Jordan Celebrates Diversity through ‘I Am A Migrant’

Posted: 
09/28/18
Themes: 
Diversity and Integration

Amman – Jordan’s capital, Amman, has in the past 15 years witnessed a booming population growth. Beginning with the Iraq war in 2003 and ending with the Syria Crisis, the city has quickly evolved into a Middle Eastern melting pot as internal migrants from rural areas and other cities live together with Ammanis, and migrants and refugees of diverse origins.

Amman’s population has since 2010 risen sharply from 2,816,200 to 4,226,700 in 2017, based on numbers provided by the Department of Statistics of Jordan.

This diversity was well reflected in the audience attending the 30th edition of the European Film Festival, an annual event that attracts cinema lovers. In this context, and to capture the diversity of Amman and its migrants, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) Mission in Jordan seized the opportunity of the festival to place a public booth and connect with migrants through the “I Am A Migrant” campaign (IAAM). This campaign launched by IOM three years ago seeks to challenge negative perceptions on migration through stories narrated by migrants.

During the festival, IOM staff volunteered to raise awareness on migration, and engaged participants approaching IOM’s booth, inviting them to participate in the IAAM campaign by sharing their migration story.

“Many people we are talking to believe that migrants are only the ones that leave their countries because of a crisis or due to economic reasons,” said Yasmeen, an IOM staff volunteering during the festival. “Even I had a very different idea of what is a migrant before I started working with IOM.”

The key success of the IAAM campaign has been built upon its ability to portray the different backgrounds of migrants and the variety of reasons that encourage a person to migrate. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the personal perception of migration and the stereotypes that impact on our self-definition as migrants.

“My brother and I study in the United States of America,” says Aisha, a young political science student. “I am happy to learn about this I Am A Migrant initiative in Jordan. I think is a great idea.”

Photos and stories of migrants visiting IOM’s booth were printed and posted around the venue. Even attendees who haven’t migrated yet wanted to contribute and to show their support to the diverse society they live in.

IOM’s booth and active discussions with the film festival attendees also served to inform the public about the mandate and activities of the Organization and the mission in Jordan.

“I have realized that some people didn’t know what we do or had bad impressions of the work of the UN agencies in Jordan,” says Nirmeen, an IOM staff member from the logistics department. “I think this is a good opportunity to explain to them our activities and goals and to change their perceptions of our work.”

Apart from the IAAM booth, IOM also facilitated a session on the participatory video initiative launched worldwide to give voice to migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees.

Through this collaboration with the EU Delegation in Jordan and the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), IOM expects to contribute to the promotion among Jordanians of a positive and realistic perception of migrants and migration.

For more information please contact Laura Sisniega Crespo at IOM Amman, Tel: +962 6 5625080 (Ext. 1502), Mobile: +962 79 7048167, Email: lsisniegacrespo@iom.int

  • IOM Jordan’s IAAM booth at the 30th European Film Festival in Amman. Photo: IOM