Covid-19 is affecting human mobility in unprecedented ways, with millions of workers stranded and losing their livelihoods. And with international migrants making up up 3.5 percent of the world’s population in 2019, contributing almost 10 percent of global GDP, the pandemic is having direct and long-term effects on human development and the global economy.

ICWA hosted a Zoom webinar on July 10, 2020 with three former fellows and experts on migration. Anthropologist Amelia Frank-Vitale and journalist Malia Politzer discussed their research and what the international community should understand in addressing the crisis. Journalist K.A. Dilday moderated.


K.A. Dilday is a journalist based in New York City. She has lived and worked in North Africa and Europe, and held staff positions at The New York Times and Essence Magazine. Most recently, she was a senior editor at Atlantic Media. She was an ICWA fellow based in France and Morocco in 2005-07.



Amelia Frank-Vitale is a cultural anthropologist based in New York City. Her work focuses on Central American migration and violence, including how deportees reconfigure their lives after being sent back to some of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Her ICWA fellowship in 2012-14 was in Mexico, where she studied migration through Mexico and the intersections between the war on drugs, organized crime groups, party politics and the violence faced by undocumented migrants.

Malia Politzer is an investigative journalist based in Spain who covers immigration, refugees and international development. She has written for Foreign PolicyThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and other outlets. Her ICWA fellowship in 2013-15 was in India and Spain, where she studied Europe’s refugee crisis, identity issues and religious tensions.




Photo: Crosses on the border barrier with Mexico representing people who died trying to enter the United States (Tomascastelazo, Wikimedia Commons)