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Ex Tempore
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Ex Tempore is the literary journal published annually by the United Nations Society of Writers (UNSW)/ Societé des écrivains des Nations Unies (SENU) in Geneva. The Society of Writers is a registered United Nations Club and reports to the Socio-Cultural Commission of the Conseil de Coordination of the United Nations secretariat in Geneva. As of December 2017 twenty-eight volumes of the journal had been issued. Vol. XXI is devoted to the theme: Music -- the international language. Vol. XXII is devoted to Jean Jacques Rousseau. Vol. XXIII is devoted to Peace. Vol. XXIV is devoted to Swans, the environment, the bicentennials of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, etc. Vol. XXV is the anniversary issue with 184 pages and the wonderful speech given by Daniel de Roulet at the UN Library during the celebration "25 years UN writers" held on 14 October 2014. Volumes XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII have all been issued, each number replete with talent.

Besides the UN library, Bibliothèque de la Cité, Bibliothèque nationale suisse, Walliser Mediathek, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Biblioteca Nacional de España, Library of Congress, etc. we have added another library to house the complete 24-volume series -- the Depositary Library of the Max Planck Institute for Public International Law in Heidelberg.

The society of writers was founded on Friday, 14 August 1989 by Sergio Chaves (Argentina, 1931-2015+), 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 2013) and Marko Stanovic (since 2013) have served in this function.

At the General Assembly held on 19 December 2017 at the Palais Wilson the new board was composed as follows:

President: Marko Stanovic
Vice-President: Carla Edelenbos
Secretary: Amos Taporaie
Treasurer: Ivaylo Petrov

Editor in-chief: Alfred de Zayas

the Board in 2016


The Board is pleased to announce the publication of Vol. XXVIII (2017). For the journalís number XXIX (2018), 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 100.855.0.


On 26 January 2018 the 22nd Ex Tempore salon was held, with some 60 in the audience and 15 readers.

On 20 January 2017 the 21st Ex Tempore Salon took placed, with 54 in the audienced and 17 readers.

On 22 January 2016 the 20th Ex Tempore salon was held with the paticipation of 19 poets and essayists and 80 persons in the audience.

On 23 January 2015 the United Nations Society of Writers is holding its 19th annual literary evening. See Invitation.

On 14 October 2014 the United Nations Library invited to a "library event" to celebrate 25 years of UN writers for peace. Daniel de Roulet was our keynote speaker.

On 14 August 2014 at the UN Press Bar seventeen UNSW members celebrated the founding of Ex Tempore on 14 August 1989.

On Friday 24 January 2014 the United Nations Society of Writers held its 18th annual salon hosting 61 literature enthusiasts and 17 readers from the UN, UNCTAD, UNHCR, OHCHR, ILO, CERN, WHO, PEN Club and the Société Vaudoise des Ecrivains.  Participants declamed poetry and epigrams in Arabic, English, French, German, Latin, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.  Aline Dedeyan performed her funny sketch "tax evasion".  We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the American poet William Stafford, and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, who was not only a superlative composer, conductor and orchestrator but a widely read intellectual with high literary sensitivity and judgment, who used the best writers of the day as his librettists, including Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Stefan Zweig, and put to music poems by Hermann Hesse and Joseph von Eichendorff.   Several of our amateur poets paid tribute to Nelson Mandela and the multiple links between joie de vivre, diversity, pluralism, freedom of opinion, literature, culture, mutual respect and peace. 

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 Nahajlo.

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..."

On 22 January 2010 Carla and I hosted the traditional Ex Tempore literary soirée. 73 people showed up, 14 performed -- poems, short stories, essays and, of course, Aline Dedeyan's sketch, which this time she did together with Sébastien 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 annual salon. Aline Dedeyan's sketch was a resounding success.

On Friday, 19 January 2007, "Ex Tempore" held 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 Longfellow (Evangeline)

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.

For more photos click here

Press reviews:

Les internationaux 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.

Dixieme soireee litteraire de las Societe des Ecrivains. UN Special, April 2006

Scat: Le recital de poesie, 18 mai 2006 UN Special June 2006, pp. 19-21.

Chez 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.

Latest Ex Tempore XXVIII


Ex Tempore XXVII


Ex Tempore 26

Ex Tempore 25 http://www.extempore.ch/attachments/-01_extempore25newpdf.pdf

Ex Tempore XXIV - dedicated to that inhabitant of our lakes and our imagination -- the swan

Latest Ex Tempore XXIII - dedicated to peace

Ex Tempore XXII -- dedicated to Jean-Jacques Rousseau -- 168 pages with contributions in Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese.


Ex Tempore XXI: 104 pages with contributions in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swahili and Vietnamese.

Ex Tempore XX : 160 pages with contributions in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Ex Tempore volume XIX (December, 2008)

Ex Tempore volume XVIII (December 2007)

Ex Tempore volume XVII (December, 2006)

Ex Tempore volume XVI (December, 2005)

Ex Tempore volume XV (2004)


Ex Tempore vol. XV.

Click on icon for download - but be prepared, 1.2MB (word only)!

Ex Tempore volume XIII (2002)
Ex Tempore vol. XIII
Devoted to Peace and anti-war literature. Full text coming soon.

Table of contents


Ex Tempore volume XIV (2003)
Ex Tempore vol. XIV
This is the first full text Ex Tempore that I make available. It is the pre-publication version that excludes texts in Arabic, Chinese and Russian (my Word does not support those scripts).

Click on icon for download - but be prepared, 1.6MB (pdf only)!

Table of contents

Ex Tempore volume XI (2000)
Ex Tempore vol. XI
The Millenium issue - full text coming soon.

Table of contents


Ex Tempore volume XII (2001)
Ex Tempore vol. XII
Highlighting the Saleve mountain in France. Full text coming soon.

Table of contents

Click on icon for download - but be prepared, 0.2MB (Word only)!


Ex Tempore volume IX (1998)
Ex Tempore vol. IX
The Millenium issue - full text coming soon.

Table of contents

Highlighting the Saleve mountain in France. Full text coming soon.


Ex Tempore volume X (1999)
Ex Tempore vol. X
Tenth year jubilee issue - full text coming soon.

Table of contents

The Millenium issue - full text coming soon.

Ex Tempore volume VII (1996)
Ex Tempore vol. VII
Full text coming soon.

Table of contents

Ex Tempore volume VIII (1997)
EIx Tempore vol. VI
Full text coming soon.

Table of contents


Ex Tempore volume V (1994)
Ex Tempore vol. V
Full text coming soon.

UN: our second family (English)

UN: our second family (Russian)

Ex Tempore volume VI (1995)

Full text coming soon.

Table of contents

Ex Tempore volume III (1992)

Ex Tempore volume IV (1993)
Full text coming soon.

Table of contents

Ex Tempore volume I (1989)

Ex Tempore volume II (1991)


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