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Cities of Migration

Thursday, January 15, 2015

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In this issue:
Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Flight and Freedom
The Promise of Pluralism
Telling Stories, Moving Pictures

Happy New Year!


Cold Hands, Warm Heart

In Toronto, December finds the city settling into a season of short cold days and glittering nights bright with seasonal lights, traffic and retail’s gaudy splendor. Weather changes our vocabulary: frost, flurries, ice, blizzards; it’s snowing, sleeting or slushy. The wind sweeps heavy snow up across Lake Ontario or drives Arctic air down from Hudson’s Bay. Dress warmly, stay close to home, find shelter.

Not so easy for many in the city. Very difficult for people made homeless by war and hardship.

On the International Day of Migrants and on the eve of a new year, we remember refugees around the world who feel the pinch of loss and dislocation every day. António Guterres, UNHCR, talks about shard human values that cross differences in culture, religion and geography. Ratna Omidvar describes the refugee experience as a journey each of us has a capacity to understand, and respond to. These stories, like the old adage, “cold hands, warm heart’, remind us to look for basic human kindness and generosity behind a rough exterior.

At this darkest time of year, the winter solstice celebrates the return of light and a promise of better, brighter days ahead. In solidarity with refugees, migrants and travelers everywhere, we wish you a safe and prosperous year in 2015.


Flight and Freedom

Dana Wagner talks to Ratna Omidvar: Why are we willing to open our doors to refugees? Because we believe in protecting vulnerable people, and we value the extraordinary potential of people who have survived the worst of humanity.

>> Read the Interview


The Promise of Pluralism

António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: "The “genie” of intolerance exists at both ends of the asylum-migration nexus. Against this reality, the voices of tolerance and reason and the values of pluralism need to rise."

>> Read the Opinion


Telling Stories, Moving Pictures

Storytelling and sharing good ideas are the bread-and-butter of work (and play) at Cities of Migration. The team at Global Diversity Exchange shares some great reads, books and films on global migrants and the cities we share. 

One unforgettable photo essay on the refugee experience is UNHCR Tracks: Syria's Oldest Refugees, an extraordinary photo-documentary of Syrian elders born over 100 years ago "...some ache for the past. Others pray for peace. And many dream of going home one last time." The photos speak to our universal humanity.

>> See recommendations


Follow CitiesMigration on Twitter     


Good Ideas Index

Search Good Ideas by themes in English, French, German, Spanish


Upcoming Webinar

January 29, 2015

Parks to Farms: Urban Migration and Community Development

Neighbourhoods like Tower Hamlets (London) and Thorncliffe Park (Toronto) have become destination and “arrival cities” for successive waves of urban migrants. Join us online to learn how community-led initiatives organized by local residents are bringing down social barriers, empowering residents and building a vibrant sense of community.

More info


Share Your Story!

At Cities of Migration, our Good Ideas about successful integration practice are travelling from city to city.

Do you have a Cities of Migration story to share? Contact us!


Contact Cities of Migration

Global Diversity Exchange (GDX)
Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director
Kim Turner, Project Leader
Evelyn Siu, Project Coordinator

For all regions, including UK, EU, US, and NZ, contact:


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Cities of Migration
The Global Diversity Exchange, Ted Rogers School of Management | Ryerson
University | 350 Victoria Street (Room YDI-1153)| Toronto, ON | M5B 2K3 | CANADA

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