Art and Experience: A young Kurdish filmmaker from Iran’s northwestern province of Kurdistan has been selected by the United Nations as an ‘Intercultural Leader’.

Teymour Qaderi, from the town of Kamyaran, was recently selected as an ‘Intercultural Leader’ by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC).

The twenty-seven year old filmmaker received the Intercultural Innovation Award 2017 in appreciation of his short film ‘Big Fish’.

The UN initiative aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world.

‘Big Fish’ highlights the global issue of migration, amid global focus on the drowning of a 3-year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, of Kurdish ethnic background. The boy and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the refugee crisis in the Middle East.

On the early hours of September 2, 2015, the Syrian family boarded a small inflatable boat, which capsized about five minutes after leaving Bodrum in Turkey.

Sixteen people were in the boat, which was designed for a maximum of eight people. They were trying to reach Greece, about 30 minutes or 4 kilometers from Bodrum. The image of Alan’s lifeless body made international headlines.

‘Big Fish’ is about an old man fishing in a lake, with the intention of catching a big fish. However, all he gets is a number of small fishes. At the end, the film takes a warning tone: If the refugee crisis does not get handled, the next thing a fisherman could catch might be a drowned refugee.

The UNAOC was established in 2005 as a political initiative by Kofi Annan, former UN secretary general, and co-sponsored by Spain and Turkey.

Due to the success of his film, Qaderi is now one of the UN’s intercultural leaders.