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Translation & Linguistic Rights

PEN’s Nigeria’s Olúwáfirópò Ewénlá at Port Harcourt Book Festival, 2014

Founded in Stockholm in 1978, the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee believes that all languages and literatures have the right to be written, read and heard, whether spoken by millions of people across the world or by just a few. Through projects, events, publishing and campaigning, this committee encourages readers and writers to explore writing from cultures other than their own. It holds a conference every spring in Barcelona, which gives members of the PEN community the opportunity to share stories and exchange ideas with the goal of continuing to ensure that translation and linguistic rights are always at the heart of PEN International and its work.

In 1996 the committee played a leading in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights, which was eventually adopted by UNESCO. In 2011 the committee drafted the Girona Manifesto for Linguistic Rights, which encapsulates the goals of the Universal Declaration, and summarises the aims of the committee in PEN International’s work to strengthen linguistic rights and translation worldwide. In 2011 the Girona Manifesto for Linguistic Rights was passed by the General Assembly at the 77th PEN International Annual Congress.

The current Chair is Urtzi Urrutikoetxea, who is also Chair of Basque PEN / Euskal PENeko burua.

Respect for all languages and cultures is fundamental to the process of constructing and maintaining dialogue and peace in the world.

The Girona Manifesto on Linguistic Rights