Giving migrants a louder voice

09 December 2011

The vital role of migration in positively shaping the receiving and sending countries was top of the agenda at the 100th Council session of the International Organization of Migration, ‘Migrant Voices’.

Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, joined a panel discussion with an NBA basketball player, a Deputy Minister, a trumpeter and a journalist. What united this disparate group were their experiences as migrants and their collective belief in the importance of migration.

Drawing on his recent book ‘Exceptional People’, Professor Goldin argued that migration enables the circulation of ideas and technologies which fuel economic growth, fill labour gaps, and also enrich social diversity. He warned the Council that increasingly nationalistic policies often limit the capacity of societies to effectively reap the economic and social opportunities which migration can yield.

Held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 6 December 2011, the IOM Council brought together thought leaders and policy makers from over 70 countries to discuss and share experiences on critical migration issues. This panel session of ‘Migrant Voices’ celebrated the contribution of migrants both to their receiving countries but also reinforced the importance of connecting with diaspora communities, particularly in developing countries.

The panel discussion complemented a report released by the IOM on the same day which called for a stronger voice for migrants themselves in today’s all too often biased, polarized and negative debate on migration. The World Migration Report 2011 calls for a fundamental shift in the way we communicate about migration, especially during economic downturns.

Watch Professor Goldin and colleagues as part of ‘Migrant voices’.

Exceptional People was listed as book of the year 2011 by The Economist