One World Arts (formerly World-Inter Action Mondiale) has collaborated with many non-governmental, not-for-profit and grassroots organizations over the years to bring awareness to global issues. One of our longest running partnerships has been with Oxfam Canada, the Canadian branch of a world renowned development organization dedicated to fighting global poverty.
The struggle against poverty and injustice in developing countries is ever present. Oxfam believes that solutions to this problem can be achieved by working with the people themselves to bring about change. To achieve this Oxfam works tirelessly in more than 90 countries to foster global partnerships while empowering people and inspiring them to work collectively so that their efforts can be more effective. Among Oxfam’s many endeavours is the their focus on pressing for and ensuring better living conditions for the impoverished and advancing the rights of women and girls.
For over two decades, we have been collaborating with Oxfam Canada to raise awareness on global issues and connect audiences with opportunities to learn more about and take action on those issues at the One World Film Festival. Oxfam Canada has partnered with us to present screenings of thought-provoking documentaries and talks since the early days of the festival. At the 2nd annual One World Film Festival in 1990, Oxfam Canada co-presented Vancouver filmmaker Marianne Kaplan’s documentary Songololo: Voices and Change. The award-winning documentary profiled two popular South African performers, Mzwakhe Mbuli and Gcina Mhlope, who have transformed the traditional cultural form of African praise poetry and storytelling to affirm and renew Black South African culture as well as address contemporary issues. Gcina Mhlope delighted festival goers with a performance of her works following the film.
In 2014, Oxfam Canada’s Humanitarian Program Officer Hasnat Ahsan moderated a panel discussion with John Wall, Chair of the Jane Goodall Institute, and Eric Schiller, President of Canadians for Human Rights in the Congo, following a screening of VIRUNGA. The Oscar nominated documentary, directed by filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, explores the conservation work of park rangers who, during the rise of conflict, threats of poaching and oil exploration, are fighting to protect the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, home of the world’s last mountain gorillas.
Oxfam Canada facilitated a workshop on the Syrian Refugee Crisis at the 26th annual One World Film Festival’s “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” day of free screenings, talks and interactive workshops oriented toward getting people involved in taking action on urgent global issues. The workshop featured clips of interviews with Syrians living as refugees Lebanon and Jordan such as Noor, a 30 year old woman who fled with her disabled husband and two children.
In 2016 Oxfam Canada co-presented the Canadian Premiere of AFTER SPRING, a documentary following refugees families living in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, the largest refugee camp for Syrians in the world.
Oxfam Canada’s Melanie Gallant (head of Media Relations), along with Johannes van der Klaauw (UNHCR Representative in Canada), Professor Peter Showler (University of Ottawa) and Syrian human rights activist Muzna Dureid participated in panel dicussion on the Syrian Refugee Crisis, moderated by One World Arts’ Gerald Schmitz, following the screening. The panelists provided much needed insight into how the conflict evolved into a refugee crisis that has displaced millions of Syrians and how organizations, agencies and governments has responded to the crisis. In particular, Muzna Dureid, whose participation in the panel was facilitated by Oxfam Canada, provided invaluable firsthand perspectives on the conflict and crisis to the discussion.
Stories From the Syrian Refugee Crisis with Oxfam Canada and UNHCR Canada, September 30th 2016
Recently, Oxfam Canada partnered with Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival – North America’s largest documentary film festival – to present two powerful films on important issues facing women and girls in Canada and around the world: A BETTER MAN and SUNDAY BEAUTY QUEEN. A Better Man follows filmmaker Attiya Khan, a survivor of domestic abuse, as she meets with her former abuser to see if he can take responsibility for his actions. Sunday Beauty Queen follows the journey of five Filipino women working in Hong Kong who are competing in a pageant. The film serves as a voice for the 190,000 Filipinos working in that country. Referring to this collaborative effort Julie Delahanty, Executive Director for Oxfam Canada, noted that:
“Documentary film is a powerful tool to create social change by compelling us all to engage in important – yet sometimes difficult – conversations and to see the world through someone else’s eyes. We are thrilled to collaborate with Hot Docs to present genuine stories about real people experiencing the issues at the heart of our work.”
In the lead up to World Refugee Day, Oxfam Canada partnered with CARE Canada, CCIC, World Vision Canada, Refugee 613, Plan Canada, Save the Children Canada and the United Nations Refugee Agency for The Unspoken Humanitarians. The June 19th event featured a packed screening of the documentary INVISIBLE CITY and a post-film panel discussion, moderated by journalist and author Michael Petrou, at the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa. Other panelists included Nadia Assimail – co-founder of the Ottawa group Feels Like a Buddy, Jean-Nicolas Beuze – UNHCR representative in Canada; Ketty Nivyabandi – refugee activist from Burundi; and Jessie Thomson – Senior Director of CARE Canada’s Humanitarian Assistance and Emergency Team.
We look forward to continuing our long tradition of raising awareness and inspiring action on urgent global issues with Oxfam Canada during the 28th annual One World Film Festival (September 28 to October 1, 2017) and beyond. To find out more about Oxfam Canada and support their initiatives to save lives, create lasting change, and tackle the root causes of poverty, visit their website at oxfam.ca and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter @OxfamCanada.