Report of the Seventh General Conference of
Writers Union of Africa and Asia (AAWU)
El Gouna May 4 to May 7, 2016.
The General Conference of the AAWU opened in El Gouna on the 4th of May 2016 in the presence of his Excellency H.E. Mr. Helmy EL Namnam, Minister of Culture as special representative of President Abdel Fattah El Sissi, as well as the Governor of the Red Sea Governorate, General Ahmed Abdallah.
In the opening session, the Secretary General, Mohamed Salmawy, welcomed the official dignitaries as well as the representatives of the members delegations from Africa and Asia. He explained that during the past 3 years since the Union was revived in 2012, the membership has reached 38 countries from both continents, which now makes AAWU the most important congregation of writers in both continents.
In his speech, the Minister of Culture expressed the President’s sincere wishes of success to the conference of the African Asian Writers Union, which dates back to the mid-fifties when it was founded in the wake of the national liberation movements in the third world.
The objectives of the Union are still valid until today, because they relate to the freedom and liberty of writers.
For his part, the Governor of the Red Sea Governorate said that it was an honor to the Governorate to host such a prestigious meeting and hoped that the Union would hold future meetings on this idyllic Red Sea Resort and assured the members that all facilities for such meetings will be guaranteed.
During the meetings of the General Conference that followed, the Secretary General explained that a number of members could not come for various reasons among which was financial difficulties but have sent official statements of delegation in lieu of their presence. They have also sent us some of their views regarding the points on our agenda. These have been taken into consideration. Secretary General also read out some messages send to the Conference by members who could not come.
General Secretary Report
The Secretary General then presented a detailed report to the Conference covering the activities of the last three years.
He emphasized the following points:
Following the meeting of the Sixth General Conference in Cairo in December 2012, consecutive meetings were held respectively in Hanoi/ Vietnam, Moscow/Russia and Amman/Jordan.
Membership of the Union increased reaching 38 member countries after the inclusion of
- A local chapter of AAWU was successfully opened in 2014 in Islamabad/Pakistan by Mr. Rahat Saeed in the presence of the Secretary General and the chairman of AAPSO, Dr. Helmy El Hadidi.
- The Union’s one time prestigious literary magazine Lotus was revived once again and distributed during the conference. A version in Vietnamese will be published by the Vietnamese Writers Associations and one in Urdu by the Pakistani chapter. A digital online site will soon be launched for the Magazine.
- AAWU has received demands of membership from Latin American countries, notably Colombia and Cuba stating that they share the same ideas and principles of AAWU.
- After due discussions, the Conference endorsed the Secretary General report.
Amendment to Statute
An important point on the agenda of the meeting was the amendments proposed to Statute of the Union. After due discussions, eight amendments were adopted. A new print of the statute will be soon published and sent to all members in its amended version.
- Adoption of full membership to Latin American countries with all necessary amendments in the Statute including the election of a Deputy to the Secretary General.
- Name of the Union will be hence forth the Writers Union of Africa Asia and Latin America
- Replacing preset Advisory Board of Lotus Magazine by an enlarged Editorial Board including seven members from various regions: Senegal, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Colombia, Sudan, Kuwait, and Morocco.
- Endorsement of online version of Lotus Magazine in various languages.
- Endorsement of Lotus prize.
- Delegating the Secretary General to finalize regulations of Lotus Prize
- Round table discussion should issue a Final Declaration representing position of the Union regarding turbulent issues in member countries.
- Accepting Sudan’s proposal to open a local branch of the Union in Khartoum provided it abide by the relevant regulations (to be self-financed and not to overlap with the goals and activities of the National Union).
- Delegating Secretary General to offer facilities for payment of membership fees to members in need as stipulated in Statute Amendment.
- Acceptance of offering Observer Status to western writers or unions sharing goals of the Union against a nominal fee.
At the end of the Conference, members issued a statement expressing their position as regard to main issues relating to the political turbulence throughout the world.
In their statement, the members condemned very strongly all acts of terrorism committed in the name of religion whether by extremist movements or by states and have emphasized the fact that they continue to be at the forefront of fighting for social justice in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As such, members of the General Conference declared their full support for the people of Palestine and condemned the onslaught on the civil population by Israeli aggression.
The General Conference also took position against religious bigotry and communal hatred as well as against religious fundamentalism in countries like Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali, Central Africa, Myanmar and Nigeria and called upon world public opinion to ensure that such terrorist acts made in the name of religion do not expand to the neighboring countries.
The participants have also declared their support for all peaceful settlement of local conflicts with the aim of maintaining stability throughout the land and national security.
Finally, the participants look ahead to the supremacy of freedom, justice and equality between all peoples of the world and stand firm by the countries torn by civil wars and religious conflicts where women and children are slaughtered and innocent people are beheaded in the name of religion. They also stand firm in calling for the release of all prisoners of conscience in all parts of the world.
New elections were held for the governing body resulting in the following
Secretary General Mohamed Salmawy
President Abdoulaye Fode Ndione (Senegal)
First Deputy Secretary General Nguyen Quang Thieu (Vietnam)
Deputy for Africa Hilda Twongyweire (Uganda)
Deputy for Asia Yuk Pathak (Nepal)
Deputy for Latin America Fernando Rendon (Colombia)
Deputy for Coordination Zyad Abu Laban (Jordan)
Human Rights India
Foreign Relations Russia
Membership Affairs Sudan
Financial resources Iraq
Research and studies Oman
Children Literature Kuwait
Cultural Affairs Senegal
Press information Nepal
Published at May 10th, 2016