DG's Statements and Speeches
29 Nov 2018

IOM Director General António Vitorino's Remarks at the Opening of the Global Migration Film Festival 2018

Opening remarks: António Vitorino, Director General, IOM

Migration comprises thousands of stories and where better to share them than through IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival being launched here at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

This extraordinary festival - run on a shoestring – encompasses over 100 countries across the globe. It showcases dramas and documentaries that bring the migrant experience to life.

IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival is unique in that it uses the power of film to highlight the positive attributes and challenges of migration in a world on the move. It features stories from places rarely in the headlines and offers a rich tapestry of action and aspiration.

It is astonishing also to reflect that, around the globe over the coming two weeks and culminating on International Migrants Day 18 December, some 40 movies will be screened in the most extraordinary locales. In Niger, for example, a mobile cinema caravan will crisscross the country showing films - romantically - under the stars. Elsewhere films will be shown in movie theatres and indeed lecture theatres like this one. Wherever they are shown there will be discussion and debate with filmmakers, civil society and government about the most pressing issue of our era – migration.

Strange Daughter - the film you are about to watch is about two people from different worlds overcoming their own and their families’ mistrust of the other's culture as they get to know each other. It addresses very contemporary themes of migrants struggling to integrate and the reality of citizens who feel left behind. It’s a story of our times.

Films like these truly build deeper empathy for migrants and enhance our understanding of their realities, needs, perspectives and capacities.

Thank you and enjoy the show.


Panel discussion:

  • Vincent Chetail, Professor of International Law and Director of the Global Migration Centre, The Graduate Institute, Geneva (moderator)
  • Helga Bras, Adviser to the Director General, IOM
  • Christine Verschuur, Senior Lecturer of Anthropology and Sociology and Director of the Gender and Development Programme, The Graduate Institute, Geneva