It’s a familiar point: that migration has been central to the human experience, helping to spread new ideas across millennia. But its role in sparking conflict is also well known, and today, a record level of global migration is rattling agendas, upending elections, and spurring pointed exchanges between those in poor countries struggling to host refugees and those in rich countries trying to bar the door.
How should nations address the issue? Our new series, “On the move: the faces, places, and politics of migration,” will share a variety of perspectives in pivotal places across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Staff writer Ryan Brown will look at Tanzania’s bold resettlement experiment. Peter Ford has talked to people smugglers in Niger – “we have to eat,” says one – and to European Union officials trying to hit the problem at its source. “Africa is just 14 kilometers from our coast,” the EU ambassador in Niger notes. “Africa’s security and development is ours, too.”
And then there are the migrants themselves. Dominique Soguel spoke to Syrians in Berlin and Athens who are deeply uncertain about their future in Europe. “What struck me was their extreme yearning for the homeland,” she says. In conversations outside embassies and even in a cafe restroom as she helped a Syrian mother change her baby’s diaper, she listened to their struggles. One man said he was willing to risk army conscription upon returning: “At a minimum I’ll be in my own country. If I serve and survive, I’ll be able to start a real life.”
Today, we're kicking off another feature as well: "Perception Gaps," a podcast spearheaded by our digital media producer, Samantha Laine Perfas. Often, what we think is the case really ... isn't. Listen in and challenge your perceptions on everything from crime to political polarization.