Giving Compass’ Take:
• Migration Policy Institute interviews William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, who describes trying to change attitudes about migration around the world and improve outcomes.
• What are NGOs in the development space doing to contribute to this effort? Will the US be able to lead in this area when our own policies are becoming more restrictive?
We now have armed conflicts, almost a dozen of them, from the western bulge of Africa to the Himalayas and beyond, with little hope of any short- to medium-term solution. We’ve had the results, of course: the outflows of people, collapsing economies, war, etc. So, anything we’ve been able to do in terms of protecting and assisting migrants is because we are now, and for the last maybe seven or eight years, riding the crest of a wave called migration, which in many ways is the missing piece in the globalization mosaic. And it’s likely to be a megatrend for the rest of this century, given what we know now about demographic predictions and the other drivers of migration …
We need to be working with governments to engage in programs of public information, public education. We cannot blame the people for having fear of the other, if we’re not giving them evidence to the contrary. Namely our reading at International Organization for Migration (IOM) is that migration has always been overwhelmingly positive and beneficial to countries. So, we need to try to find a way to change the narrative. I think the media and interviews like this are extremely helpful because the word can go out there. Because what’s happening with the antimigrant sentiment is not only are we endangering migrants’ lives, but we’re denying ourselves their contribution, which is the irony of the whole thing.
So we have to change the narrative if we can, we have to help people, help countries and their populations embrace diversity, because our reading is that given the driving forces that we know of, that all of our countries are going to become almost inexorably, increasingly multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious, multilingual. And if we don’t prepare our people for that, it won’t end very well. This is the issue and the challenge.
Read the full interview with William Lacy Swing about changing the migration narrative around the globe by Kathleen Newland at Migration Policy Institute.
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