About ICOA

Ithaca City of Asylum (ICOA) is dedicated to providing sanctuary to writers whose works are suppressed, whose lives are threatened, whose cultures are vanishing, or whose languages are endangered. An all-volunteer project of the Center for Transformative Action, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization affiliated with Cornell University, ICOA works in partnership with Cornell, Ithaca College, and Wells College. ICOA is a member of the International Cities of Refuge Network, joining people around the world advocating for freedom of expression.

Formed in 2001, ICOA has hosted seven residents: writer, poet, and essayist Yi Ping (China); playwright and novelist Reza Daneshvar (Iran); poet and memoirist Sarah Mkhonza (Swaziland); poet and playwright Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia); journalist and memoirist Sonali Samarasinghe (Sri Lanka); journalist and policy analyst Raza Rumi (Pakistan); and editorial cartoonist Pedro X. Molina (Nicaragua).

ICOA serves as a bridge to the community, assisting visiting writers and their families in meeting the challenges of a new environment.

ICOA assists residents in meeting their daily expenses while in Ithaca, including housing, furnishings, transportation, translators’ fees, legal expenses, and performance and publication of new work. We rely on contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Email us for more information.

This documentary about ICOA was produced by Maureen Wietecha, our 2017 intern.

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