13 November 2012 ICORN board meeting in Krakow

The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) tightens its ties with Krakow. Our city is hosting the first sitting of the delegates elected at General Assembly in Stockholm in May 2012 yesterday and today (12th and 13th of November). During these two days the board is discussing, among other topics, a long-term strategy on the direction of development ICORN should take towards the year 2020 and the organization of the ICORN network and the commissioning of the PEN International meeting in May of next year, also in Krakow. During the meeting, a representative of the Krakow Festival Office will present Krakow and the Reading Malopolska project.

The board, elected for the years 2012-2014, is comprised of: Petera Ripken (Frankfurt, Chair), Dagny Anker Gevelt (Kristiansand, Vice Chair), Jasmina Arambasic (Ljubljana, board member), Annika Stromberg (Uppsala, board member) and Chris Gribble (Norwich, board member).

Let us remind you that Krakow is the member city of the ICORN network. The decision of joining the network was made in May 2009 by the City Council of Krakow. ICORN is dedicated to protecting distinguished intellectualists by means of the writer in residence programme in member cities of the network. The organisation is also involved in facilitating contacts and cooperation among specific cities of the network, festivals directors and writers, cooperating closely with the European Union and the International PEN Club.

Krakow was internationally applauded for admitting writer Mari Amelie for a temporary stay (organised very quickly) and providing her with asylum and showing her great hospitability at the Villa Decius and then also helping Karreem Amer – the first Egyptian blogger who was arrested for his blog posts and was sentenced to four years in prison, charges included "insulting Islam" and "spreading false information about President Hosni Mubarak".

The ICORN network has been functioning since 2005, within the organisation nearly 40 cities have been providing writers with a safe place. Member cities include: Barcelona, Stockholm, Oslo, Brussels, Frankfurt, Palma de Mallorca and Mexico. It is important that cities cannot apply to become a member, as they can only be invited to join the network.