The last half-century has brought increased international travel and global connectivity via the internet, and yet the proportion of the world’s population living outside their country of birth hasn’t changed. A lot of people use the word “unprecedented” when they talk about migration today. We prefer the word “human” – after all, getting up and moving somewhere else is something humans have been doing since forever ago.
We are all descendents of migrants, those people who walked out of Africa more than 50,000 years ago, slowly populating the globe over thousands of generations. Today national borders and visa regulations ensure the journey is challenging in different ways than it would have been for our ancestors. But human migration is still driven by the same factors: a combination of basic needs and curiosity.
Migrants are, and always have been, explorers, entrepreneurs, visionaries, thrill-seekers and dreamers. Whether we move by choice, chance or force, we all have stories to tell. Migrants bring new snacks, learn languages, become famous movie stars and run the United Nations. No big deal. Some of us have more ordinary experiences, like trying to find the words for “laundry powder” in a new language. At NANSEN Magazine we believe those experiences are worth celebrating, too. They mean someone’s dared to step out and take a chance on a new life. Some of us call ourselves “refugees”, while others prefer “expats”, “newcomers”, or the very fancy “émigré”. Actually, that’s what we wanted to call this magazine, but someone beat us to it.
NANSEN Magazine aims to connect and celebrate migrants of all kinds. We do this by getting to know one migrant per issue, homing in on the minutiae of lives lived away from ‘home’ – moments that all migrants can relate to, and many non-migrants can, too. For us all, the word “migrant” conjures up a particular image. We want to expand the way each of us see migrants and the way we, as migrants, see ourselves. With 258 million migrants roaming the planet right now, we don’t think we’re ever going to run out of stories.