Letter from the President

Dear friends and colleagues,

As 2018 draws to a close, I look back on this year and think of how privileged we were to be together at congress in India, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth and life dedicated to his “Experiments with Truth”. For those who were unable to join, I hope you were able to follow from a distance. So much of what we do at PEN is to defend truth, and to be close to Gandhi’s legacy was an honour indeed.

As we face a new year with so much suffering in places like Yemen and Venezuela, and look to the tragic situations of the Uighur in China and the Rohingya Crisis; as well as experience the weakening of multilateral diplomacy, intergovernmental institutions and strong alliances, it shows we are living through a global crisis of ethics. At this time, our Charter stands as a noble and important document, which one hundred and eighty centres around our globe uphold, as a strong beacon in these times.

We have achieved so much this year and we can highlight the release of both Liu Xia and Dareen Tatour. Their freedom embodies so much of what we strive for as a movement, through the strength of our combined voices and years of campaigning in desperate circumstances, against repressive regimes. Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” We, at PEN, do this every day of our lives through the diversity of our voices united in fellowship with our fellow writers.

I look forward to meeting all of you in the New Year and wish you health and happiness in 2019.

Jennifer Clement

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