It’s time to change the way we view the word “migration”

What do you think of when hearing the words “migrants” and “refugees”? If vast tent encampments, overcrowded rafts or scenes of utter misery and despair fill your mind, you are not alone.

But there is another side to the migrant story. Hundreds of millions of people around the world left their homes in search of a better life — just like countless numbers of people did in the past when they came to America.

Migrants and refugees are not just about their past, but also the future. They give creative energy, diversity, culture, hard work and enterprise to their new countries.

Too often this is ignored or swept aside by those who spread fear, hatred and distrust of people from other parts of the world.

I’m proud to have played a role in producing audio for a new month-long free celebration of #migration as seen through the arts, organized by the UN migration agency IOM and UNICEF.

A series of free live Public events kick off this Tuesday, December 5 at 5 pm. Opening ceremony UNICEF House, E. 44th St. New York (betweenn 1st/ 2nd Aves). Please join us.

The show — including IOM’s 2017 Global Migration Film Festival, a critically acclaimed art installation and the launch of a new podcast and app — marks the run-up to International Migrants Day on December 18.

This Tuesday architect/ Artist Mohamad Hafez will discuss “UNPACKED Refugee Baggage”, innovative, critically acclaimed three-dimensional works of art which re-create rooms, homes, buildings and landscapes that have suffered the ravages of war. The exhibit includes audio from refugees, who speak movingly about their lives and the events that forced them to leave their homes.

I will speak about our new podcast series, “Together: Personal Stories of Migrants and Refugees,” hosted by 19-year-old Iraqi-American refugee, Ahmed Badr.

At 6pm, the Second Global Migration Film Festival will open with a screening of “Amerika Square”, a drama that was selected as the Greek entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

The art installation is a free public event open Monday-Friday from 5 December — 2 January at Danny Kaye Visitors Center, Unicef House Ground Floor, 3 UN Plaza (E. 44th St.between 1st and 2nd Avenues. Open 9 am — 5 pm, this event is a deeply moving example of art and storytelling about people on the move.

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