Promoting intercultural dialogue through UNIMED’s cinema initiatives

Intercultural dialogue is one of UNIMED’s priority areas. Indeed, higher education has a pivotal role in teaching an open and respectful exchange of views between individuals with different cultural, social, linguistic, economic, and political backgrounds.


One of the lines UNIMED covers to promote intercultural dialogue among students is the cinematographic world.

A number of cinema-related initiatives involve students from UNIMED associated universities, gathering together members of different cultural groups who have the possibility to share ideas and differences.


Arts play an important role into the peer-to-peer exchange , and cinema is perfectly suited to arouse and nourish this process. In light of this, UNIMED has been collaborating for years with external partners to propose cinema-related initiatives to its students from the member universities. 


Among those:

UNIMED Award at the Venice International Film Festival


The UNIMED Award, collateral prize of the Venice International Film Festival, results from the collaboration between la Biennale of Venice and UNIMED ().


Every year an international jury made up of students coming from UNIMED associated universities meets in Venice to watch all the competing movies and assign the prize to the movie which most conveys UNIMED’s core values.


The award was established in memory of Prof. Franco Rizzi, former Secretary General and founder of UNIMED, for his lifelong and career commitment to improve cooperation between Euro-Mediterranean universities.


Indeed, since its foundation, UNIMED has always been committed to use education as a global force and a mutual understanding vehicle. For that purpose, the UNIMED Award promotes the understanding between peoples of different cultures and religious beliefs, it fights racism and discrimination, reveals the complex causes of violence and demonstrates the successful mastering of conflicts.

The aim of the UNIMED Award is to promote cultural exchanges between students and highlight the value of intercultural exchange, freedom of expression, mutual respect and understanding of differences.

Aqua Film Festival


UNIMED patronizes the Aqua Film Festival, International Film Festival organized by the nonprofit Cultural Association UNIVERSI AQUA, which has environmental, social and territorial enhancement purposes.


The Festival, whose seventh edition will be held in Rome from 20 to 23 April 2023, selects short films of any genre and nationality focused on the theme of water, and able to use the language of cinema to illustrate and interpret the social, ecological, cultural, naturalistic, and artistic aspects of this extraordinary and vital element. 

It aims at representing, through  films and documentaries, the extraordinary world of water in its different values and  functions, as well as at raising awareness and discovering new talents in the world of cinema  and audiovisuals.


The deadline for submissions is February 28th, 2023. Students can register for the competition via this link. Regulations are available on

Moreover, thanks to the collaboration with schools and universities, the Festival includes the AQUA & STUDENTS competition, which features mini short films (up to 3 minutes’ running time) made by students from schools and universities worldwide. Mini short films may be shot with smartphones, and will have WATER, in all its forms and functions, as the main player. 

To subscribe to AQUA & STUDENTS Competition, fill in the entry form available at 

Balkan Film Festival


Over the years, UNIMED has been developing a strategic partnership with the Western Balkans` Universities to integrate them into its activities at all levels.

Through a set of different actions, UNIMED supports Western Balkans Universities in their dialogue with the European Union followed by increasing their visibility on European and between the countries of the southern shore of the Mediterranean and Africa. In addition, UNIMED accelerates the regional cooperation between the Western Balkans Universities.


In this framework, UNIMED patronized the Balkan Film Festival in Rome from 29 November to 4 December 2022 to accompany the public on an all-round journey into the culture and film industry of the Balkans. Through unedited screenings, interventions by leading filmmakers and guests from the Balkan areas, the Festival addressed extremely current issues in the artistic, political and economic fields. The central figure of the Festival was the director Jasmila Zbanić with her masterpiece “Quo vadis, Aida?”, winner of the UNIMED 2020 Prize in Venice.

Furthermore, UNIMED supported the workshop “Making cinema together. A bridge between Italy and the Balkans: developing co-productions”, held on Thursday 1 December 2022. The workshop made it possible to illustrate the potential and perspectives offered by European and Italian sources in terms of work and financial support, signaling impeding factors and propulsive proposals for the development of film co-productions by young Italian and Balkan authors and producers.

MedFilm Festival


In 2020, UNIMED collaborated with the MedFilm Festival by establishing a UNIMED jury to assign the UNIMED Award to the best short film encouraging the most mutual knowledge and inter-cultural dialogue between different cultures of the Mediterranean.


The MedFilm Festival is the first festival in Italy dedicated to the promotion of Mediterranean and European cinema. Established in 1995 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Cinema and the Barcelona Declaration and based on the conviction that diversity is a value, MedFilm Festival encourages relations, cooperation and the development of the film industry between neighboring countries.


The UNIMED jury gathered 14 students from the University of International Studies of Rome (UNINT), Link Campus University and Sapienza University of Rome.


The university jury of the 26th edition of the MedFilm Festival assigned the UNIMED Award to the best short film on intercultural dialogue to “La petite”, by Amira Géhanne Khalfallah, with the following motivation: “La Petite leaves its mark in just a few minutes of storytelling. It tells an unknown anecdote from the Algerian war and confuses it with a surprisingly touching and unexpected ending.

La Petite is an extremely sensitive little child who does not give up despite the desolation of an adults-only village, blinded by the explosion of the bomb. The encounter with the blind inhabitants of the village and the reference to Charlie Chaplin’s silent cinema raise questions about the multitude of existing languages and the complexity of the meaning of dialogue. In addition to the excellence of the actors, photography, editing and screenplay, La Petite has the merit of immersing the viewer in a different, unknown cultural history, of intriguing curiosity until the end and then flooring and letting people reflect”:

Have a look at the announcement of the winning short film.