Held every year on 21 February, International Mother Language Day is observed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
To celebrate the day, PEN International will feature five video-poems recited by poets in their mother language: Juana Peña (Chol), Seyare Kokche (Crimean Tatar), Wasai Biran Issa (Dazaga), Moeyed Teyib (Kurdish) and Santiago B. Villafania (Pangasinan). The video-poems will be promoted on PEN International’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts from 15 – 19 February, and made available on PEN International’s YouTube channel.
PEN International — International Mother Language Day 2021 (pen-international.org)
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The Philippine Center of International PEN or PEN Philippines celebrated its golden anniversary in December 2007. Its founding was marked by a national writers’ conference, the first of its kind after the war, held for two days in Baguio City in December 1957 and attended by distinguished literary people and intellectuals from all over the country including Senator Claro M. Recto and President Carlos P. Garcia. The conference organizer and also Philippine PEN founder was F. Sionil Jose, now National Artist for Literature. Among the conference participants were, later to become National Artists for Literature: Francisco Arcellana, N.V.M. Gonzalez, Bienvenido Lumbera, Alejandro Roces and Edith Tiempo.
In its 50 years, the PEN Philippines has organized and sponsored such activities as literary readings, workshops, meet-the-author series, seminars, and conferences in Manila and in the provinces. It has hosted the visits or held receptions for distinguished writers from abroad, such as Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Richard Kim, Lin Yutang, Khushwant Singh, Hirabayashi Taiko, Hayako Sono, Norman Mailer, Gunter Grass, Mario Vargas Llosa, Mochtar Lubis, Edwin Thumboo, Juan Gelman, and many others.
On September 30 to October 3, the 2019 PEN International Congress was hosted by PEN Philippines in Manila. It was attended by over 150 writers and PEN members from 65 PEN Centres across the globe, and the first time in the history of PEN International for it to be held in Southeast Asia. PEN also organized two regional Asian Writers conferences in Manila (1962, 1981), and published several anthologies including an Asian PEN Anthology. During the Marcos dictatorship, PEN stood in defense of freedom of expression and speech. This is an avowed purpose as embodied in the International PEN Charter.
The Philippine Center of International PEN is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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