In 2016, in the midst of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, the author was asked to give the keynote speech from the Christian perspective at the 44th International Conference for inter-religious dialogue amongst Jews, Christians and Muslims (JCM). This article is the edited version of this lecture. Due to the conference's framework, the article is predominantly based on personal experiences and expertise of the author. It outlines causes for people who seek refuge, raises questions about how this whole issue is being dealt with, and mainly engages with the topic of representation and perception of the situation and its challenges and consequences. At a time in which people leaving their home, be it voluntary or forced, is at an all-time high and seems to be becoming a common act, the author concludes that we need to reinterpret our understanding of these movements in order to share a peaceful and just life in community.
Michael Oliver Bothner holds a BA in Social Work from the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Freiburg, Germany, majoring in migration. He is a certified inter-cultural intermediary and has been closely engaged with the topic of discrimination, especially racism and sexism, for the past six years. Bothner served as a volunteer for the Pallottines and the Dominican Missionary Sisters of Schlehdorf, Germany, in Cape Town and Engcobo, South Africa, for eighteen months in 2003/2004.