On the Move

“Migration is an expression of the human aspiration for dignity, safety, and a better future.” – Ban Ki-moon

Throughout history, for various reasons, people have been making life-changing decisions to leave their country of residence to search for a better life. Today, the number of people living in a country other than the one in which they were born is higher than ever before. Responding to the growing trend, on 4th December 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 18th December International Migrants Day. The date was not chosen randomly, it was on 18th December 1990 that the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted.

The numbers are saying

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), acting since 1951 and established to promote “humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all,” has been preparing world migration reports since 2000. Its interactive World Migration Report 2022 provides the following statistics:

153 million migrants – 2,87% of the population in 1990

221 million migrants – 3,17% of the population in 2010

281 million migrants – 3,60% of the population in 2020

What is also interesting, according to the report, is the fact that Europe (approximately 87 million) and Asia (86 million) were reached by the greatest numbers of migrants in 2020.

“People come here penniless but not cultureless.”

Mary Pipher, an American psychologist and author, said, “People come here penniless but not cultureless. They bring us gifts. We can synthesize the best of our traditions with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other.”

There is no denying migrants significantly contribute to the countries’ development by ‘bringing gifts’ in the form of their knowledge, skills and services. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without migrants? What would it be like without great migrants like Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Albert Einstein or Nikola Tesla portrayed in the Europeana Crossing Frontiers presentation, being part of the People On the Move exhibition, or genius artists like the ones appearing in the Rising Stars article?  Have you ever wondered what the world would be like without migrants – ordinary people you meet every day – at work, at school, in your neighbourhood? People whose migration stories you can read in the Europeana Collection?

Discovering migration with Europeana

A big part of Europeana content is devoted to the topic of migration, including the “Migration in Artworks” Gallery or “A Place to Call Home” blog post. On the Teaching with Europeana Blog you can also find numerous learning scenarios prepared by the Europeana educators, among them Migration Socratic Seminar based on the above-mentioned Migration Collection. Home Sweet Home: a Journey of Empathy tackles the important issue through the WebQuest method your students will love. Not only will you find ready-to-use materials on the blog but you can also read interesting stories of implementation uploaded by teachers who have already used the resources in their classrooms.

Just look around

Are you wondering whether your students will have any stories to tell in connection with the migration topic? Does 3,6% seem to you to be too small a number to bother? Just think about it: didn’t your grandparents have to escape from their country during WW2? Isn’t your cousin living abroad as he was offered a better job opportunity there? Isn’t your daughter studying abroad?  Or maybe you have your own migration story to tell? Just look around…

Interested in Europeana? You can also read:

By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Slovak national gallery.

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