To view an essay written for this event by Erminia Passannanti



Ram Devineni, Program Coordinator



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Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry


International Poetry Dialogue at the United Nations and in 150 Cities

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa will join renowned poets Joyce Carol Oates and James Ragan for an evening of “Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry” on Thursday, March 29, 2001 at the United Nations Building in New York City.

In 1998, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2001 as the “United Nations Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations” to foster tolerance, respect and cooperation among peoples. To further this aim, Rattapallax Press together with the United Nations Society of Writers, will present a series of literary programs around the world. A poetry evening at the United Nations is one of over 200 poetry readings in over 100 cities worldwide. Participants include Guild Complex in Chicago, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the 14th Street Y in New York City. Individuals living in the city where the events will be held will coordinate each reading. Several special readings in international territories include 2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition to Mt. Everest, Casey Station in Antarctica, a scientific boat in the West Philippine Sea and possibly, the International Space Station.

These readings will coincide with an international literary conference co-organized by Poetry International—Rotterdam, involving acclaimed Australian poet John Kinsella, co-editor of Stand magazine (U.K.), David H. Lynn, editor of the Kenyon Review (USA) and editors from around the world. In addition, satellite panel discussions are being developed in Calcutta, Tokyo, New York City and Santa Monica to discuss various topics. An anthology featuring the poets and organizers will appear as an eBook by Fictionpolis.com.

On September 5, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, “The United Nations, at its best, can be the true home of the dialogue among civilizations, the forum where such dialogue can flourish and bear fruit in every field of human endeavor.” His Personal Representative for the United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations, Giandomenico Picco, added in his provisional report annexed to the report of the Secretary-General (document A/54/546): “The establishment of the United Nations was intended to provide a paradigm of international relations based on inclusion rather than exclusion. It seems appropriate, therefore, to speak, within the United Nations context, of two sets of civilizations: those that perceive diversity as a threat; and those that perceive diversity as an integral component of growth. The dialogue should be between these two civilizations or set of civilizations.”

For more information about the year, please visit http://www.un.org/Dialogue or for information about the program, please visit http://www.dialoguepoetry.org