World Renowned Film Director Sissako Joins IOM Mauritania For International Migrants Day

International Migrants Day

Nouakchott – On 18 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mauritania commemorated International Migrants’ Day in four transit migration-prone cities simultaneously. Distinguished guests at the Institut Français in Nouakchott included the internationally-acclaimed director of Timbuktu Abderrahmane Sissako, as well as representatives of IOM’s implementing partners, national authorities, migrants and members of the international community.

The evening started in Nouakchott with the screening of three short films – Integration, Yacine and Welcome –produced by local youth aged between 10 and 18 years old.

“Migrants are humans and they have the same rights as we do,” said Fatima, one of the young film makers whose movie was part of the official selection. Fatima took part in a three-week training on filmmaking around the theme Vivre Ensemble (“live together”) funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

Mauritania, situated along the Western Mediterranean Route, is increasingly considered as a transit country for migrants hoping to reach Morocco and Europe. In this context, Sissako’s 2002 drama Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness) was also screened and followed by a debate among the 250 participants.

The film depicts stories of young migrants in Nouadhibou, one of the key transit points along the Western Mediterranean route. Sissako, a migrant himself, engaged the audience in a rich debate around the concepts of exile, homeland, return and reintegration into one’s society.

“These workshops are an innovative way of engaging students in the subject of migration and are part of IOM Mauritania’s broader awareness-raising campaign,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission.

In Sebkha, on the outskirts of Nouakchott, a movie screening and a discussion on migration were also organized with local partners at a cultural youth centre where more than 300 young people were present.

“Mauritanian youth should invest in vocational training and education as well as have confidence in their future in the country,” said the Inspector of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Sebkha.

Aside from Nouakchott, IOM celebrated International Migrants Day in Nema, Selibabi and Nouadhibou – where the organization has sub-offices. Each town hosted a film screening as well as cultural and social activities, with an average of 200 participants among migrants, national authorities and key stakeholders working on migration.

For more information please contact Alexandra Schmitz at IOM Mauritania:

  • Teenagers attended a three-week filmmaking training in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly

  • Teenagers attended a three-week filmmaking training in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly

  • Film Director Sissako celebrated International Migrants Day in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly