New York – On Thursday (09/11) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) celebrated young filmmakers from around the world at the 2017 PLURAL+ International Youth Video Festival and Awards at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

PLURAL+ awards ceremony

Ambassador William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, described the PLURAL+ winners, in his opening remarks, as “powerful agents with great potential to address toxic migrants’ narrative in which migrants are seen often in a negative light.” He further elaborated that “[…] through PLURAL+, UNAOC and IOM sought to help to empower youth to deal with the challenges and the opportunities relative to migration through embracing diversity and social inclusion.”

H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Mentioned on his opening remarks that “the short videos (PLURAL+ award winners) have created and produced (…) aim at promoting tolerance, understanding and acceptance in their communities at large. In today’s world, we face the challenge of the growing fear of the “other”. Fear breeds exclusion and polarization. But we can do better. These young people show us the way.”

The ceremony began with the screening of the PLURAL+2017 International Jury Awards Ceremony. The three videos focused on combatting hate speech (Eliminate Hate, Eliminate Borders, Mexico), the need to respect human rights regardless of gender (Aibek, Kazakhstan), and the importance of diversity (Child of All Nations, Indonesia).

This year, UNAOC and IOM presented for the first time, the Prevention of Xenophobia Award to The True Impact (Nepal) which provided an insight on the negative impacts of violence on humanity. These four videos were chosen for the top PLURAL+ prize from 320 videos from 67 countries worldwide.

PLURAL+ aims to foster dialogue, partnership and action on critical issues and opportunities faced by youth worldwide. The festival recognizes youth as powerful agents of social change, and supports cooperative efforts to reduce tension in a world too often characterized by conflict and division. The winning videos focus on migration, diversity, social inclusion and prevention of xenophobia. Since its launch in 2009, PLURAL+ has received nearly 1,500 video submissions from around the world.

This year, the awards ceremony was hosted by Ahmed Badr, a young writer, poet, social entrepreneur and former refugee from Iraq.
PLURAL+ partners including the “I am a migrant” campaign, TOGETHER initiative, and UN Video contributed to the success of the festival. Alison Smale, the Under Secretary-General for Global Communication presented the recipients of the TOGETHER initiative and UN Video awards.
Commending the PLURAL+ videos, Smale stated that “Movies, more than words and speeches, are capable of shaking people’s consciousness.” Addressing the young media makers, she mentioned that “No generation than your generation would seem better placed to tell stories through films” given the rise of technology literacy in the world of today, and as young people “are more aware of how videos can successfully engage audience.”

Now that the winners have been announced, the videos will be distributed world-wide and in multi-platforms. You can watch all the 2017 winning videos on the PLURAL+ website: www.pluralplus.org.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UNAOC High Representative, closed the ceremony by encouraging young media makers to continue addressing issues on the UN agenda related to migration, diversity and prevention of xenophobia in their films.

On Friday (10 November), three panel discussions with PLURAL+ winners, all under the age of 25, in partnership with UNICEF/Voices of Youth and the Ghetto Film School were convened at the Paley Center for Media in New York. Young media makers from countries such as Poland, Spain, USA, Mexico, Indonesia, Portugal, Brazil and Nepal discussed migration, diversity, and social inclusion. You can see the program here.

You can watch all 29 PLURAL+ 2017 award winning videos here, or watch the UN Television webcast of the awards ceremony here.

Please direct further media requests and questions to the PLURAL+ team, Email: plural@unaoc.org.

For more information, please contact Jordi Torrent, UNAOC, Tel: +1 (929) 274 6217, Email: jordit@unops.org and/or Rahma Gamil Soliman, IOM New York, Tel: +1 (212) 681 7000, Email: rsoliman@iom.int.