Culture is a complicated word – it is important, relevant and especially difficult to define. Religion, tradition, food, art and language are just some of the elements that can be pieced together to constitute a particular culture. It is a banner under which people should unite, yet examples of culture clashes can be found throughout history. According to the United Nations, “three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension.”


Taranto, Italy – On 15 February 2017, at the end of an award ceremony for the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s Children First project, a teary-eyed Gambian teenager stood up and addressed the audience. “Thank you for listening to our stories. It is not always easy to have your voice heard here,” he said through the tears.

He was one six beneficiaries of an IOM-USAIM grant that supports innovative project ideas aimed at the professional growth and socioeconomic integration of unaccompanied migrant children in their current host communities.

The group of six teenagers from Gambia, Guinea, Egypt and Senegal, who arrived in Italy by sea and found shelter at the reception centres managed by the local NGO ‘Salam’, decided to join hands to establish their own fashion studio, which will be named La maison de la mode ‘Nyawcatyi’ (tailor in the Wolof language mostly spoken in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania). Through the Children First project, IOM will support the group in turning their dream into a local Italian reality.



NEW YORK - Former Iraqi refugee Ahmed Badr is host of the forthcoming IOM podcast, "Together: Welcome to America.", He was a speaker in New York on Friday (28 April) at the 2017 gala celebration of the We Are Family Foundation at Hammerstein Ballroom.

Founded by GRAMMY Award-winning musician and producer, Nile Rodgers, We Are Family Foundation is dedicated to its vision of a global family. The foundation supports programs that promote cultural diversity - nurturing the ideas, ideals and vision of young people who are positively changing the world.

In Ahmed’s case, he was honored for his groundbreaking work as a Global Teen Leader and founder of, a site that empowers youth by publishing poetry, art, photography and stories.

"Through my time in America, I’ve learned that we are united by our differences as much as we are by our similarities," Ahmed told the gala.