The influx of migrants and refugees to Europe is a story that has dominated not only the headlines but also featured prominently on political and diplomatic agendas.
It's been a bitter-sweet story... one of solidarity and humanity on the one hand, and harshness and grief on the other hand.
As a migrant and an immigrant I can tell you that leaving your country of origin, leaving behind your family, your friends, your connections, networks, your identity and sense of safety and security and going to a foreign land is never anyone's first choice.
So when people migrate from a place and immigrate to another it is because of necessity. It is because they find themselves in a dire and desperate situation, it is because they find themselves between the rock and a hard place. It is because the only choice for a better and more dignified life is to move on... to migrate.
A lot of ink has been spilled on the perils of migration and immigrants. I am be utterly naive and ask for your indulgence to pause a minute and look at this challenge as an opportunity.
Consider the countries who welcome and accept migrants as venture capitalists or angel investors. Consider seeing the influx of migrants as an influx of talent, experience and expertise.
Imagine a world where nation state venture capitalists continuously and constantly create the right environment to unleash migrant's talents. Imagine a world where we continuously and constantly read about the achievements of sons of a migrants.
As a migrant and an immigrant, I can tell you, our journey is one that starts with an upheaval and uprooting. It is one of loss and pain. It may be one of humiliation and loss of dignity.
No matter what is the spark that ignites our journey as migrants, we all aspire and hope that the rest of the journey is one of hope, acceptance, solidarity and accomplishment. Every smiling and welcoming face we encounter along our journey is one that sows the seed of hope. Every opportunity, sows the seed of accomplishment. Every hurdle that we overcome, sows the seed of acceptance.
While we all hope to be able to go back to our countries of origin, we make the land that welcomed us our home. We integrate, contribute and join forces to make our new home a better place and in doing so, we embrace what Pope Francis said to the Latino immigrants in Philadelphia, We try "not be ashamed of your traditions.” His Holiness reminded us: “Do not forget the lessons you learned from your elders, which are something you can bring to enrich the life of this American land. I repeat, do not be ashamed of what is part of you, your lifeblood. You are called to be responsible citizens and to contribute, like others who with so much strength did before you . . . fruitfully to the life of the communities in which you live.”
As migrants, we become citizens of the world and have many homes. We thank the warm and welcoming smiles and embraces, we thank the opportunities offered to us and we look forward to be able to give back.