New Neighbours: Young Refugees from Across Europe Guest Edit VICE.com

An introduction.

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May 29 2017, 5:00am

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are currently 65.3 million people around the world who have been forced from home. Of the nearly 21.3 million who are refugees, over half are under the age 18, and only a small percentage are hosted in Europe.

Meanwhile, global interest in the subject of the European migration crisis has fallen by 65 percent in the last year, as illustrated by Google trends.

Some will put this down to "compassion fatigue" or "bad news burnout" but to me the main problem is the media coverage of the topic. We could record the journeys of all 21.3 million refugees, using the most evocative language and the harshest imagery available but I still doubt enough people would pay attention – at least not enough to make a difference.

But with words like Brexit and Wall and everything they stand for, becoming part of our vernacular, now is not the time to give up. More than ever – as European countries take a nativist turn and become increasingly unwelcome to outsiders – it's vital that we rethink how we discuss the subject.

So at VICE we are looking to move the conversation along, by focusing on integration. Our European editors discovered young contributors who've settled in their respective countries and asked them to write about anything on their minds – whether that's love, music or the virtue of football. We wanted to show that just like all our writers and every single neighbour you've ever had, these young people have multifaceted personalities that cannot be defined merely by them being refugees.

The result is a collection of 16 articles that today we are publishing simultaneously in 12 languages and 14 European territories, in collaboration with UNHCR. Highlights include How to Be Fashionable on a Budget, All the Gaffes I've Made Since Arriving to the UK and A Playlist of the Songs I Listened to While Trying to Get from Syria to Europe.

Thanks to UNHCR, Olly Osborne, Wiegertje Postma and our VICE editors in Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Serbia, Poland and the UK for helping put this project together.

Elektra Kotsoni
Editorial Director, EMEA

Sign the UNHCR petition urging governments to ensure a safe future for all refugees here.

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