The ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) is an international network of cities and regions that promote freedom of expression and provide shelter to persecuted writers, who are due to their work and expression subjected to various pressures in their environments.
The ICORN began to operate on the initiative of Salman Rushdie in 1994. The chosen city provides living and creating conditions to a creator. 70 cities are involved, from 2011 onward also Ljubljana that has entered into ICORN in the time of the World Book Capital in 2010. The shelter may be given to poets, writers, journalists, bloggers, illustrators, comic-book makers, translators and since the General Assembly of ICORN conference in Ljubljana in 2014 also to visual artists, directors and musicians.
The Ljubljana City Library cooperates with the Ljubljana City Municipality and the Slovenian PEN, who take care of the arrival of the creator to Ljubljana, offer scholarship and basic healthcare as well as provide engagement in the public and cultural life of Ljubljana.
Jasmina Rihar, a member of the ICORN international committee:
“ICORN offers long-term temporary residence to persecuted writers and artists, so that they may write and create without fear or at least with less fear. Writers and artists are often the first targets of persecution as they are usually the first, who become vocal when freedom of speech is endangered and human rights are systematically violated. Today’s situation in the world is not enviable and in many countries writers and artists are being tortured, imprisoned, and also executed. We should emphasise that ICORN is not a refugee organization, but an artistic humanitarian platform that emphasises freedom of expression.
Tatjana Pristolič, the coordinator of ICORN in the Ljubljana City Library:
“By entering the ICORN Ljubljana as a city of literature has joined international endeavours for active resolving of pressing issues in literature. The rights to free speech, creativity, and expression of various opinions are nowadays pressing issues that can jeopardise people’s free existence in many places of the world. It is the task of the network and our common task to ensure that the artists’ voices be heard and become of interest to society, media and people of the free world.”