Sunday, September 11, 2011

Diversity :Translation & Linguistic Rights Committee of the International P.E.N.

Source : Linguistic Declaration

An old legend says that, a long time ago, there was a king that heard that in his country there lived a truly wise man. He was so wise, they said, that he could speak all the languages in the world. He knew the song of the birds and understood it as if he were one of them. He knew how to read the shape of the clouds and immediately understand their meaning. Any language he listened to, he could answer without hesitation. He could even read the thoughts of men and women wherever they came from. The king, impressed by all the qualities that were attributed to him, called him to his palace. And the wise man came.

When he was there, the king asked him:
"Wise man, is it true that you know all the languages of the world?"
"Yes, Sir," was the answer.
"Is it true that that you listen to the birds and you can understand their song?"
"Yes, Sir."
"That you know how to read the shape of the clouds?"
"Yes, Sir."
"And, as I have been told, that you can even read people's minds?"
"Yes, Sir."

The king still had a last question…

But, which question would we put to the wisest of all the wise men?

Which languages from all over the world are spoken by the authors of the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights? Countless, we would dare to say. In any case, from more than 90 states and 5 continents, more than 200 people gathered on June 6th, 1996, in Barcelona to proclaim the Declaration. Some represented small local NGOs committed to teaching a language not recognized by the official education system of their country. There were writers in many different languages who make use of their language everyday to create literary universes open to all. Other represented international NGOs whose mission is the defence of linguistic rights. Other were experts in law, in languages, in sociolinguistics and in various domains of knowledge which converge in the academic study of linguistic rights.
For all of them, the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights promises a future of coexistence and peace thanks to the recognition of the right that each linguistic community has to shape its own life in its own language in all fields. And so they proclaimed. Since then, the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights has spread: each month there is news about its translation into a new language, a new affiliation of some organization that might not have been associated to the process, or about an international personality who has decided to support the Declaration and with it the defence of all languages in an international context which threatens the survival of many of them.

That original text, written, amended, approved and proclaimed at a non-governmental level wants nevertheless to contribute to the work of the United Nations. It aims to be a strong motivation, an appeal to the states so that, in the dynamics started by the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, they would recognize the linguistic rights of the individuals and of their communities. The association of UNESCO to our process from the very beginning and the work it has been doing along these lines gives us hope that some day a normative body of the United Nations regulating the defence of linguistic rights all over the world will be approved. This book wants to contribute to this work.

In this book the text of the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights appears and it is explained how it was written and proclaimed in the World Conference on Linguistic Rights. It is the work done by 61 NGOs, 41 PEN Club centres and over 40 experts in linguistic rights, coming from the five continents. The testimony of well-known personalities from all over the world also appears, as well as that of writers and people who fight for rights, for peace and who wanted to join us in this project.

We all, like that king in the fairy tale, may put the last question to that wise man who knew all the languages of the world. The king looked at him as if defying him, as if testing him, and asked him the final question:

"In my hands, which are hidden behind my back, there is a bird. Wise man, answer me: is it alive or dead?"

The answer of the wise man was addressed to everybody. In our case, to everybody who has any responsibility in promoting linguistic rights, from the militant to the writer, from the teacher to the legislator. For that wise man, surprisingly, felt scared. He knew that, whatever the answer, the king could kill the bird. He looked at the king and remained silent for a long time. Finally, with a very serene voice he said:

"The answer, Sir, is in your hands."

The answer is in our hands.


  Dear Friends and Collegues,
I am using this opportunity, only a few days before the start of the 77th Congress of International PEN, to inform you about the activities of the Office of the Vice President of International PEN and of the Diversity PEN Project (website and Collection of Poetry, Fiction & Essays).

1. Few regional, bilateral and other projects (conferences, intercultural exchanges, translation workshops, creative writing practices, readings), were realize during the last year, on my initiative, as the Vice President of PEN International and editor-in-chief of Diversity:
- Balkans regional conference for young writer on the topic of the New Image of the Balkans (May 2011);
- The bilateral conference with the Turkish PEN centre and the presentation of the contemporary Turkish poetry and short story in Skopje and Ohrid, in May 2010. The project was supported by the Macedonian PEN;
- Translation workshop The New Macedonian poetry in Spanish, organized in Skopje in the period from September - December 2010 (with mostly young translators);
- Creative writing project on essays followed by the workshop;
- Workshop on the Norwegian and Nordic literatures and cultures in Skopje, November 2010;
- Preparation for the next translation workshop on the Romanian poetry into Macedonian (October 2011).

