Pocket Philosophies is a passion project of graduate student Shanna Crumley and college professor Cristian Pancorbo. A storytelling blog by nature, its purpose is to highlight the underreported stories and personal narratives behind broader news stories and statistics surrounding immigration and migration. Begun in Colombia while Shanna was a Peace Corps Volunteer talking to internally displaced persons, this blog continues to drive both Shanna and Cristian to find the stories behindpicnic couple the stats.

The refugee and migration issue in Europe is close to home for both of them, so they jumped at the opportunity to travel by car from Spain to Greece, meeting people all the
way. They worked in a refugee camp in Greece, collaborating with a local NGO to provide education and children’s services.

As a European citizen, Cristian felt a strong connection to the ongoing crisis back on his beloved Mediterranean Sea. In Spain, he ran a shelter for refugees and immigrants from West Africa. Now a full-time professor at Pacific Union College in California, he is currently researching humanitarian issues for a new degree program beginning this fall.    His interests are international education and development as the key to progress and justice, ideas fueling his active participation in international projects ranging from painting classrooms to teaching seminars for teachers.

Shanna’s interest in refugee stories began during her internship with the US State Department, where she delved into the complexities of refugee policy and humanitarian crisis response. Later, as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, she heard stories of conflict and displacement, and realized the importance of storytelling to influence policy decisions and public sentiment. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs and Journalism at Columbia University, focusing on crisis management, human rights and international journalism.