On Friday 24 January 2014 the United Nations Society of Writers held its 18th annual salon hosting 61 literature enthusiasts and 12 readers from the UN, UNCTAD, UNHCR, OHCHR, ILO, 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.
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