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El Gouna Film Festival and UNHCR Sign Cooperation Agreement to Support Refugees

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El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency signed a joint cooperation agreement to raise public awareness about refugees and create a UNHCR platform within GFF.

Cairo, 26 October 2020 – El Gouna Film Festival (GFF) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency signed a cooperation agreement to raise public awareness about refugees and create a UNHCR platform within GFF to mobilize more supporters for UNHCR’s work in Egypt and worldwide.

In addition, UNHCR will exert efforts to engage its prominent supporters and goodwill ambassadors from all over the world to enrich the festival.

The agreement was concluded on the third day of the Festival between Eng. Omar El Hamamsy, CEO of Orascom Development Holding – the owner of GFF -, and Mr. Karim Atassi, UNHCR Representative to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the League of Arab States.

Eng. El Hamamsy stated:” We are pleased to sign an agreement with UNHCR with the aim of supporting refugees and conveying their voices to the world, which falls in line with the festival’s goals and its slogan “Cinema for Humanity”. Cinema has a pioneering role in spreading societal awareness and improving human conditions. Through the agreement, the various festival platforms will be used to shed light on refugees and expand the network of their supporters, including celebrities and filmmakers. ”

The agreement stipulates that the entities organizing GFF shall exert their maximum efforts to promote UNHCR’s work and call for supporting refugees in Egypt and beyond through the Festival’s different platforms, including but not limited to the CineGouna Platform and the official opening and closing events.

“UNHCR has a long-standing relationship with the world of art and artmakers who help to bring our organization to every corner of the world through their influence, dedication and hard work. Hence, UNHCR is grateful to that cultural space provided annually by El-Gouna Film Festival which aims at improving the positions of refugees and asylum seeker through enhancing the culture of coexistence under the slogan: “Cinema for Humanity,” Mr. Atassi said.

UNHCR is the only humanitarian agency that had the privilege of participating in the four editions of the festival under ‘Cinema for Humanity’ through various arts and cultural initiatives in supporting the refugees.

This year, UNHCR is participating in GFF through several activities, including a panel discussion entitled ‘Children Matter” and a high-level reception to sign a partnership agreement with the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development to support refugee children in 2021 and 2022.

In the past three years, the UNHCR has been participating in the festival with various panel discussion about refugee crises, and artistic and networking events in cooperation with various institutions and civil society organizations. UNHCR also participated in the production of Beyond the Raging Sea, a documentary which was premiered at the third edition of GFF in 2019.

Egypt hosts more than 258,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR from 57 different nationalities, and most of them live in urban areas and are largely concentrated in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta and many cities of the Northern Coast. UNHCR is working closely with governmental agencies and local and international NGOs to ensure refugee and asylum seekers’ access to protection services, health care, education, and psychosocial support.