main features as follows:

Three main thematic issues identified to be central are (1) Defamation, (2) Digital Privacy, and (3) Access to Freedom.

WiPC’s upcoming works and activities will be:

1. Focusing on the aforementioned thematic issues to see how those issues manifest at the regional level for future strategic planning and evaluation as well as for preparing effective Congress resolutions; 2. Establishing a media engagement policy to improve internal and external social media communication means and activities including the creation and maintenance of an annual WiPC calendar showing activities of PEN International, WiPC and national Centers, social media closed groups, and reaching out to international media outlets; 3. Strengthening links with the other three main Committees within PEN International; 4. Improving the participation of national Centers in global campaigns and in other actions such as RAN.

To transform WiPC’s strategic focuses into actual and effective actions, we are designing the program for our annual meeting in May 2022 in Zagreb, Croatia as follows:

1. Proposed title of our meeting will be “Free the Wor(l)d in times of war and repression”; 2. There will be a panel on challenges faced by both Writers-in-Exile and hosting centers; 3. There will be opportunities for sharing opinions and discussion of [A] Success stories, and [B] Challenges; 4. There will be a session for small group discussion and presentation on Advocacy, Campaign, Protection, Residency, joint-committee activities; and 5. There will be three sessions led by respective regional coordinators and leading centers on [A] Defamation, [B] Digital Privacy, and [C] Access to Freedom.

There will also be some additional public events organized by Croatia PEN. We truly hope to have a poetry reading event for delegates so please be prepared for this very special moment of literary sharing and sincere appreciation of colleagues’ creative works from around the world. Due to program constraints, we will not have a “center update” session in Zagreb. Instead, however, we will distribute a template before the meeting to participants, who would be able to provide their center’s updated activities timely and effectively. Furthermore, subsequent to WiPC meeting in Zagreb, the Writers for Peace Committee will confer in Bled from the 15th to the 18th day of May 2022. It would take about 2 hours via train/bus from Zagreb to Bled so we hope that many WiPC delegates could also take time to attend this annual meeting of the Writers for Peace Committee. We wholeheartedly look forward to meeting all of you in May 2023 in Zagreb. Please feel free to offer your recommendation and participation in any session, panel or discussion in the program mentioned above. Have a happy, peaceful, and blessed holiday season. Humbly yours, Dr. Ma Thida WiPC Chair


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