On World Refugee Day, Palestinian in Lebanon wins UNRWA annual film competition

20 June 2011

20 June 2011

A 25-year-old woman from Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Lebanon has won UNRWA’s second annual World Refugee Day film.

The short film by Tahani Awad impressed the panel of judges with its powerful yet understated portrayal of the experience of a family returning to their ruined home in Nahr el-Bared after armed conflict had ravaged the camp.

The theme of the contest, which was open to young Palestinian filmmakers across the Middle East, was ‘My World’.

At a screening of the winning entries on World Refugee Day today, Filippo Grandi, UNRWA Commissioner-General, said:

“We invited young Palestinian refugees to show their talents, and to tell us about their world and their lives because the refugees, and in particular, our young students deserve a chance to speak to the world. What we received was an incredible glimpse into the reality, creativity and potential of people who have so often been marginalised and ignored but who are increasingly making their voices heard."

Over the next few weeks UNRWA will feature a selection of entries on its website and Youtube channel, starting with Tahani’s film. Screenings of the winning films will be held accross UNRWA‘s five fields over summer.

World Refugee Day, observed on 20 June each year, raises awareness of the situation facing refugees around the world. UNRWA is mandated to provide services to 4.8 million Palestine refugees living in Gaza, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank.

The World Refugee Day film competition is made possible through generous funding from the European Union and was implemented in partnership with the network of French Cultural Centres and Shashat.

The EU and UNRWA

The EU‘s principal objective in delivering support to Palestine refugees is to contribute to the just resolution of the refugee issue as part of a comprehensive settlement of final status issues. In doing so, the EU ensures that the essential humanitarian and development needs of the Palestine refugees are met. It delivers most of such assistance through its partnership with UNRWA.

The EU has been UNRWA’s largest donor since 1971. The bulk of EU financial support is devoted to UNRWA’s core funding enabling it to provide essential education, health, and social relief services to Palestine refugees.

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 68.2 million.

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