IOM Director General Remarks at 2019 PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival

Published Date: 
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
IOM Director General, Mr. António Vitorino

Director General


Remarks at 2019 PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival

New York, 13 November 2019

Your Excellency, Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, High Representative for the United Alliance of Civilizations,


Ladies and gentlemen,

Filmmakers and young media-makers,

Today, we recognize two powerful forces — youth and film.

Combined, they hold the power to bring about positive change, to shift divisive narratives, to promote peace and dialogue — put simply, to make a better world.

Young people are the future, and for far too long, their voices have been ignored by those in positions of power.

Today, we will watch films — animated, fictional and autobiographical — from filmmakers around the world whose videos underwent months of competitive scrutiny. 

Today, we will listen to them and watch their stories addressing the topics of migration, social inclusion, diversity and the prevention of xenophobia.

So, to all the winners here today, congratulations and thank you.

It is therefore my honor to be with you this morning and to welcome you to the 11th year of the PLURAL+ festival and the 2019 awards ceremony.

For more than a decade, PLURAL+ has sought to relay the diverse stories of young people across the world, empowering them to raise their voices, and cameras, on the critical issues of our time.

IOM partners with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in this effort, working together with a shared commitment to promote the benefits of safe migration and integration of migrants, particularly young migrants.

The world on the move does not exclude youth. 14% percent of the 272 million international migrants in the world are under the age of 20.1 They are migrating for all sorts of reasons; new opportunities, love, career, education, discovering new places and learning about different cultures. Some of them in search of security, improved standards of living, and protection from discrimination and abuse.

For the past 11 years, Plural+ has received over than 3,000 video entries from more than 110 countries. Winning videos have been screened at festivals, in schools and at conferences, as well as streamed online and broadcast on television networks around the world.                                   

Each year we receive more videos, and we reach new countries and communities. Last year we conducted a survey amongst PLURAL+ awardees from past years, and more than half of the participants over the years said they are more aware of cultural diversity, more able to understand other communities and defend them against prejudices and xenophobia. They felt represented, and they felt that their voices are being heard. Overall, they felt empowered, and willing to keep on creating media content to share their migration stories. One of the award winners from PLURAL+2013, Tania Safi, became an award-winning video journalist and producer and is now a member of this year International Jury.

It has been our great pleasure to see this initiative grow, and we look forward to many more years of this successful and well-established partnership.

The videos that we will screen today are evidence of the resilience of young people. These youth filmmakers have not allowed the negative narratives of migration — so popularized in contemporary media — to rob them of their empathy. Their videos show an understanding of their responsibility to capture the full reality of migration.

Last year, I asked the young people of the world to take an active part in the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. One of the guiding principles of that compact is to work to dispel “misleading narratives that generate negative perceptions of migrants.” You have acted toward this goal, and I urge you to continue to act — to continue to make videos that share truth.

Finally, I would like to thank the PLURAL+ 2019 International Jury, a team of eight outstanding media professionals for their time and enthusiasm towards selecting our winners tonight.

And a sincere thanks to our PLURAL+ partners for their ongoing support over the years. Our partnerships are critical to the success of this festival. And finally, I cannot stress enough that all kind of support, from UN, Member States, civil society, and from each and every one of you, has always been and will continue to be important for PLURAL+ to survive and to grow. We count on you!

Please enjoy the ceremony and the videos! Thank you.

Now, I would like to invite Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos back to the floor with me, so we can jointly present the PLURAL+2019 Special Award for the Prevention of Xenophobia. Since 2016, IOM and UNAOC has been selecting every year a video that addresses the issue of xenophobia. And I am happy that I will present this award today with Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos. Please join me!