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In Partnership with Qatar Foundation International

In an era signed by the global refugee crisis and the social and political ramifications of mainstream media stereotyping and discrimination, The Arab World Spotlight (AWS) Playlist is essential for students to comprehend humanity as one community. Curated as a window into the richness, beauty and diversity of the Arab World, the following films show intimate testimonies and on the ground stories that allow viewers to connect with individuals and communities often stigmatized on the basis of prejudice and to build new perspectives founded on cross-cultural understanding, respect and tolerance.

Access all of the following films and lesson plan by subscribing to SIMA Classroom. 

If you are part of the QFI community, click here, or contact and request your coupon code for free access.



Nefertiti’s Daughters is a story of women, art, and revolution. Told by prominent Egyptian artists, this documentary witnesses the critical role revolutionary street art played during the Egyptian uprisings. Focused on the role of women artists in the struggle for social and political change, Nefertiti’s Daughters spotlights how the iconic graffiti of Queen Nefertiti places her on the front lines in the ongoing fight for women’s rights and freedoms in Egypt today.

Director: Mark Nickolas
Producers: Mark Nickolas, Jean Ferreri & Ramy Francis

2015 | 39 min
Languages: English, Arabic
Subtitles: English

SIMA Classroom Nefertitis Daughters


In the wake of the refugee crisis that has swept across Europe, and the negative sentiments expressed through our politics and media, “Fortune’s Gift” opens a window into the lives of 14 individuals, who have made a conscious decision to embrace what connects us as human beings rather than what divides us.

Director & Producer: Line Hadsbjerg

2016 | 2 min
Languages: Danish, Arabic
Subtitles: English


In the wake of the refugee crisis that has swept across Europe, and the negative sentiments expressed through our politics and media, “Fortune’s Gift” opens a window into the lives of 14 individuals, who have made a conscious decision to embrace what connects us as human beings rather than what divides us.

Director & Producer: Line Hadsbjerg

2016 | 3 min
Languages: Danish, Arabic
Subtitles: English

SIMA Classroom Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution


The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.

Director & Producer: Matthew VanDyke

2013 | 14 min
Languages: English, Syrian
Subtitles: English


“ROUTES” is a journey of refugees recounts a small daily reality on their arrival in Europe. A topical issue which has become a humanitarian crisis. Through recorded interviews in the autumn of 2015, between the Isle of Lesbos (Greece) and the Macedonian border with Serbia, is still one of the most common routes for refugees to head to northern Europe. Anonymous people who tell us their journey and motivation for traveling to Europe.

Director: Cristian P. Coll
Producer: Es Far Cultural

2016 | 32 min
Greece, Fyrom, Serbia
Languages: English, Arabic, Spanish
Subtitles: English

SIMA Classroom Routes
SIMA Classroom Welcome To Canada


This short film tells the story of Mohammed Alsaleh, a young Syrian refugee granted asylum in Canada after fleeing torture and imprisonment by the Assad regime. While rebuilding his life in Vancouver, he assists newly-arrived Syrian refugee families to resettle, finding new homes and new beginnings.

Directors: Adam Loften & Mary Fowles
Producer: Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee

2016 | 20 min
Languages: English and Arabic
Subtitles: English


One in six children today are living in war zones, in this film we meet three of them. The Future of Iraq is a poetic documentary about the future generation of Iraq facing their future while trying to cope with their war experiences.

Directors: Thee Yezen Al-Obaide, Mats Muri
Producer: Ingvil Giske

2018 | 28 min
Norway, Iraq
Language: Arabic
Subtitles: English

SIMA Classroom Home


“Home: Aamir” is the first of a series of Surround Vision 360 degree films exploring the meaning of home through the stories of refugees in the Calais “Jungle”. This first film, a collaboration between the National Theatre, Surround Vision and Room One, follows a 22-year-old man escaping the threat of murder in Sudan.

Directors: Erfan Saadati, Toby Coffey, & Rufus Norris
Producers: Richard Nockles, James Louis Hedley, & Johanna Nicholls

2016 | 12 min
The Jungle, Calais, France
Language: English


Beirut’s Shatila camp was built in 1949 for 3,000 Palestinian refugees, but now hosts up to 40,000 people, including many Syrians displaced by war. Appalling conditions and bleak prospects for the future leave families longing for their lost homes. Three generations of a Palestinian family describe how the camp has evolved into an urban slum. A Syrian father recalls the shelling of his home and the dangers that drove him to flee the country with his four young children.

Director: Negin Allamehzadeh
Post-Producer: Stina Hamlin, East Coast Digital

2017 | 8 min
USA, Lebanon
Languages: English, Arabic


Cross World is a short film focusing on the theme of “The #Personal is the #Political”, and highlighting the experience of #refugee #women. An intimate conversation between two refugee girls who have never met. Aya, a 14-year-old Syrian refugee girl and, Justinah, a 23-year-old South Sudanese refugee girl shares the same story. Today in Lebanon, Aya is forced to marry at the age 14, she finds hope in Justinah who went through the same experience when she was a child. Today in New York, Justinah is attending the CSW to raise Aya’s voice to end Child marriage.

Director: Nour Wahid
Producers: Sean Southey & Meesha Brown

2018 | 6 min
USA, Lebanon, Syria
Languages: English, Arabic
Subtitles: English


This film captures the three months of the DESMEEM project that took place in Lebanon in 2012. Designers and activists from Europe and the US traveled to Lebanon to work with local designers and activists to co-create user-centered solutions to social and environmental challenges. Each team took on one challenge and worked with a relevant local NGO to develop their research and test their prototypes.

Director: Doreen Toutikian

2012 | 20 min
Language: English

SIMA Classroom Desmeem
SIMA Classroom Vital Voices


Manal Yaish Zraiq wears many hats: businesswoman, manager, mentor, networker, and key force in one of the world’s most intriguing real estate developments. Manal is a key figure in the Rawabi project, the first planned city in Palestine and the largest private sector undertaking in Palestinian history. Here, she illuminates the importance of Rawabi and her mission as a Palestinian woman.

Director: Aaron Kisner

2013 | 3 min
Language: English
Subtitles: Spanish


Powerful intimate stories of young refugees who risked their lives crossing the Aegean Sea to Europe, only to get trapped on the Greek Island of Lesvos with no future and closed borders. It was supposed to be only their “transit” stop, but it turned out where they ended.

Director: Mariam El Marakeshy
Producer: Mariam El Marakeshy

2018 | 26 min
Turkey, Europe, MENA
Languages: English, Arabic, Persian
Subtitles: English


The Arab World Spotlight (AWS) Challenge invites students to explore the complex issues of stereotyping, discrimination and diversity and take action through the creation of a collaborative photo-montage project.