PEN Català has always held great prestige within the framework of PEN International, and has been considered as one of its most active and influential centres throughout history. Members of PEN Català have held responsibilities in the governing bodies of PEN International and have presided over some of its Committee’s. In fact, Isidor Cònsul, Carles Torner, Josep M. Terricabras and Simona Škrabec have all presided over the Translations and Linguistic Rights Committee. In the last few years, however, PEN Català has been particularly active in the defence of freedom of speech, and, with the incorporation of Raffaella Salierno as the head of the Prosecuted Writers Committee, it has become a reference model for the rest of the PEN centres. A clear example is how the celebration of the International Day of the Prosecuted Writer has gained so much attention from the Catalan media and PEN International, mainly through the organisation of acts of solidarity, protests and the high quality literary content.
In this light, PEN Català was invited to participate in the founding meeting of the International City of Refuge Network, ICORN, held in the Norwegian city of Stavanger in June, 2006. During this first foundational meeting, an advisory committee was created, and Rafaella Salierno was chosen as the representative of PEN Català. From then on, PEN Català began the process of converting Catalonia into a city of refuge in accordance with the resolution by the Catalan Parliament. After the arduous task of finding the necessary financial support to put forth the programme, on the 10th May, 2007, PEN Català hosted its first writer: Salem Zenia, a poet and journalist from the Amazigh culture.
Being one of the most active members in ICORN has also allowed Barcelona, through the PEN Català, along with other cities such as Stavanger, Norwich, Belgium, Stockholm and Frankfort, to take part in the Shahrazad Project, which was part of the 2007-2012 Culture gathering of the European Union. The project was presented in Barcelona, November 2007, as part of the International Day of the Prosecuted Writer, which coincided with PEN Català’s 85th anniversary, bringing a large representation of writers chosen by the Writer Refugee Programme in other cities to Barcelona.