PEN’s Year in Review

By | June 18, 2014 at 2:34 pm | No comments | News

This year, PEN Canada was pleased to invite its members to attend its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, June 20, 2014 at the Faculty Club, at the University of Toronto. Members were also able to vote on motions and the election of new directors by proxy. 

Highlights from the 2014 AGM

AGM

2014 AGM in progress.

President Philip Slayton opened the meeting by outlining how PEN has gone “from strength to strength.” This year, PEN took greater steps towards nationalizing the Canadian Issues Committee (formerly National Affairs Committee) and worked to have Edmonton join the International City of Refuge Network – a network of cities that strive to provide support and housing to writers in peril. On the international level, PEN built on its relationship with the International Human Rights program at the University of Toronto to undertake a study of violence against journalists in Honduras, subsequently testifying at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and appearing before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade. PEN also expanded its literary programming through collaborations with the Spur Festival in Toronto and Winnipeg and a series of film screenings in partnership with Hot Docs.

The featured speaker for the  evening was Oscar Vigil–a Salvadoran journalist and former PEN writer-in-exile. Vigil and his family were forced to flee El Salvador in 2001 after an attempt on his life and sought refugee status in Canada. He is currently facing deportation due to his work in El Salvador, arranging interviews between foreign journalists and the country’s leftist rebels, the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), and for his brief stint as the FMLN’s press secretary after it became a legitimate political party in 1992. The FMLN has been the elected government of El Salvador since 2009 and has had full diplomatic relations with Canada. Vigil spoke passionately about his contested status and the challenges he has faced appealing his deportation.

Finally, PEN members elected three new directors to serve a three year term on PEN Canada’s board: Jennifer Lanthier, Elise Moser, and Grace Westcott.

You can learn more about the work that PEN does by downloading a copy of our annual report:

 

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