PEN International Fellowship 2018

Mojibur Doftori, PEN Finland’s board member and the chair of its Writers at Risk Committee, was invited as a fellow of PEN International in its Secretariat in London. He spent two months in the international headquarters during May-June 2018.

Doftori’s primary role centred on researching and updating Writers in Prison Committee’s (WiPC) Asia-Pacific case-list, drafting PEN International statements, supporting PEN International’s civil society programme in Asia and contributing to the work of Protection team that works in close collaboration with International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). He also visited English PEN and Scottish PEN centres.

In coordination with the director of programmes, head of Asia-Pacific coordinator and civil society programme of PEN International, Mojibur Doftori assisted Bangladesh PEN’s civil society programme on assessing areas of priorities, setting target groups, exploring education and training-needs for advocacy and media literacy.

From the English PEN the team he learnt about its residency programme, its successful campaigns against Blasphemy and defamatory libel. Mojibur Doftori also learnt about English PEN’s RAN campaign strategies on protecting writers and journalists. Together with Cat Lucas, English PEN’s Writers at Risk programme manager, he participated in English PEN’s protest during Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Downing Street demanding media freedom in Turkey. He also participated in English PEN’s vigil in front of Saudi Embassy in London demanding release of Raif Badawi and other Saudi dissidents.

In Scotland, Mojibur Doftori participated in a Scottish PEN workshop Libraries for Privacy: Digital Security and Privacy in Aberdeen conducted by Nik Williams, acting project manager of Scottish PEN. Together with Nik Williams, he met Ivan McKee, a Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) in the parliament house in Edinburgh. McKee apprised the team about his party’s successful initiative to get official recognition of the Day of Imprisoned Writers by Scottish Parliament.

Mojibur Doftori participated also a seminar on freedom of expression in Turkey held in the House of Commons in London, Bangladesh Summit, a seminar by London School of Economics and participated in the seminar Protection of Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh arranged by Swadhinata Trust, a secular British-Bangladeshi heritage organization, as a panellist. The seminar took place at Whitechapel Idea Store Library in London.

Finnish PEN would like to thank Oskar Öflunds Stiftelse sr (Oskar Öflund Foundation) for their support in making the valuable fellowship possible.

Johanna Sillanpää