Speaking in Tongues

Literary Freedom and Indigenous Languages
Manila 30 September – 4 October

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PEN CSP Workshop for PEN Asia Centres

The Philippine Center assisted PEN International in organizing a Civil Society Programme Development Workshop on 2-6 July 2018 at De La Salle University, Manila.

The delegates from PEN Asia Centres were: Apoorvanand Jha (PEN Delhi), Gauranga Chandra Mohanta (PEN Bangladesh), Han Zaw/Myat Thu Soe (PEN Myanmar), La Seng (PEN Myanmar), Mitra Bandhu Poudel (PEN Nepal), Sangamesh Menasinakai (PEN South India), Tammy Lai Ming Ho (PEN Hong Kong), and Yorn Young (PEN Cambodia).

Six delegates from various Philippine regions represented the Philippine Center: Junley Lazaga (Baguio), Harold Mercurio (Samar), Pamela Castrillo (Davao), Frank Peñones (Bicol), Santiago Villafania (Pangasinan) and Ma. Carmen Sarmiento (Metro Manila).  Lito B. Zulueta, Philippine PEN National Secretary and Project Head of the Center’s Civil Society Programme, also participated.  

The sessions were facilitated by the PEN International executive staff:  Romana Cacchioli (Head, PEN International Programmes), Emma Wadsworth-Jones (Asia-Latin America Programme Officer), Holly Strauss (Learning and Accountability Officer) and Michael Halmshaw (Digital Manager). Danson Kahyana, President of PEN Uganda, and Shirley Lua of Philippine PEN served as co-facilitators.

The workshop sought to strengthen the capacity of each Centre to plan, design and conduct civil society projects, aligning each Centre’s vision and programme with those of PEN International. Key learning foci included: good governance, articulating vision, mapping context and actors, understanding beneficiaries, analyzing impact, and identifying stories of change.

Supplementing the workshop was the Free the Word! Manila, held on 4 July 2018 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. As PEN’s roaming event series of contemporary literature, it seeks to bring writers together across cultures to share experiences and engage in conversations. A forum on free expression, moderated by Philippine PEN Board Member Karina Bolasco, featured Romana Cacchioli (PEN International), Danson Kahyana (PEN Uganda), Apoorvanand Jha (PEN Delhi), Sangamesh Menasinakai (PEN South India), and Tammy Lai Ming Ho (PEN Hong Kong).

Free the Word! poetry and musical performances featured John Iremil Teodoro, Gary Granada, Vijae Alquisola, Carlos Piocos, Genevieve Asenjo, Tammy Lai Ming Ho, Louise Lopez, Yorn Young, Aldrin Pentero, Mitra Bandhu Poudel, Myat Thu Soe, Sangamesh Menasinakai, and Michael Coroza. Genevieve also read the PEN Women’s Manifesto in Kinaray-a language, the mother tongue of the West Visayas region of the Philippines.

The workshop was held in cooperation with Solidaridad Bookshop, De La Salle University Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The main funding agency was the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

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