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DPS_Report18_v5

Over 19,000 people at

Over 19,000 people at Madison Square Garden in New York chanted and roared for Narendra Modi, who was elected in May. Some wore white Modi T-shirts over their clothes. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times DIASPORA AS AMBASSADORS: Representing the Country of Origin Abroad Another model of diaspora engagement is centered around government outreach. Increasingly, governments around the globe are proactively engaging their diasporas as mechanisms for economic growth and celebrating cultural identity. The Irish government was, and continues to be, a leader in this regard. Its groundbreaking diaspora outreach programs focus on inviting Irish diasporans “home” as tourists encouraging them to support their homeland with philanthropic giving. Scotland and Israel have both created programs that facilitate diaspora return, called “Homecoming” in Scotland and “Birthright” or “Taglit” in Israel. India is the newest example of large-scale government outreach to a diaspora: the government has evolved from a traditionally limited view of Indians living abroad to one in which these communities play a key role in defining “Indian-ness” outside of the subcontinent. In a recent example of government engagement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a crowd of over 19,000 Indian diaspora members at a 2014 rally at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Indian government is increasingly activating its overseas communities to be informal ambassadors for its culture, policies, and economic ambitions. A main goal of government outreach to diasporas is to increase capital flows in the form of investment or philanthropic giving towards the country. DIASPORA FOR A CHANGE: Advocating for Policy Change in Home Countries Even from afar, diasporans care and are often the driving force behind specific policy challenges in their home countries, whether to improve access to education, mitigate the impacts of climate change, or encourage an end to armed conflict. Policy issues can serve as a powerful rallying point for diasporas. Groups such as the Kosovo-based Germin are organizing their diaspora across the world to advocate on behalf of the diaspora through various initiatives such as a diaspora rights dialogue and knowledge sharing, while also engaging with governments on different topics. Diaspora involvement in policy issues can also be aimed at solving more mainstream challenges such as education. Education was the primary motivation for the creation of the first Jamaican Diaspora Taskforce. Initiated by a member of the Jamaican diaspora in the US, the Jamaican Diaspora Taskforce works with the Government of Jamaica on important policy issues. Informal group of diasporans from the US, Canada, and the UK are engaged in these Taskforces, each of which represents a cause such as immigration, technology, agriculture, and education. The Taskforces work in tandem with the private and public sectors, serving as advisors, idea factories, financial contributors, and supporters for Jamaica in their new communities. DIASPORA PHILANTHROPY | PAGE 12