UNHCR partners with One World Refugee Film Festival to give refugee stories center stage in 70th-anniversary celebrations

Asha Bajaj
3 min readNov 30, 2020


#UNHCR; #OneWorldRefugeeFilmFestival; #OneWorldArts, #AmnestyInternationalCanada, #CARECanada, #OxfamCanada

OTTAWA, CANADA/Canadian-Media: Starting on 1 December to 14 December 2020, UNHCR will be partnering with One World Arts, Amnesty International Canada, CARE Canada, and Oxfam Canada to co-present this year’s edition of the One World Film Festival (OWFF), a two-week series of virtual screenings featuring thought-provoking documentaries and discussions with film directors and experts.

“As we mark the 70th anniversary of UNHCR on December 14, we want to give center stage to the voices and stories of refugees and displaced persons — and what better way to do so than through the power of film,” said Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR Representative in Canada.

“Though COVID-19 means we will not be hosting a traditional festival, we are excited to partner with One World Arts, other humanitarian responders, filmmakers, and refugees themselves in exploring the power of digital technologies to reach diverse audiences across Canada on one of the most important issues of our time. From the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen to the plight of the Rohingya, the power of music and memory, climate change, and LGBTI+ issues, there is something for everyone in this festival.”

Special presentations by UNHCR are “VOICES FROM SYRIA” and “MEMORY AND THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE,” which will conclude the One World Refugee Film Festival while also marking a special milestone for UNHCR.

“VOICES FROM SYRIA,” which premieres on 1 December 2020, is a curated selection of four documentaries, including Harmony for After War (Pablo Tosco and Migue Roth), Wajd: Songs of Separation (Amar Chebib), A House for the Syrians (Nadine Beaudet and Christian Mathieu Fournier) and The Rest (Ai Weiwei). To kick off the festival on 1 December 2020, a unique conversation with Syrian-Canadian filmmaker Amar Chebib, hosted by Maryam Shah from the Toronto Star, will be live-streamed at 20:00 EST.

“MEMORY AND THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE,” which coincides with the 70th anniversary of UNHCR on 14 December, will showcase three documentaries featuring past and ongoing refugee crises, Memories of Mogadishu (Asha Siad), Memory is Our Homeland (Jonathan Durand), and Yemen: the Silent War (Sufian Abulohom). A special conversation with Polish-Canadian filmmaker Jonathan Durand and Rema Jamous Imseis, UNHCR’s Representative in Canada, hosted by Jim Creskey, founder and publisher of The Hill Times, will be live-streamed at 20:00 EST.

Profits from UNHCR events will go to Matthew House Ottawa, a local shelter helping and supporting refugee claimants.

Film descriptions, information on the programming presented by partners, and additional information about the One World Refugee Film Festival can be found at owrff2020.eventive.org.

Programming by UNHCR is open to the media, and interviews with Rema Jamous Imseis and filmmakers can be made available.


  • At the end of 2019, an unprecedented 79.5 million or 1 percent of humanity — a figure that has almost doubled since 2010, were displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. Syrian and Yemeni nationals continued to be among the largest forcibly displaced populations worldwide.
  • This year marks the 70th anniversary of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. UNHCR was created in 1950, in the aftermath of the Second World War, to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes. Today, 70 years later, UNHCR is still hard at work, protecting and assisting refugees around the world.
  • Founded in 1972, One World Arts is a volunteer-based, charitable organization working to create awareness on world issues. One World Arts’ mission is to work together with Canadian artists and organizations involved in human rights, social justice, and the environment to further public education on issues that concern our global communities.

The post was first published by the UNHCR



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women