The third PEN Ethiopia National Writers’ Congress was held on the 22nd of February 2014 in Addis Ababa with great success in the presence of over 185 Ethiopian writers and international guests. The guests included Anders Heger, Norwegian PEN and PEN International board member, Professor Dr. Joseph Haslinger, President of German PEN, Hori Takeaki, International Secretary and other guest from Turkey and the United Kingdom. The theme of the Congress was Freedom of Expression and Literature in Ethiopia. Two academic papers were presented and the discussions continued even on the 24th February at the New Generation University College and at the Goethe Institute in the presence of academic and well known Ethiopian writers. Professor Dr. Joseph Haslinger, President of PEN Germany made a public lecture on ‘the value of freedom of expression’ in relation to the third PEN Congress.
PEN Ethiopia has also recently started its Creating social harmony in Ethiopia using literature programme. Within the framework of this programme PEN Ethiopia will prepare and publish an anthology that will feature short stories by writers from different ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Ethiopia is known for its diversity, in terms of ethnic groups, language, religion and culture. There are more than 80 ethnic groups and about 200 dialects that are spoken throughout the country. The anthology aims at fostering representation of ethnic writers and literature, promoting harmony and social inclusion to build peace and unity in Ethiopia.
The programme forms part of the joint cooperation between PEN International and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to support civil society programmes in all world regions.