The membership agreement under which Gdańsk joins the Interantional Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) was officially signed at the Festival of Arts in Gdańsk. Mayor Paweł Adamowicz and ICORN director Helge Lunde informed the public of the accession of Gdansk into the network at a press conference in the Günter Grass Gallery in Gdansk.
On 30 August 2017, an official agreement was signed on the accession of Gdańsk into the network of over fifty cities, such as Brussels, Frankfurt, Miami, Stockholm, Mexico City, whose activity is one of the strongest voices in defence of freedom of opinion and expression. The Gdansk City Gallery will become the coordinator of Gdańsk membership in the organisation.
Helge Lunde, executive director in ICORN, said about the accession of Gdańsk: More and more cities across the world are taking a stand for human rights and freedom of expression, opening up to become cities of refuge for writers and artists at risk. The values of solidarity, creativity and hospitality have for a long time been an important foundation to the City of Gdansk, and we are tremendously happy to be able to sign the ICORN membership agreement with Gdansk City Gallery on the evening of Wednesday 30 August. A core asset and quality of the ICORN network is exchange of resources, ideas and experiences between the member cities. We are convinced that the City of Gdansk will play vital role within the network, and in the struggle for international solidarity and freedom of expression as such.
ICORN – International Cities of Refuge Network – is an association of cities around the world engaged in defending freedom of expression and writers persecuted on political grounds who are hiding, incarcerated or subject to publication bans in their home countries. Gdańsk is the third Polish city in the network. Krakow was the first one to join in 2011, followed in 2015 by Wrocław, which has recently celebrated the arrival of its first scholarship holder.