Member Spotlight – Ramin Jahanbegloo

By | May 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm | No comments | Profiles | Tags: ,

‘I believe the mission of PEN Canada is defined by bringing awareness of the dignity of thinking and writing, regardless of who you are, where you live and what you believe in.’
– Ramin Jahanbegloo

Ramin Jahanbegloo talks to Mark Medley about why PEN Canada matters

MM: When did you join PEN Canada?
RJ:I was chosen as an honorary member of PEN Canada when I was in prison in Iran in 2006. I joined PEN as a board member when I came back to Canada in 2008, at the invitation of then-president Nelofer Pazira, and in 2011 I became a member of the advisory board.

MM: Why is the organization important to you?
RJ: PEN Canada is important to me because of its mission. I believe the mission of PEN Canada is defined by bringing awareness of the dignity of thinking and writing, regardless of who you are, where you live and what you believe in.

MM: What’s the greatest threat to freedom of expression facing writers today?
RJ: The greatest threats to freedom of expression are prejudice, fanaticism and ignorance.

MM:What would you tell a writer thinking of becoming a member of PEN Canada?
RJ: I would say: Look into the very depth of your heart and try to find the passion that commands you to write, but try also to make of this passion an instrument of justice to help the others to continue thinking and writing.

Born in Teheran, Ramin Jahanbegloo is an Iranian philosopher and academic. He currently teaches political science at the University of Toronto. Among his books are The Clash of Intolerances, Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity, and Conversations with Isaiah Berlin.

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