Istanbul: the city of many faces


Institutional Communication Service

29 November 2018

The Turkish writer, journalist and lawyer Burhan Sönmez will be the guest of a conference organised by Centro PEN della Svizzera Italiana e retoromancia and Università della Svizzera italiana, that will be held on Monday, December 3 at 6 pm in room A21, Lugano campus.   

The event will feature, among other guests, USI’s Dr. Federica Frediani from the Middle East Mediterranean Freethinking Platform, Prof. Federica De Rossa from the Law Institute, and Prof. Jean Patrick Villeneuve from the Institute of Public Communication. According to Maria Emilia Arioli, President of the Centro PEN della Svizzera italiana e retoromancia: "Thanks to his testimony it will be possible to reflect on the Turkish capital: built at the intersection of two seas and two continents, Istanbul had been the imperial capital for sixteen centuries, the passageway or the home of people, yearned for by all powers and never totally subjugated. It is a city capable of condensing the human condition to the highest degree, a source of literary inspiration and creativity”.

As a lawyer specialising in human rights, a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association IHD and a journalist, Burhan Sönmez deals with cultural and social policy issues in various newspapers and magazines. He is also one of the founders of TAKSAV, the Foundation for Social Research, Culture and Art. A member of PEN Turkey and PEN England, he has been a full member of the International Committee of PEN International in London since October 2018. He has received numerous literary awards, including the "Disturbing the Peace" award from the Vaclav Havel Library Foundation in New York in 2017 and the EBRD Literary Award in London in 2018. His stories have been translated and published in over 30 countries ("Gli Innocenti" and "Istanbul Istanbul" have been published also in Italian).