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Migration, mobility, and elections

After celebrating Routed Magazine’s two-year anniversary, we bring to you our 14th edition – on migration, mobility, and elections. In the midst of restricted movement and mobile voting, elections remind us of the salience of mobility in the political process. How do migrant communities mobilise to vote? What role do migrant candidates play? How does mobility impact elections?


Ideas of nationality originated from the West are torn between civic values and ethnic exclusivity, with internally displaced persons facing manipulation ahead of elections in Kurdistan. In Brazil, the Municipal Council of São Paulo is a first step towards greater migrant participation in a stronger democratic space. Across Europe, non-EU nationals face disparate voting rights, some obtaining the vote after just a few years of residence, while others remain disenfranchised for decades, even in their countries of birth.

Meanwhile, complexities arise when allowing emigrants to vote in their countries of origin, such as Romanian and Polish emigrants in Oslo and Barcelona. We see the power of political capital abroad where activists fight for democracy from across the border, taking the example of Belarusian exiles in Lithuania, while South Korea has recently elected the highest-ranking North Korean defector ever.

Finally, this issue features three cultural pieces: an exploration of the cross-cultural adaptation of international students in Morocco; an interview with musicians participating in the Peruvian-Venezuelan Christmas concert in Lima, who show that the skills learnt through music can help in migration and in building bridges across communities; and a conversation with artist and designer Kacey Femi Ajayi about origins as a source of inspiration.

Thanks as always to our writers for sharing their stories and research. Please spread the word far and wide!

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(Lillian) Aleksandra Jolkina  - her own

Local voting rights for non-EU nationals in the EU: Democratic principle or earned privilege?

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Beyond voting: Migrants’ participation through consultative bodies and the Municipal Council for Immigrants in São Paulo

(Shaddin) Joseph Owens - Displaced Senti

Displaced sentiments: Consuming national identity abroad in Kurdistan’s vote for independence

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Belarus’s political capital abroad: The role of activists fighting for democracy from Lithuania

(Fiona) A traffic warden in PyongyangS.j

Thae Yong-ho: From North Korean defector to South Korean politician

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Migration and political (non-)participation in origin countries: Romanians and Poles in Oslo and Barcelona

(Madison) Benachour Saidi - picture by k

Cross-cultural adaptation of international students in Moroccan higher education

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The experiences of international students in Germany during COVID-19: A case study

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‘I have always been a person of two worlds’: Interview with Kacey Femi Ajayi, Nigerian artist and founder of Femi Creatives

(Hannah) Screenshot from Christmas Conce

Life skills through music: A gift beyond music from Venezuela to Peru

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