Thank you for organizing this session, which has helped put a human face on migration, reminding us that our work together is about much more than migration – it is about people and human experience.
These compelling, positive perspectives on migration are essential to changing the narrative. There are countless migrants like Ga, Khadja and Djibril who are making valuable contributions, and we should make every effort in our home countries to make these stories known.
The experiences of Gai and so many others also point to a very important reality: migrants can and in many cases are integrating effectively. And this is particularly important at a time when there has been a recent uptick in disheartening narratives related to migrants and migration.
Integration doesn’t have to take years, decades or generations. Gai’s integration began immediately; the same holds true for many others. There are numerous ways that governments can facilitate this process.
Key elements of the U.S. resettlement system include:
- coordination with local communities, NGOs and local authorities; and
- access to education and employment.
In fact, facilitating access to employment is essential to allowing immigrants to unleash their potential, unique talents, and ambition.
In Gai’s chosen profession, he will enter a selective form of public service–as a diplomat. Although many years ago our Foreign Service was subject to criticism for its lack of diversity, we have made great strides towards greater equality and opportunity.
Clearly we all have more to do in this area, but there is a principal here that applies to migration: the prospects for successful integration — and migration management — hinges in part on the emphasis we place on human rights and democratization.
Lastly, let me say thank you to Gai, for sharing your encouraging, inspiring, and fascinating personal history. We are extremely proud of you and incredibly grateful for international organizations like IOM that have helped so many people with dreams like yours come true.