Who Are All of These People?

There is no doubt that the world has changed in the past few years due to the unprecedented mass migration.

“One in every 122 people in the world is either a refugee, internally displaced person, or seeking asylum.”[i]

The refugee crisis has been a distant but prevalent topic of discussion online or between friends and family. Most readers are not the one out of every 122, but are more familiar with other forms of migration.

The largest group of individuals are those who have been Internally displaced. Meaning they have fled their home but remain within the borders of their country and are guaranteed rights by the international humanitarian law. [ii]

Refugees have been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war, or violence or fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.[iii]

Asylum seekers have left their country to seek sanctuary in another, but have not yet been legally processed nor granted refugee status.[iv]

The media have emphasized strong and divided opinions about the wars, conflicts and politics but have not highlighted the diversity of detail in the stories they tell about the migrants. The many differences include more than culture and the conflicts people have been caught in. The reasons for migrating, the journey and the end destination are just a few examples of aspects that need to be better known.

Also, many of the stories shown have focused solely on the women and children who are seeking asylum.

Immigrant? Migrant? What is the difference?

After reading many definitions, here is a simplified version. A Migrant is a person, who has moved FROM one country to another.

An Immigrant COMES to live in a new country permanently. Essentially, the difference is in the perspective you take on it when discussing the issue.[i]

It is even possible to become Stateless if a person is not considered as a national by any State at all as defined in its law.[ii]

A forecast for 2017 estimates that the increasing yearly amount of expats will reach almost 60 million. 7.7 % of the global population will be living in a country other than their country of citizenship or will relinquish citizenship in their home country to become a citizen of another.[iii] With every challenge an innovative and sustainable solution is needed.

One of the globalized world’s greatest challenges is to find new ways to acculturate new migrants.

This question cannot be answered by the media, reading facts or knowing knowledge about the various conflicts and cultures. What is needed is to connect people beyond the walls which have been built in fear for safety.

The global crisis does not need to be solved by one macro solution. Action does not need to be taken solely by nonprofit workers and those directly involved. The academia and business world have the potential to impact the community and provide opportunities for uniting people.

“Education is a pathway to acculturation” - Steve Crawford

Integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization, have all been recognized as descriptions of how people acculturate into a society. Communities and their members should not rely on government, nonprofits or volunteers to take care of the process of acculturation but be ready to take action themselves.  

Education is highly valued and can be used as a powerful tool to enhance the quality of life. One school in Jyväskylä, Finland, formed a movement, JAMK United for Refugees partnered with diversophy® to create a training tool to bridge the cultural gap between host and new migrant cultures. This was created by exchange students, as well as degree and asylum seeking students, and became a community wide effort.

The finished diversophy® game will be appear in English, Arabic and Finnish to help reduce the language barrier. Facilitation resources provide tips on how to stimulate good conversation and get the most out of the diversophy® experience.

After a game session people take away a greater sense of self awareness and a better understanding of each other.

Creating empathetic connections across boundaries is made possible by combining cultural knowledge with gamification.


To preview the Migrant and Acculturation deck and all of the existing products click here:

If you are interested in creating a customized training tool near you visit our webpage.


Author: Emily Auvinen 



[i] http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html

[ii] http://www.forcedmigration.org/about/whatisfm

[iii] https://www.google.fr/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=refugee%20definition

[iv] http://www.unhcr.org/asylum-seekers.html

[v] http://www.diffen.com/difference/Immigration_vs_Migration

[vi] http://www.unhcr.org/stateless-people.html

[vii] http://www.paragonrelocation.com/relocation-news/index.php/new-report-shows-record-number-of-expats-worldwide/





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  • Yes, that was a simple typo mistake. 77% would be far to large of an amount it was 7.7 but who knows what it will be by the year 3020, possibly that number! or more!

    Emily Auvinen on
  • That must be a typo, right? “77% of the global population will be living in a country other than their country of citizenship…” 7.7% maybe?

    Nancy Longatan on

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