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Axel Springer Lecture at ESMT Berlin with Matthieu Aikins

Travels Beyond the Margins: A Journey with Refugees from Afghanistan to Europe

In 2016, as a crisis unfolded on Europe’s borders, journalist Matthieu Aikins’ closest friend in Afghanistan decided to escape his country--and Aikins decided to go with him. Together, they traveled thousands of kilometers from Central Asia to the Mediterranean in the company of refugees and smugglers. Aikins will discuss his forthcoming book, based on his journey with his friend, and what the future holds for the world’s refugees.

The discussion will be moderated by Patrick Kingsley, international correspondent for The New York Times and author of The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Migration Crisis.

Please note that this event is off the record.


Thursday, October 1, 2020
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (CEST)
ESMT Berlin, Schlossplatz 1, 10178 Berlin

”Axel Springer Lecture at ESMT Berlin: Travels Beyond the Margins: A Journey with Refugees from Afghanistan to Europe”

Speaker: Matthieu Aikins, Contributing Writer, The New York Times Magazine and Fall 2020 Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin
Moderator: Patrick Kingsley, international correspondent for The New York Times and author of The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Migration Crisis


About the speaker

Matthieu Aikins is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and a winner of the Polk and Livingston Awards. He completed his BA at Queen’s University and MA at New York University in Near Eastern studies, and has been a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, New America Foundation, Type Media Center, and The Nation Institute. Aikins is a two-time finalist for both the National Magazine Award and the Michael Kelly Award, and has received the Polk Award, Livingston Award, James Foley Medill Medal, and the Overseas Press Club Award. His feature writing and photography have appeared in publications including Harper’s, The Atlantic, GQ, Newsweek, Wired, and The Guardian. He is also a frequent guest commentator and analyst on radio and television, including MSNBC, the BBC, CBC, and National Public Radio.

At the Academy, Aikins will work on his book about the global refugee crisis, to be published in 2021 by Harper, based on a journey he made with Afghans. Wars, coups, and crises in Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Greece, background the stories of people displaced by conflict and poverty as they follow treacherous routes toward an uncertain welcome in the West. In 2016, one of Aikins’s closest friends in Kabul was rejected by the US Special Immigration Visa program; his paperwork was deemed insufficient, though he had worked as an interpreter for the US Special Forces. Aikins accompanied his friend on a three-month journey from Afghanistan to Europe. The last section of his book takes place in the midst of Europe’s No Borders Movement, a vibrant activist tradition with, Aikins notes, no real parallel in the United States. Aikins plans to explore a number of connections “between America’s war and Europe’s crisis, between literature and policy, and between the stories that together form a common narrative of how we must live together on this earth.”

In cooperation with