U of G Grad, Students Win International ‘Faith Shorts’ Contest

December 07, 2011 - News Release

A group of Canadian Baha’i rappers, including two University of Guelph students and a U of G graduate, have won an international contest sponsored by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.

Their hip hop video, "Be the Change You Want to See," was chosen as the winner of Faith Shorts 2011 by celebrities Jet Li and Hugh Jackman, along with former British prime minister Tony Blair. Blair established the foundation to promote respect for and understanding of major religions.

The announcement was made Tuesday night in London at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award ceremony. The Guelph entry was among 13 finalists.

Nadim Merrikh, a 15-year-old Guelph high school student who led the video project, attended this week’s event to accept the award. His father, Kian Merrikh, is marketing and communications manager in U of G’s Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support.

The video also features U of G undergrads Sahba Shahmohammadloo and Shayan Majidy, and graduate Blair Cameron, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2009 and a master’s in 2010 in nutritional sciences.

Shot with a basic digital camera, the Guelph team’s three-minute video features synthesized beats and voice modulation. The video encourages people of all faiths to come together; it was inspired by the London riots earlier this year.

Faith Shorts is a global film competition open to youths aged 14 to 18. Participants are asked to make a three-minute film about what their faith means to them.

“By gaining insights into the lives of young people across the world, this competition has the potential to build bridges across cultural and religious divides,” Blair said.

“This new generation holds the potential to help turn the tide against religious tensions, building unity to counter those who see faith as a source of division and conflict.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Shiona Mackenzie, Ext. 56982, or shiona@uoguelph.ca.

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