Brussels welcomes the ICORN Network Meeting

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From 22nd to 24th March 2023, the International Cities of Refuge Network’s (ICORN) annual Network Meeting will take place in the City of Brussels during the 2023 Passa Porta Festival.

The gathering brings together more than 250 ICORN participants from around the world. From ICORN writers, artists, journalists, press cartoonists and human rights defenders to political representatives and cultural professionals from over 80 ICORN Cities of Refuge and sister organisations.

With a long-standing commitment as a member of ICORN, the City of Brussels and the Passa Porta International House of Literature, in close partnership with Théâtre National Wallonie-Bruxelles, are generously hosting the 2023 ICORN Network Meeting.

Using the power of music, art, stories, the programme offers a variety of panels, workshops, performances, and political meetings, highlighting issues of migration and mobility, hospitality and solidarity, cultural projects, and activism in exile.

The meeting is held behind closed doors for registered participants. However, the public can participate on three different moments.

Thursday 23 March at 8.30 p.m. at the Théâtre National: At the opening night of the Passa Porta Festival, the writer Mohsin Hamid will give a speech written for the occasion at the invitation of ICORN and Passa Porta. He will then be interviewed by Annelies Beck: *link*

From Monday 21 March at the Brussels Stock Exchange: Cartooning for Peace and the City of Brussels open the event to the outside world and expand into the public space with a press cartoon exhibition which reaffirms the common efforts made by the partners to help cartoonists and other creators who are put in danger because of their work. “All Migrants!” will be on display at the Brussels Stock Exchange from 21st March to 15th April 2023, with works by cartoonists from the Cartooning for Peace network and former ICORN residents Khalid Albaih, Ali Dorani, Pedro X. Molina and Mana Neyestani.

Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March at the House of Compassion: The installation "Toujours l'eau", created by writer Caroline Lamarche and photographer Françoise Deprez, will be visible in the Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage throughout the weekend of the festival. With infinite modesty and respect, the two artists present the results of 8 months of meetings, testimonies and mutual aid after the floods that hit the province of Liège and the Vesdre valley in July 2021.

The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organisation of cities and regions that provides temporary protective residences for writers, artists and journalists facing persecution because of their work. With a mission to advance freedom of expression, defend democratic values and promote international solidarity, ICORN has hosted nearly 300 writers, artists, and journalists in its 80 safe haven cities in Europe and America, allowing them to pursue their work freely for two years.

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Cartooning for Peace was created in 2006 on the initiative of Kofi Annan, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Secretary General of the United Nations, and the cartoonist Plantu. Today presided over by the French cartoonist Kak, it is an international network of 280 cartoonists from over more than 70 countries. Committed to promoting freedom of expression, human rights, and mutual respect between people of different cultures and beliefs through the universal language of press cartoons, Cartooning for Peace also provides support to threatened cartoonists in the world.

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