Most of us have been watching the images of Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country, crossing borders to find a new home in Western Europe. I have been asking refugees from other countries to share their views and advice about what’s happening. Here’s my latest conversation with Anila Noor, a refugee and founder of New Women Connectors (NWC), a Netherlands-based organisation that advocates systemic change in migration policies and helps connect refugee and migrant women in Europe and beyond (disclaimer: I am a board member). Anila is no stranger to this blog, as you can read here. Once again, her views give us pause.
Having worked on global development issues for over two decades, I should know who is an expert in my sector by now. I have many lists of experts on file and can’t help noticing a recurring trend: it’s usually people from a Northern/Western background, with endless degrees and credentials, most of them English-speaking. All of which begs the question: are these traits supposed to be the qualifications of the ultimate expert in my field? What if there’s a whole world of ‘expertise’ that we simply don’t consider?
With this post I have decided to focus almost exclusively on interviewing Southern policy-makers, practitioners and citizens, at least for the next few months. There really isn’t any need to filter what they think of humanitarian aid, development or climate change. The people I meet through my work often only need to have their voices amplified – and that’s what this blog is all about.
In the lead up to World Refugee Day on 20 June, it seems fitting to inaugurate a series of interviews I like to call “Refugees for Refugees”.