On 18 November 2017, the UNU Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) hosted its 2017 Annual Guest Lecture in Barcelona. The lecture — by Dr Pietro Bartolo — was titled “Let’s Not Think of Them as Clandestine Migrants”.
Following the opening remarks by UNU-GCM Director Parvati Nair, the Newdigate Prize-wining poet Dominic Hand shared his three commissioned works, inspired by the issues raised in Dr Bartolo’s work. Introducing his collection, Mr Hand described the poems as being concerned with “the problems of perceiving others in the midst of a migration crisis, particularly the problems of responding to events which most of us bear little, or no, proximal witness to. And to the vital ways in which language and thought are bound up in that response”.
Dr Bartolo then took to the stage to share his experiences from over three decades of providing migrants who have arrived on the island of Lampedusa (Sicily) with both medical and humanitarian assistance. As Prof. Nair forewarned, the content of Dr Bartolo’s talk was “not be easy to take in, nor will it make us feel at ease; but then that, I think, is precisely the point. There is a critical situation in the Mediterranean and other parts of the world with regard to migrants and refugees. To be unsettled by the realities often faced by these people, is only correct and right, because only then will we as citizens and voters make the right choices.”
For more information on the event, or to watch the full lecture, see the news story on the UNU-GCM website.