Refugees of the Mediterranean Sea

This summer, as part of the team that won the 2015 Vimy Global Team Award from the UNC Center for Global Initiatives, I began work on a project about refugees in the Mediterranean. The Vimy Grant offers funding for interdisciplinary research or service projects outside the United States. I represent the Department of City and Regional Planning, and the other two members of the team are two very talented master’s students from the UNC School of Media and Journalism, Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp.

Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photographers: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp
Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photo Credit: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp

Our project focuses on the ongoing migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, as thousands of refugees from numerous countries seek refuge and opportunity in Europe. This mass migration is compelled by conflict, repressive governments, and lack of opportunity in the migrants’ home countries. Although this issue has garnered a great deal of international attention, it is a topic that is all too often ignored until the devastating aftermath of a humanitarian disaster. The objective of our project is to create empathy and understanding by bringing attention to the human stories behind this phenomenon.

Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photographers: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp
Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photo Credit: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp

Based in the southern Italian city of Reggio di Calabria – a major entry point for refugees rescued at sea – Andrea and Gabriela spent the summer documenting, through film and photography, the stories of refugees who have undertaken the journey. I have been researching migration policy and reading scholarly work on the driving forces behind the migration to help to contextualize Andrea and Gabriela’s documentary work. The project will continue to be developed throughout the semester, but the materials we created this summer will ultimately form part of an interactive website on the migration issue. This website is being developed as part of a class in the UNC School of Media and Journalism and should be completed by December.

Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photographers: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp
Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photo Credit: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp
Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photographers: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp
Refugees arrive in Reggio di Calabria, Italy. Photo Credit: Andrea Patiño Contreras and Gabriela Arp

About the Author: William Moose is a second year DCRP master’s candidate from North Carolina with a specialization in transportation. His interests extend to many areas, including migration, both in the US and abroad.

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