Joel (left) takes one for the team

From an IOM press release:

IOM Boxer Punches Up Interest in 2018 Global Migration Film Festival

Geneva — With preparations beginning for the UN Migration Agency’s third annual Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) to take place in December this year, IOM senior spokesperson Joel Millman decided to take matters in hand and work to raise interest—and over $1,200 in targeted funding—for the event.

In fact, he worked with both hands—in a boxing ring.

On May 24, Millman joined more than a dozen male and female amateur boxers in a gala event staged at Geneva’s Starling Hotel, where he met his opponent, Bertrand Bricheux, a Swiss boxer who works for a money-management firm. The event, titled White Collar Boxing Switzerland, attracted more than 300 fight fans to raise money for a variety of charities.

Combatants were urged to select a Geneva-based charity of their own to sponsor. Millman selected IOM’s 2018 Global Migration Film Festival.

“It was kind of a no-brainer,” the IOM boxer explained. “We all work so hard for months getting this festival into shape. So it made sense to add the months of boxing training to the timeline.”

IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival was launched in 2016 and has been enjoyed by thousands worldwide. Besides gala screenings in Geneva and New York, in 2017 more than 90 IOM missions in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and the Americas hosted local versions of the GMFF screening films produced by filmmakers where the missions are located.

“I was so pleased my colleague decided to take this initiative to support the 2018 Global Migration Film Festival. He’s been boxing a long time and knows what he’s doing,” said Amanda Nero, the GMFF’s director. “I used to call him gordinho, which means ‘fatty’ in Portuguese. But no more.”

Nero added that her colleague has a new nickname: farofa, Portuguese for the manioc flour Brazilians enjoy as a garnish on traditional rice-and-black bean stews.

The bout went the full three rounds, with the IOM fighter awarded second place. “In other words, I lost,” Millman explained with a weary but relieved grin on descending the ring.

“But I was glad for the chance to box one more time at my advanced age, and to do something that helps the Global Migration Film Festival.”