In commemoration of International Migrants Day on 18 December 2017 in New York, IOM will co-host a series of UN TOGETHER branded events focused on the crucial role of the arts and technology in creating understanding and dialogue about migration. Among these events will be:

A screening for the Global Migration FilmFestival of an Academy Award-nominated film from Greece Amerika Square, and Sea Sorrow by Vanessa Redgrave, to be attended by IOM Director General William Swing and the Executive Director of UNICEF, as well as many migrant voices.

The critically acclaimed art installation UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage, in which a Syrian artist & architect have created three-dimensional artwork of attacks on homes and workplaces which cause refugees to take flight. This display will include a virtual reality visualization in UN languages of the exhibition and the stories behind it.

The TOGETHER mobile app and a podcast series to share stories and actions of those supporting the 2016 TOGETHER initiative to promote positive perceptions of migrants and refugees and to challenge the prevailing negative narratives in politics and media which can lead to xenophobia and discrimination.

The Second Global Migration Film Festival will open on 5 December and culminate on 18 December 2017, International Migrants Day. The Festival showcases films that capture the promise and migration and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities.

Professional and emerging filmmakers were invited to submit original films under the theme: the promise and challenges of migration and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities.

This year, the Festival will present more than 30 films in over 100 countries. To learn more about how you can participate, click here. These are some of the participating films:

2 Girls 
Marco Speroni (Italy)

The Lucky Specials
Rea Rangaka (South Africa)

Lost in Lebanon
Georgia and Sofia Scott (UK)


© Mohamad Hafez and Ahmed Badr

© Mohamad Hafez and Ahmed Badr

On July 25th, 2006, in the middle of the night, Ahmed Badr's house in Baghdad was bombed. He was 7 years old, the missile tore the house in half, going through three natural gas canisters which his family had emptied out two days before...

On October 28th, 2014, Mohamad Hafez' sister left her house in Damascus and decided to find a new future for herself and her husband. In the middle of the night, they travelled through the Mediterranean on a rubber raft with 50 people. That day, when they arrived, they became refugees in Sweden...

Ahmed, an Iraqi-born writer and former refugee, and Mohamad, an architect and artist from Syria now live in the US. Together, they've created UNPACKED: refugee baggage.

UNPACKED is an art installation that showcases testimonies of refugees resettled in the US. These testimonies tell their struggles and triumphs using suitcases; a testament to their resilience and powerful journeys.

The exhibition also inspires viewers to redefine and expand the meaning of the word refugee.


Respect, Safety and Dignity for All

The UN's TOGETHER campaign was launched in September 2016 to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. It aims to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination through various projects in all UN Member States. Two of these global projects are the TOGETHER podcast and mobile app.

TOGETHER: Personal Stories of Migrants and Refugees

In its first season, the TOGETHER podcast shows a collection of interviews with young migrants and refugees in the US, with the aim to humanize the labels that have become ubiquitous in our everyday language: migrant, refugee, foreigner, Muslim, etc.
In the future, its creators hope to expand the podcast to share stories from migrants all over the world.

Why a podcast?

Host, Ahmed Badr, puts it simply: “[podcasts] offer a different kind of entertainment, very powerful, yet casual”. “This project is the first time that I intimately collaborate with other people to tell my story."

Listen: TOGETHER podcast first episode


IOM has developed a mobile app which taps the disruptive power of social media to stand up against anti-migrant xenophobia.

The TOGETHER app, currently in beta testing, will facilitate civil society organization (CSO) participation in the TOGETHER initiative. It will be launched in NY on International Migrants Day, 18 December 2017.

Designed around the needs of CSOs, UN Agencies and others to advocate and organize fundraising, it seamlessly folds individual campaigns onto a global platform. The App builds on the success of the crowdsourced ‘i am a migrant' campaign, which promotes diversity and inclusion of migrants in society.

The App enables easy sharing of personal testimonies of migration, tolerance and diversity. It also enables CSOs to build a wider support base by highlighting the countless positive activities and actions that are taken in support of migrants.

It will give a powerful voice to the silent majority in our societies who, survey after survey reveals, value diversity and recognize the key role of migration in our civilization.