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Cornell University

Coming Soon: A World on the Move


2020 was in many ways a year of isolation. We canceled flights and worked or studied on video calls at our kitchen tables. Our governments closed borders to both tourists and asylum seekers. We quarantined. We stopped taking the bus. We grieved our loved ones over zoom. But 2020 was also a year of movement. People continued to flee crises or violence in Venezuela, Libya, Ethiopia. Health care workers traveled across and between countries in response to surging COVID cases. We watched fires spread across huge swaths of Australia and then of the American West. We shared viral videos of bears climbing balconies in Italian villages, of water rendered clear in the absence of passing boats. In the U.S. and around the globe, we marched for racial justice, we went to the polls. We waited, we wait, for the shipment of vaccines. We anticipate the chance to travel far and to stand close. It was a year in which many of us confronted the significance of mobility and borders in new ways in our own lives and in structuring or disrupting the world around us. While the entanglements of human and non-human movements have been especially palpable these last months, they're of course not new. Our world is a world in motion. The pace and complexity of movement on our planet of humans, plants, animals, microbes, resources, ideas, and objects have shaped our realities over time, across space, and at scales ranging from the microscopic to the global. I'm Eleanor Paynter, postdoctoral associate with Cornell University's Migrations initiative, and this is Migrations: A World on the Move—a podcast that seeks to understand our world through the interconnected movements that shape it. With each episode, we speak with experts who highlight how multidisciplinary multi-species perspectives on migration help us understand key global issues. Subscribe now so you don't miss a single episode. Migrations: A World on the Move is a production of Cornell University's Migrations initiative, part of Global Cornell. To learn more, go to