Conference | Diaspora: Diplomacy: Development

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An international conference – 24-26 May 2018

Venue – Day One, The Davenport Hotel

Venue – Day Two & Three, UCD Clinton Auditorium, University College Dublin, Belfield

Diaspora – a word of Greek origin meaning “dispersion” – is one of the oldest forms of human networking, long predating the invention of nation states. Today, in a time of radically diffused global power, diasporas have been reenergised and retooled as agents of diplomacy and development. Some governments view diaspora as a soft power resource that extends nation-state capacities – ministries, institutions, and programmes have been created to engage diaspora as agents of diplomatic and development goals. At the same time, diasporas are actively engaging arenas of transnational commerce, communications and politics in ways that disrupt normative ideas and practices of global governance.

UCD Clinton Institute will host an international conference in Dublin that will bring together government and NGO actors, academic scholars, corporate representatives, and a diverse range of diaspora agents to address global examples of the intersections of diaspora, diplomacy and global development.

Panels include:

  • diaspora engagement: policies, models, strategies, and partnerships
  • economic development: remittances, investment, and entrepreneurship
  • conflict and crisis: peace-building, humanitarian aid, and post-crisis recovery
  • innovation: technological solutions for development and migration challenge
  • education: knowledge and skills transfer, mentorship, and e-learning
  • digital diasporas: social-media and mobile communications and commerce
  • diaspora politics: activism, voting, and lobbying

Participating Organisations include:

    • United States Agency for International Development (US)
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ, Germany)
    • Danish Refugee Council (Denmark)
    • International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
    • African Diaspora Network (US)
    • Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA)
  • GERMIN (Kosovo)
  • Localized (US)
  • Embassy of Nigeria (Ireland)
  • Department of Lithuanians Abroad (Lithuania)
  • Institute for Mexicans Living Abroad (Mexico)
  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • National University Singapore (Singapore)
  • SOAS University of London (UK)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)



This is a draft programme subject to change

Thursday 24 May

VenueThe Davenport Hotel,  8-10 Merrion Street Lower, City Centre

9.00               Introduction

9.15               Minister Ciaran Cannon (Minister for the Diaspora and International Development)

9.30               Why Diaspora?

Liam Kennedy (UCD Clinton Institute), “Why Diaspora Now?”

Kingsley Aikins (Diaspora Matters), “Why Diaspora Initiatives Fail”

10.30             Tea/Coffee

11.00             Discussion 1: Investment and Entrepreneurship

Pedro De Vasconcelos (International Fund for Agricultural Development)

Almaz Negash (African Diaspora Network)

Indianna Minto-Coy (University of the West Indies)

Barry O’Brien (Williams Caribbean Capital)

Rune Rasmussen (Copenhagen Capacity)


12.15             Lunch

1.15               Discussion 2: Digital Diasporas

Ronit Avni (Localized)

Jessica Colaco (Brave Venture Labs, Nairobi) tbc

Salpi Ghazarian (University of Southern California)

2.15               Discussion 3: Conflict, Crisis and Humanitarianism

Laura Hammond (SOAS, University of London)

Barlin Ali (United States Agency for International Development)

Mingo Heiduk Tetsche (Danish Refugee Council)

3.15               Tea/Coffee

3.45               Discussion 4: Development and Civil Society

Roberta Romano (International Organization for Migration)

Onike Shorunkeh-Sawyerr (German Development Agency)

Chibwe Henry and Dilys Winkerkorn (Comic Relief)

4.45               Discussion 5: Ireland’s Diaspora Engagement

Colman Lydon (Irish International Business Network)

Joanna Murphy (Connect Ireland)

Martin O’Brien (Social Change Initiative)

5.45               Close


Friday 25 May

Venue – University College Dublin, William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium

9.00               Introduction

9.15               Diaspora and Diplomacy – New Research Directions

Nick Cull (University of Southern California), “Diasporas and Public Diplomacy”

Elaine Ho (National University of Singapore), “Diaspora Diplomacy: In Whose Service, for What Purpose?”

10.30             Tea/Coffee

11.00             Seminar A: Memory and Mobilisation

Ronen A. Cohen (Ariel University), Diaspora and Yearning – The Iranian Exile’s Diluted Identity”

Katalin Nagy (Corvinus University of Budapest), “Diaspora as a conservatory of a nation’s cultural memory?: The history and roles of the American-Hungarian diaspora community”

Ayumi Takenaka (Meiji University), “The Emergence of “Nikkeijin”: A Historical Analysis of Japanese Diaspora Engagement”

Katarzyna Skorek (European Academy of Diplomacy, Warsaw), “Unifying the Polish-Canadian diaspora across generations: The roles of diplomacy and understanding context in facing challenges and changing needs”

11.00             Seminar B: Diaspora and Development

Olakunle Michael Folami (Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria), “Diasporas and Development: An Exploration of Externalisation of National Questions by Foreign-based Nigerians”

Kondwani Bell Munthali (Malawian journalist and diplomat), “Diplomats and Diaspora Engagement: The Case of Southern Africa Development Community”

