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PEN International Awarded Major four-year grant by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Thursday 3 September 2015 - 1:00am



(18 August 2015) PEN International – the worldwide association of writers - is delighted that the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) will continue its long-standing relationship with PEN with a grant of 31 million SEK ($3,540,000 USD). Sida’s support over the next four years will allow PEN International to:

  • promote and defend freedom of expression, literature, linguistic diversity, and mutual respect and tolerance across borders;
  • develop strong, diverse, and sustainable PEN Centres that are influential civil society actors that advance PEN’s mission;
  • increase support through enhanced communication and campaigning to protect and promote freedom of expression, literature and linguistic rights.

Sida initially began supporting PEN’s international programmes in 2004 and since then has played an integral role in the development of PEN’s successful civil society programme, which in 2014 worked with 45,402 young people, 909 teachers, 590 writers, 1438 community members, 34 NGO representatives and 68 additional stakeholders in 23 countries across the globe. In addition to its support for PEN’s civil society programmes, in 2012 Sida extended its grant to support PEN’s capacity building and core organisational expansion.

Carles Torner, executive director of PEN International, said: ‘We’re grateful for Sida’s decision to continue - and increase - its support for PEN International, granting us a stronger foundation for the coming years, leading to greater scope for programmes and an expansion of support to our 149 PEN Centres around the world. PEN, the oldest international writers’ organisation and one of the world’s oldest NGOs, will soon be 100-years-old; its work promoting literature and free expression has never been needed more than now: Sida are enabling us to maintain a truly global reach.’

Peeter Kaaman, from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), said: ‘Sida considers PEN International a strategic partner in our global efforts to protect and promote freedom of expression. With its long history and broad coverage through its national Centres, PEN International is well positioned to influence policy and legislation for the benefit of writers at risk and for freedom of expression in general at both global and national level.’

For more information on PEN’s work click here.

Also contact Sahar Halaimzai, Communications and Campaigns Manager: