“Migration should happen out of aspiration, not desperation”

Politicization, human trafficking, and ill-treatment are the key challenges in the migration sector locally and globally. Information sharing with the challenges, opportunities of migration can minimize the gaps.

Guests attending the Global Migration Film Festival in Dhaka said this at the inaugural session of the festival. They also said migration should happen out of aspiration, not desperation.

IOM Bangladesh with the support of the European Union in association with Dhaka University Film Society organized the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) at RC Majumdar Arts Auditorium, University of Dhaka on 2 December, Monday.

Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) in Dhaka featured 15 films that capture the promise and challenges of migration and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. The objective of the GMFF is to use films as educational tools that influence perceptions of and attitudes towards migrants, by bringing attention to social issues and creating safe spaces for respectful debate and interaction.

Policymakers, government representatives, students, academicians, researchers, prominent filmmakers, prominent actors and actresses, development partners, UN agencies joined the festival.

The migration nexus of Bangladesh has always been very dynamic. In Bangladesh, approximately 0.73 million workers migrated to different countries in 2018 and around 12 million Bangladeshi nationals are employed.

There are a lot of challenges of opportunities in the migration arena. The Global Migration Film Festival showcases films that capture the promise and challenges of migration.

Giorgi Gigauri, Chief of Mission, IOM Bangladesh, said, “Films have the power to show different facets of life, which can in turn help viewers to cultivate deeper empathy for migrants and a better understanding of their realities, needs, perspectives, and capacities. We need to acknowledge the contributions of migrants to their communities. Moreover, the challenges and opportunities should be addressed properly.”

Dr. Delwar Hossain, Professor, International Relations, University of Dhaka, said,There are three types of challenges of migration. The issue of migration is very politicized.

Furthermore, unsafe migration results in human trafficking. Most importantly, Ill-treatment of migrants makes them vulnerable.

We need to address these issues with a holistic approach. It requires local, national, and global consorted effort. Having challenges and opportunities visible is the key to address the issues of migration. This festival in Bangladesh is a great initiative that visualize the challenges and opportunities of migration.”

Over the years, films have been used to inform, entertain, educate and provoke debate. It is in this spirit that IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) in 2016. This year, over 600 films have been submitted for acceptance by the Festival. Prominent and award-winning filmmakers and visual artists as a jury board have selected 30 films to screen in more than 100 countries around the world. 15 Films were screened in Dhaka during the festival.

H.E. Rensje Teerink, Ambassador, European Union to Bangladesh, said,There are many positive sides of migration, such as migrant’s economic contribution to their community.

However, there are challenging sides as well. Migration should happen out of aspiration, not desperation. Awareness is the key to informed migration. The Global Migration Film Festival is a great effort to showcase the challenges and opportunities through visuals. It will help to increase the awareness of migration.”

Cinema and migration have a magical bond stretching back over a century ago when filmmakers, many of whom were immigrants themselves, began making movies that depicted a world on the move. Their films brought the dramatic, poignant and comic stories of migrants.

Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique, Professor, Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka, said,Migration is a big issue for Bangladesh now. In recent times, we have seen some disappointing stories of our women migrants who are returning from abroad. We have many things to do. We need to be human and humble to deal with the challenges of migration. People need detailed information for regular migration. This Film festival in Bangladesh raises awareness and shares the challenges and opportunities of migration through visuals which is very important.”

Film Director N. Rashed Chowdhury said, “Migrants feel depressed for leaving behind their own culture and ethnicity. Moreover, their emotions, love is neglected. I think film is the best tool to show their emotion, reality, and challenges empathically. And, new films makers should emphasis more on migration.”

The festival included another session in the evening where D.r Murad Hasan (M.P) State Minister of Information, Bangladesh Government, Emrah Guler, Deputy Chief of Mission, IOM Bangladesh, Dr. Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan Professor, Television, Film and Photography Department, University of Dhaka, Actor Fazlur Rahman Babu, Journalist Munni Saha, Shariful Hasan, Head of Migration Program, BRAC, Sadat Hossain, Film Maker and Writer talked about the festival.

The festival started at 09:00 AM and came to an end at 09:00 PM. Hundreds of people joined the day-long festival and enjoyed the films.

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