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Tolu Olubunmi, Host


#10 "Lifeboat" Rescue at Sea

What happens when the world fails to live up to the goal of safe, orderly and regular migration? In the latest episode of "A Way Home Together, Stories of the Human Journey", we look at an urgent search-and-rescue operation to save the lives of desperate migrants and refugees, who were crowded onto rafts and small boats in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya.

"Lifeboat" is a half-hour film that was recently nominated for this year's best short-subject documentary Oscar. The Academy Awards will be announced in Hollywood on February 24.

"I consider it part of my work to make the unwatchable watchable," says "Lifeboat" Director Skye Fitzgerald. "If we can build empathy towards those who are making a conscious bid to flee torture, detention, rape and trafficking, I think it gets us one step closer to systematically solving the problem."

His film follows dramatic rescues by volunteer crew members on a re-fitted research vessel, "Sea Watch", as they save the lives of people in imminent danger of drowning.

 "It's a shock to the system," said Sea Captain John Castle, who led the rescue attempts. "We've got a lot of people in terrible trouble in the small boats, and the boats aren't going to last very long out there."

#9 Migrant Rights and Your Rights

Migration is one of the great challenges of our time. The worldwide numbers have increased by almost 50% since 2000. 

In late December, the U.N. General Assembly took a major step forward, voting to endorse the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration.

This vital agreement sets up nearly two dozen objectives, and is aimed at reducing human suffering and boosting cooperation among nations on how to manage legal migration. 

"Because migration is such a complex issue, you can't just regulate it with one set of rules at an international level. There are different types of migrants." " Kristina Touzenis, tells us. "Kristina is head of the International Migration Law Unit at IOM,  where she is responsible for the activities related to international and regional law issues, both from an advocacy as well as an implementation point. She has worked in the field of international law and migration for more than 12 years, focusing both on legal and policy development. 

The debate over rights for migrants is part of a much broader conversation about the strength of democracy. "Most people don't realize how dangerous it is to allow a certain section of the population to be denied their rights, because with this sooner or later it will be legitimate to deny all our rights," she says.

In this episode, our podcast host Tolu Olubunmi shares some of her personal story as a Dreamer and a migrant. Born in Nigeria, Tolu came to The United States when she was a young teenager. "Along the way I had lost my immigration status and had become undocumented: shrouded in fear and hidden in the shadows."

We hear Tolu's brave story of how she came out of the shadows to advocate for the rights of migrants. 

#8 Holding On: Their Most Cherished Possession

From the fires of California to famine and war in Yemen and South Sudan, every year millions of people are displaced by natural disasters, violence and extreme climate.

Around the world, the number of people forced from their homes and neighborhoods has more than doubled in the past twenty years. The current official estimate of displaced persons is more than 68 million.

In this episode, we ask: What would you hold onto if you were forced to flee your home and had only moments to decide what to take with you?

Special Episode: Mohammed Abdiker of IOM

Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are families-- mothers, fathers, children and grandparents-- who were forced to leave their homes. Unlike refugees who crossed a border, they remain in their home countries.

In this special episode, we speak with Mohammed Abdiker, Director of the Department of Operations and Emergencies at IOM, the UN migration agency, about his work with displaced people.


#7 Forced to Flee: Internally Displaced People

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are among the world's most vulnerable people. Each year, their numbers grow: Families and individuals forced to flee their homes, because of war, terrorism, government repression, natural disasters and climate change. 
IDP's greatly outnumber refugees. According to one official estimate, of 68.5 million people uprooted in 2017, more than 40 million were internally displaced people.
While the plight of refugees is frequently the focus of media attention, IDPs are frequently overlooked or ignored. And they are not protected by international treaties.
In this episode, we speak about the urgent need for humanitarian assistance with Mohammed Abdiker, Director of Operations and Emergencies at the UN migration agency, IOM
We also look at two new campaigns to raise global awareness of IDPs. "Holding On" is a new international art and multimedia exhibit, organized by IOM. #NotATarget uses a new kind of "selfie petition" to boost understanding of displacement.

#6 Soccer and the Somali Stars

What role can soccer play in bringing people together from different backgrounds and life experiences? 

In this episode we hear from the teenage  members of the Somali Stars-- a team of refugee kids in Utah, who are now part of the Cottonwood Football Club, playing other local teams. We also spoke to Mohammed, their 21-year-old founder and coach, tells us about his passionate commitment to the team.

Adam Miles founded the non-profit group Refugee Soccer, which provides financial support and assistance to the Somali Stars, is also a guest. Adam started Refugee Soccer after he raised money to send regulation soccer balls to poor communities in West Africa

"I started realizing instead of going eight thousand miles to Nigeria, I can go eight miles and have access to almost sixty thousand refugees in Salt Lake City, in the valley here," Adam told host Ahmed Badr. 

We spoke with journalist, Franklin Foer, staff writer at The Atlantic and author of "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization. He explains why refugees and migrants are essential to the future of soccer in America.

#5 A Survivor from the DRC Rebuilds His Life in Texas

Espoir was an infant when his family fled for their lives. He is a survivor of the civil war in The Democratic Republic of The Congo (DRC). Today, nearly two decades later, Espoir is making a new life for himself in Austin, 

#4 12 AND 83

What does a 12 year old refugee have in common with the 83 year-old head of the International Organization for Migration, William Lacy Swing? Listen and find out. Basel Al Rashdan was 6 when his family fled Syria.  They spent three years living as refugees in Jordan. Today he lives on Prince Edward Island in Canada, a world a way from the home he left behind. Basel and Swing both had to redefine their idea of home. And both of them—for very different reasons—-have become public voices on the need for safer and more secure migration.

#3 Mariam’s Migrant Journey: Gaza to New York

Ahmed speaks to Mariam Abuamer, a singer based in Brooklyn, New York. Born in the Soviet Union and having grown up in Palestine, Mariam’s migrant journey is marked by struggle, persecution, empowerment, and freedom.

Ahmed’s family is resettled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After a year they move to Brookings, South Dakota so that Ahmed’s parents can re-evaluate their engineering degrees. After three years in Brookings, they move to Houston, Texas in search of new jobs.

#2 Struggle in South Dakota, A New Life in Texas

Ahmed’s family is resettled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. After a year they move to Brookings, South Dakota so that Ahmed’s parents can re-evaluate their engineering degrees. After three years in Brookings, they move to Houston, Texas in search of new jobs.

#1 The Bomb

Host Ahmed Badr speaks to his parents and his 14-year-old sister about the bomb that hit their home in Baghdad, changing their lives forever. The family also discusses their journey through Iraq, Syria, and America.