The society of writers was founded
on Friday, 14 August 1989 by Sergio Chaves (Argentina), Leonor
Sampaio (Brazil)and Alfred
de Zayas (USA).
Over a capuccino (renversé)
at the art-deco Press Bar of the Palais des Nations, Alfred suggested
naming the proposed journal "Ex Tempore", since staff contributions
should be crisp, uncomplicated, impromptu, and as far away as possible
from the stale UN jargon of resolutions and reports.
We wanted to prove that we could write
literature - not just bureaucratic pseudo-intellectual stuff. The most
boring part of our endeavour was the drafting and amending the statutes,
and getting our own issn number: ISSN 1020-6604.
Beyond that we wanted to emulate UNESCO's mandate
to reach out and contribute to a culture of peace through literature.
Indeed, as the UNESCO constitution says: "Since
wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the
defenses of peace must be constructed.”
After 15 years as president of the
UN Society of Writers, I announced at the General Assembly on 15
December 2005 that I would gladly retire and leave my post to the
younger and more enthusiastic colleagues. Since my departure as
president Karin Kaminker (2006-2008) and David Winch (2008 to present)
have served in this function.
At the General Assembly held on 12 October
2012 the following colleagues were elected:
President: David Winch
Vice-President: Carla Edelenbos
Secretary: Ngozi Ibekwe
Treasurer: Ivaylo Petrov
Editor in-chief: Alfred de Zayas
The Board is pleased to announce the
Vol. XXIII (2012).
For the journalís
number XXIV (2013), the
Editorial Board invites literary efforts of general interest, short
stories, science fiction, humour, poems or aphorisms in any of the
UN official languages, or in other languages, together with a translation.
Membership is open to active and retired
staff of the United Nations, specialized agencies, CERN, Permanent Missions
and Observer Missions, inter-governmental organisations, NGOís and the
press corps. We invite you to subscribe to Ex Tempore and support
the Society of Writers of the UN Staff Socio-Cultural Commission. The
membership fee is SFr. 40.ó per year. Please send your generous donations
directly to Ex Temporeís account with the Union de Banque Suisse,
branch office at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, account No. 279-CA
25 January 2013 -- 17th annual Ex Tempore evening. We celebrated Robert
Burns' 254th birthday! In spite of the icy roads, 65 persons showed
up and 15 performed, including Aline Dedeyan, whose sketch was very
original and a pure delight -- and her two male companions were worthy
of West End. We borrowed the electronic piano from the Church and the
mood was upbeat, with the audience joining in the singing and clapping.
On Thursday 28 July 2012 We celebrated Jean Jacques Rousseau's 300th
birthday at the Bar Escargot in the Palais des Nations. We lectured
on the Reveries and the Contrat Social. Here with David Winch and Bohdan
On Friday 20 January 2012 I hosted the 16th annual Salon. Because
of inclement weather, only 47 participants came, but the quality was
superb -- English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Vietnamese. We dedicated
it to the 300th anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and
of Frederic the Great -- both of them great thinkers, authors and musicians.
I launched the evening with readings from Rousseau's confessions.
On 21 January 2011 the 15th annual Salon Ex Tempore was held. 63 UN
staffers and members of the P.E.N. Centre Suisse romand assembled in
the traditional salon to indulge
in multi-lingual literature and music-making. This time, thanks to
Connie Ouko from WHO, we added Swahili to the languages spoken and
sung. See UN Special February 2011, page 10: "Le Numéro XXI d'Ex Tempore
est Tiré; il faut le lire..."
January 2010 Carla and I hosted the traditional Ex Tempore literary
73 people showed up, 14 performed -- poems, short stories, essays and,
of course, Aline Dedeyan's sketch, which this time she did together
Vernay of the service du prêt
of the Bibliothèque des Nations Unies. It was a lot of fun.
Another highlight of the evening was the singing -- yes, Connie, a
colleague from WHO performed her own songs, thus demonstrating in a
very immediate and contagious way the link between literature and music
-- we also played her new CD with her poems. Who said UN staffers didn't
have creative talent? We had languages galore: English, French, German,
Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Vietnamese... and we announced that the next
issue of the Ex Tempore will be devoted to the general theme: "Music,
the international language". Besides the usual UN crowd, we had
guests from the Geneva Art Club, the Geneva Writers Group, the Société genevoise
des Ecrivains and P.E.N. Suisse romand. Here I am launching the evening:
on 14 August 2009 we celebrated the 20th Anniversary
of the founding of the United Nations Society of Writers with poetry
-- and champagne.
Jacqueline Simon, Irina Gerassimova and Aline Dedeyan
at the garden party.
David Lewis reading his poem "here and there"
On Friday, 23 January 2009, Ex Tempore held its 13th annual
salon. We celebrated the 250th anniversary of the birth
of Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1905).
On Friday, 24 January 2008,
Ex Tempore held its 12th annial salon. Aline Dedeyan's sketch was
a resounding success.
Friday, 19 January 2007, "Ex
its 11th annual salon at my home. 63 Poets and essayists from
the United Nations Office in Geneva, some of them members of
PEN International read their oeuvres in English, French,
German, Spanish, Russian -- even Arabic, Vietnamese and Dutch.
We celebrated the centennial of the birth of Samuel Beckett
and the bicentennial of the birth of Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
whose "Sonnets from the Portuguese" seduced
not just her husband Robert Browning!. In 2007 we celebrated Daphne
du Maurier (Rebecca, the Birds) and Henry Wadsworth
On Thursday, 18 May 2006 Ex Tempore
hosted a lunchtime music-and-poetry event in the Cinema Room at the
Palais des Nations. Thanks to the organization and charm of Karin
Kaminker and Alex Ezana, it was a resounding success. Below is
a photo of some of the participants, courtesy of one of our members
Vatsala Virdee from UNHCR (at the extreme left). I am the last
person on the right, next to Karin.
photos click here
lancent un Salon littéraire, Tribune de Genève,
9 avril 1997
Le cercle de poètes
qui libère les Onusiens, Tribune de Genève,
12 février 2004
Les onusiens et la littérature.
UN Special, February 2005.
soireee litteraire de las Societe des Ecrivains. UN Special,
recital de poesie, 18 mai 2006 UN Special June 2006, pp.
Alfred de Zayas: Fête de la Genève Internationale.
Diva International, 2006 Nr. 2.
Ex Tempore- Nouveau Numéro et Soirée Littéraire.
UN Special, Avril 2008, p. 33.
Tempore XXIII - dedicated to peace
Tempore XXII -- dedicated to Jean-Jacques
Rousseau -- 168 pages with contributions in Arabic, Chinese, Czech,
Dutch, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese.
Tempore XXI: 104 pages with contributions
in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swahili
160 pages with contributions in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Esperanto,
French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Tempore volume XIX (December, 2008)
Tempore volume XVIII (December 2007)
Tempore volume XVII (December, 2006)
Tempore volume XVI (December, 2005)
Ex Tempore volume XV
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