The International Poetry Festival of Medellín was founded in 1991 as a way to combat the violence associated with the cartels and the war on drugs, among other human rights violations. Since its founding, the Festival has rapidly grown each year and to date boasts having hosted 750 poets from 131 countries on five continents.
Grants from the Cultures of Resistance Network have supported the Festival since 2008. Since 2011, the CoR Network has supported the participation of individual poets from around the world.
In 2016, the CoR Network supported El Deeb, an Egyptian hip-hop artist and poet.
In 2015, the CoR Network supported Dr. Hanan Awwad, a Palestinian poet and peace activist who was a cultural advisor to Yasser Arafat and a member of the Peace Commission for the Middle East. She founded the Palestinian section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
In 2011, the CoR Network supported Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, a Burmese poet and independent filmmaker whose award-winning documentary Floating Tomatoes explores the disastrous effects of pesticides on Myanmar’s Inle Lake.
In 2012, the CoR Network supported Rashid Boudjedra, an Algerian poet, novelist, and playwright, who has produced internationally acclaimed work in both Arabic and French exploring Muslim culture in Algeria.
In 2013, the CoR Network supported Congolese poet Gabriel Oukoundji, whose collections including Cycle d’un ciel bleu, Au matin de la parole, and Terres d’Afrique have earned him recognition as one of the most important poets writing in French today.
In 2014, the CoR Network supported Oumar Farouk Sesay (from Sierra Leone), whose poetry is a poignant account of his country’s decade-long civil war, and Phiulavanh Luangvanna (from Laos), a poet, editor, teacher, and President of the Writers Association of Laos.
United Way International served as a fiscal sponsor for these grants.