Media-Friendly Glossary on Migration

A Media-Friendly Glossary on Migration was officially presented by the United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations (UNAOC) and Panos Europe Institute (IPE) during the UNAOC Sixth Global Forum in Bali.

The glossary was presented during a panel session on the Perception of Migration in front of an audience of media professionals, civil society organisations and distinguished guests.

His Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative of the UNAOC, highlighted the potential of this tool, designed for journalists, saying “The request for such a tool comes as an answer to two ongoing trends. On one side, the changing aspect of human migrations and of words used to characterize these movements. On the other hand, the pressure put on journalists - who don’t always benefit from a specific training on migration - to report in print and audio-visual media with precision and appropriate terminology.”

The glossary is the result of a year-long project supported by the Open Society Foundations. UNAOC and IPE reached out to a scientific committee, composed of eight international and civil society organisations working in the field of migration to draft the first version of this glossary: IDMC, IFRC, ILO, IOM, OHCHR, PICUM, TdH and UNHCR. The definitions provided by these organisations were subsequently reviewed by an editorial committee of media professionals, specialised in migration, working at The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, University of Columbia and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Charles Autheman, project manager at IPE, stressed the importance of appropriate terminology in media reporting on migration. He quoted a migrant, Vanessa Russo, who was interviewed during the drafting of the glossary and said “ Words matter […] so, using the proper vocabulary when speaking of someone is not a matter of superfluous courtesy. It is a matter of respect! Indeed, respect is the word that must be at the centre of all human interaction.”

Four hundred copies of the glossary were distributed to the participants during the forum. It is also available online at