Bashair Ahmed (Shabaka Social Enterprise & University of Sussex), “Children of Migrants as Transnational Humanitarian and Development Actors- Challenges and Opportunities”

Charlotte Mueller (Maastricht University / United Nations University-MERIT), “What is the diplomatic role of diasporas in knowledge transfer? Evidence from IOM’s CD4D-Programme”

12.30             Lunch

1.15               Discussion 6: Diaspora Innovation and Leadership

Behar Xharra (Germin)

Alison Coburn (Common Purpose)


2.15               Seminar C: Long Distance Politics 1

Gessica Cosi (UCD) “Ireland’s ‘diaspora diplomacy’ during the War of Independence (1919-1921): a case study in diaspora engagement”

Carsten Schäfer (University of Cologne, Germany), “China, de-territorialized? Overseas Chinese in Austria and Beijing’s international image campaign: The case of the 2008 Tibetan unrest”

Iain Watson (University of Edinburgh), “The Scottish Diasporas in New Zealand and Hong Kong and the 2014 Independence Referendum”

Fidelma Breen (University of Adelaide), “The Irish Diaspora in Australia”


2.15               Seminar D: Diaspora Diplomacy

Amit Gupta (USAF Air War College), “Diasporas and Diplomacy:  The India-US Relationship”

Madeleine Goubau  (Université du Québec à Montréal), “Public Diplomacy aimed at Diaspora: Telling Haitians in the United States Not to Come to Canada”

Samah Ahmed (Shabaka Social Enterprise), “Identity Politics and Cosmopolitanism in Diaspora Diplomacy”

Xu Guangqiu (Jinan University, China), “Chinese Diaspora in the U.S. and Beijing’s New Diaspora Diplomacy”


3.45               Tea/Coffee

4.15               Discussion 6: Diaspora Policy 1

Edmond Ademi (Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Republic of Macedonia)

Vartan Oskanian (former Foreign Minister of Armenia)

Grzegorz Morawski (Department of Cooperation with Polish Community Abroad)

Marijus Gudynas (Department of Lithuanians Abroad)

Lela Shvelidze (Department of Diaspora of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgia)

5.45               Reception


Saturday 26 May

Venue – University College Dublin, William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium

9.15               Discussion 7: Diaspora Policy 2

Amb. Uzoma Emenike (Embassy of Nigeria, Dublin)

McDonald Mazati (Diaspora Affairs Unit, Malawi) tbc

Sherihan Habib (International Organization for Migration, Egypt) tbc

10.15             Seminar E: Diaspora Business and Entrepreneurship

Maheswar Satpathy (Utkal University, India), “Global Neighbourhoods, Knowledge Economization, and Diaspora”

Gea D.M. Wijers (Wageningen University), “Dutch, French and German Foreign Policy Support to Returning Diaspora Entrepreneurs: A Comparative Study in Morocco”

Osa-Godwin Osaghae and Thomas Cooney (Dublin Institute of Technology), “Immigrants as Key Drivers of Transnational Diaspora Entrepreneurship”

10.15             Seminar F: Long Distance Politics 2

Hendrik Platte (PhD, University of Konstanz), “Lobbyists Abroad? Diaspora Influence On Sanctions Against Their Homeland”

Gillian Kennedy (Kings College London), “‘Explaining episodic and sustained diaspora mobilisation among Egyptians after the 2011 Arab Spring”

Sardar Aziz (Senior Adviser, Kurdistan Parliament Iraq/University College Cork, “Iraqi Kurdish Diplomatic Diaspora”

11.30             Tea/Coffee

12.00             The Future of Diaspora Engagement


1.00               Close


Registration is now open.   Fee €150 and student €80

Please enter your email address instead of your home address when paying so that we can contact you in advance of the conference.

If you prefer to pay on the day, we only accept cash and you can email to register.



Ireland is not in the Schengen agreement, so you need to check whether a visa is necessary.  If you do need one and need a letter of support please contact Catherine Carey

Accommodation Options

It is advisable to arrange your accommodation as early as possible.  The following hotels/B&B are only suggestions ,check their price both on the hotel’s website but also through or as sometimes it might be cheaper on their sites..  In addition do check out Airbnb options.

The address for the University is Stillorgan Road, Donnybook, Dublin 4


 Avalon House

Guest Houses


An addition website to look for accommodation near the University

If you decide to stay in the city centre there is a bus that will bring you directly onto the campus, this bus is the 39A, but there are other options that will leave you outside the campus and on the opposite side of the road, these include the 46A and the 145.

Getting from the airport to the city or your hotel

It is advisable to get a bus to the city centre as a taxi could cost up to €45 depending on where you are staying.

Bus to City Centre Airlink 747

The is an excellent bus service called the Aircoach which goes from outside the arrivals hall and delivers people to a number of hotels both in the city centre and on the outskirts of the city including the first 3 hotels. The return fare is €16

Also, for short-term rentals, check out

To help, here is a map showing safe and accessible locations throughout the city

For further details, please contact Catherine Carey at UCD Clinton Institute:; tel. ++353 1 716 1560

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