2. Electronic multilingual presentation of the texts and translation on the Diversity web site of Diversity.
3. Public promotion of the PEN Charter Principles in the frame of regularly commemoration of the PEN and UNESCO International Days such as the Day of imprisoned writers, the Day of Cultural diversity, the Day of Mother languages, the Day of European languages, the Day of Poetry, Short story Day, etc.
4. During our activites , several times we have encountered with the necessity of modernisation and simplification of the aproach to the context of the on-line eddition and web-page of Diversity, so in order for us, as an organisation to be more approacabble to all audiences, we have re-designed our
web site ( ), thus making it easy accesible and easy to use.We have also opend an account on Facebook (, for is it not one of our goals to keep in touch with the informations in this modern times.
5. New Diversity practice with hard publishing of selected editions. Besides publishing text from poets, writers and essayists in electronic form as a standard publishing procedure of our project we have published a few printed printed book-editions as well. Through out wich we acted in the benefit of amplifying the process of favorising the translation as lingua franca, and as a phenomen that narrows the gap between the nations, countries and cultures.

I am presentig you the list of our printed edition:
Mozaik 1: Anthology of the Turkish poetry and Mozaik 2 - Antology of Turkish short story. This project – translation of selected poems and short storyes from Turkish to Macedonian came out as a result of the undisputed friendship and total cooperation between the our organistaion and the Turkish PEN center.
Mannuel pour seduire des princesses - a translation from Spanish into Macedonian of the poetry of the contemporary Spanish poet and essayist, Jose Maria Pas Gago from Spain.
Naked eye - a compilation of my haiku poetry originally written in Macedonaian, and subsequetially translated in five languages (Croatian, English, Spanish, Italian and Portugees)
Cartea a chirolui (in English - Book of time) - Anthology of Contemporary Aromanian poetry which was our biggest project of our anual activities. By publishing this book, we have finally realized on of the the intentions that was imposed as a nessesity with the implementation of the Declaration on Aromanian linguistic and cultural rights. Held in September 2008, at the International PEN Congress in Bogotá - Columbia, This bilingual selection (Aromanian and Macedonian) was promoted on the Day of Cultural Diversity in Skopje.

- All of our printed editons will be presented on the Congress in Belgrade.
See you on Monday.
- A new Diversity Flayer will be distributed during the Belgrade PEN Congress.
- Our new Diversity assistant, Ms. Lydia Nikolova will be present on the meetings of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee and available for the extra explanations.

Kind regards from Macedonia
Kata Kulavkova, Vice President



What is Diversity?

Diversity is a multilingual literary collection of the Translation & Linguistic Rights Committee of the International P.E.N. Each author is presented in at least three languages: the original, Macedonian and one of the three official P.E.N. languages.

was founded in spring 2003, as the first massive electronic publishing and translation project of the P.E.N. International.

The idea for Diversity was initiated at the P.E.N. Conferences in Ohrid, Skopje and Pula, after the relocation of the TaLRC seat from Barcelona (the Catalan P.E.N.) to Skopje. Hosted by the Macedonian P.E.N. Center, Diversity is based in the Macedonian capital, where the Diversity web site is technically maintained.

is a digital collection that focuses on the selection and translation of literary works, or fragments of larger poetry texts, fiction, theatre plays and essays.

is concerned with inter-literary and inter-cultural dialogue, subtlety, originality, cultural tradition, literary innovation, and practical exploration of innovative literary sensitivity and discourses.

promotes literary and linguistic heritage as world heritage, and as an immanent and eminent anthropological and cultural value.


Diversity was formed to give its own particular mark and contribution to the realization of the International P.E.N. Charter.
Diversity was founded with the purpose of contributing to the affirmation of the essential UNESCO strife for protection of the World`s linguistic, literary and cultural diversity.
Diversity is designed in accordance with the Standing Orders of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee and it represents an actualization of one of its crucial functions.

Diversity responds to the need of literary exchange, according to the proposal adopted at the 1997 Ohrid P.E.N. Conference (PETL).

The major guideline of this multilingual electronic project is to form a collection of literary works translated from the so-called languages of lesser currency into other world languages, and into the official languages of the P.E.N. International (English, French and Spanish).

multilingual e-collection promotes minor languages and literatures of great value. At the same time, it presents works translated from the major languages into the minor languages of the world.

aims to form an open and continuously up-to-date circle of literary communication, translation, understanding, interpretation and dialogue between different cultures, traditions, civilizations and worldviews.

How does
Diversity function?

publishes works by contemporary and living authors.

promotes already published and previously unpublished works, depending on the copyright agreement with the author.

The e-published works are translated in at least two languages, although, in principle, the collection aims to present each author in a number of languages.

The translation from the so-called langages of lesser currency into the official P.E.N. languages (English, French and Spanish) is organized and coordinated with the aid of a team of consultants and translators of Diversity. Translation into Macedonian is organized at the seat of the TaLRC in Skopje. Translation from the original language of the work is a preference: translation from one of the major languages, and not from the original language (in case the original is a language of lesser currency) is accepted only by exception.

