2011: World on the Move: Unpacking Migration

"Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased."
- John Steinbeck

The 2011 theme examined the global challenges that cause the migration of communities - from human rights struggles and climate change to economic uncertainty and poverty. It was also an opportunity to investigate social, political and environmental challenges that result from migration.

With over 60 free events, guests explored topics like the "brain drain" impacts of talented immigrants leaving their home countries and the dislocating experiences of living in exile. Speakers discussed migration as a survival strategy in southern Africa, roadblocks to immigration, and how Canada's Transportation Loan policy for government-sponsored refugees forces most to begin their new lives in debt to the federal government.

Migration is often seen only as a racial and cultural phenomenon, but a whole underclass of artisans exists-writers, artists, photographers, and educators-who are forced to pull up stakes and leave their traditional homes in pursuit of work, and certainly in pursuit of their muse. Award-winning Canadian author Joseph Boyden shared his own insight into some of the journeys undertaken by countless artists over the last century.

Thousands of newcomers are pouring into Alberta from around the globe. Many are writers and storytellers. What pulls them to Canada? What happens to them on the journey? What experiences have they deliberately left behind? Edmonton editor and journalist Linda Goyette, the 2005 Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library, spoke with several writers from around the world about creating a new life in Alberta.

Featured guests:

  • Joseph Boyden, Canadian author and writer of Three Day Road and Giller Prize-winning novel Through Black Spruce
  • Linda Goyette, Albertan editor, journalist, and 2005 Writer in Residence at the Edmonton Public Library
  • Mohamed Yahya, refugee from Darfur region of Sudan and founder of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy
  • Harsha Walia, South Asian activist, writer and researcher and member of No One Is Illegal movement
  • Patrick Forrest, Adjunct Faculty at George Washington University and William J Fulbright Research Chair in North American Studies
View the International Week 2011 Program