Each e-publication offers basic biography and bibliography of the author, as well as critical reviews.

The Diversity database provides search options by various criteria, allowing searches for various aims and reasons.

In its first phase, the P.E.N. collection Diversity wil be exclusevely electronic, and hard copy published books are expected as soon as the project finds financial support that would make the printing possible.

When the circumstances allow, the TaLRC will organize a House of Translation in Ohrid, Macedonia, where one-month residence will be granted to Diversity translators. Diversity can organize translation workshops in the TaLRC Seat in Skopje, or in other countries upon an invitation of other P.E.N. Centres.

builds and maintains a network of instiutions and individuals interested in giving their contribution to the world linguistic and literary diversity.

Who is published on

Excerpts from poetry books, selections and anthologies, short stories, excerpts from novels and essays from distinguished authors, mainly members of the P.E.N. International are taken into consideration for publishing. The authors are mainly (although not exclusively!) members of P.E.N. centres, regardless of their nationality, ethnic, linguistic and religious background.

The works can be previously published in the original language, and for the first time published in electronic format, as well as in Macedonian languagel.

The Diversity Editorial Board and the Editor-In-Chief are responcible for the sellection of the authors and their work.

- Macedonian P.E.N.


CASIMIRO de BRITO - Portuguese P.E.N.

Web Editor:
Igor Isakovski
(previously Ana Pejchinova, Jasminka Markovska, and Jasmina Ilievska-Marjanovic)

There are three basic collections of texts: poetry, fiction and non-fiction published on Diversity.

values the diverse nations, literatures, languages and cultures from around the world and one of its basic values is to preserve this diversity in the works presented on the site. The authors belong to different generations as well.

The Diversity people:

The Editorial Board consists of the following editorial bodies:
- Editorial Board,
- International Team of Consultants or the Advisory Board, consisting of representatives of all P.E.N. Centres, members of the TaLRC,
- Editor-in-Chief;
- Web editor.

The Diversity Editorial Board:

It has the following authorization:
- to determine the orientation of the collection,
- to form an international network of authors and translators,
- to select authors and works, and to plan the collection,
- to protect the copyright laws of the published authors and translators,
- to promote and protect the fundamental conceptual principles of multilinguism, diversity and aesthetical qualities of the Diversity.
- to maintain cooperation with corresponedent institutes, fondatons and sponsors,
- to coordinate the project with other P.E.N. projects,
- to maintain a multi-national editorial board,
The Editorial Board is appointed by the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee at the proposal of the Editor-in-Chief of the Diversity.
The Board meets at least annually in Skopje, Ohrid (within the framework of the Ohrid P.E.N. Conference Programme) or elsewhere (within the International P.E.N. Conference, etc.)

The International Team of Regional Consultants

The team is an informal body of the Diversity.
The Team is open and consist of writers, critics, essayists, anthologists and publishers, all nominated by the P.E.N. Centres - members of the TaLRC. The Team can have 42 members at the most.

Considering that the International P.E.N. has 138 members, and the Committee 43, the consultants are invited to recommend authors and works not only from their regions, but also from the wider areas kindred to them in linguistic and cultural sense.

Each of the Consultants has the right to recommend authors and translators primarily from their own linguistic, literary and cultural region. The Consultants are responsible for establishing and maintaining relations between the Editorial Board and their publishers, with the aim to regulate the copyright laws.

The Consultans report about their activities at their home P.E.N. Centres.

Regional Consultants/Advisory Board:

Judith Rodrigues (Australian P.E.N. - Melbourne)
Aysu Erden (Turkish P.E.N.)
Esther Allen (American P.E.N. - NY)
Bente Christensen (Norwegian P.E.N.)
Philipe Cujas (French P.E.N.)
Sibila Petlevski (Croatian P.E.N.)
Yang Lian (Ind.Chinese P.E.N.)
Ivo Frbezar (Slovenian P.E.N.)
Vida Ognenovic (Serbian P.E.N.)
Reza Baraheni (Canadian P.E.N.)
Tomas Burghart (German P.E.N.)
Gulere Cornelius (Uganda P.E.N.)
Sulumba Maureen (Malawi P.E.N.)
Lasse Soderberg (Swedish P.E.N.)
Anna Hakobian (Armenaian P.E.N.)
Cecilia Balcazar (Columbian P.E.N.)
Justo Jorge Padron (Spanish P.E.N.).

What is the location of

The Diversity Office is hosted by the Macedonian P.E.N. Centre and is located at the following address:

Translation & Linguistic Rights Committee
Macedonian P.E.N. Center
MKC, Dimitar Vlahov Quay bb
1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
Tel.+ 389 (2) 32 39 155
Fax: + 389 (2) 31 30 054

source : Dibversity 


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