Strengthening partnerships in the digital space to empower diasporas

7 December 2021

– The establishment of iDiaspora

iDiaspora is a digital space, funded by the IOM Development Fund, where diaspora leaders, organizations, experts, and institutions interested in diaspora engagement share their ideas, experiences, knowledge, and best practices in order to contribute to sustainable positive change and maximize the impact of transnational communities as development actors in their countries of origin and residence. ADEPT has been one of iDiaspora’s old partners and collaborators. Mr Gibril Faal, the Founding Director of ADEPT, was interviewed during the developmental stages of the iDiaspora platform to provide inputs on what needs the platform could address. When iDiaspora was formally launched on 8 October 2018, Mr Faal the Founding Director of ADEPT, spoke on the relevance of the platform to diaspora organizations and confirmed ADEPT’s interest in supporting the nascent initiative. Later that same year, iDiaspora coordinated with ADEPT a joint side event with the Citizenship and Diaspora Department of the African Union to the GFMD in Marrakech, where the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration would be adopted, and co-organized to ensure complementarity with ADEPT’s Diaspora Development Dialogue. ADEPT was represented at the side event by Stella Opoku-Owusu, Deputy Director of AFFORD. From then, ADEPT has been listed on the iDiaspora platform as a strategic partner.

 

– iDiaspora and ADEPT

In 2020, iDiaspora and ADEPT reinvigorated their partnership with the aim to enhance the capacity and empower diasporas at the global level. iDiaspora organised a presentation to key ADEPT board members in order to receive their inputs on the platform and on how it could better serve ADEPT’s members. This input, along with those collected from other stakeholders fed into the revamping of the platform which was relaunched in November of the same year. At the same time, and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, iDiaspora, ADEPT and other key stakeholders, co-organized two global exchanges to enhance the collaboration among diasporas responding to the pandemic from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe. As a direct result of these exchange events, iDiaspora and ADEPT along with the African Diaspora Network, the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals and Coalición por Venezuela organized a Joint Statement in Solidarity with Victims of Xenophobia due to COVID-19 which counted with over 250 signatory diaspora organizations. Based on this latter point, the Global Diaspora Confederation was born of which ADEPT was one of the initial board members.

After these successful outcomes, iDiaspora and ADEPT continued their fruitful partnership in 2021 through three specific initiatives. First, through the organization of three Global Diaspora Virtual Exchanges to Maximize Diaspora. These events co-organized with the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) and with the Centre for Research on North America (CISAN), aimed to gather experts on diaspora engagement to provide concrete strategies on how to build trustworthy relationships, find resources and funding and develop long-term strategies in the context of translational initiatives. Through these exchanges, diasporas and relevant stakeholders were able to unpack and identify concrete solutions to these three challenges. 

The second concrete initiative developed by ADEPT, iDiaspora, GRFDT and CISAN was the conceptualisation and launch of the online certificate programme: Migration Governance and Diaspora Engagement. The programme aims to provide participants with the opportunity to understand deeper nuances of migration governance and diaspora engagement from interdisciplinary and intersectoral perspectives. The collaboration between the four organisations, which includes policy-makers, academics and members of civil society, will provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to migration and diaspora studies. 

The third initiative that reflects the dynamic partnership between ADEPT and iDiaspora is a publication entitled “The Future of Diasporas” to appear in fall 2021. The publication aims to present the insights of experts including diaspora leaders, government officials, policy-makers and academics on how they foresee diaspora engagement in the next 10 to 20 years. The publication includes original arguments on policy, diplomacy, development, and entrepreneurship. In addition, authors provide prospective reflections on the social, economic, political, and human capital of diasporas and the potential they represent for their hostlands, homelands, within their communities and beyond.

iDiaspora and ADEPT have co-created joint actions to empower diasporas through capacity building activities, key events, and through open spaces of dialogue and engagement. The digital space is an environment where multiple stakeholders can co-create development initiatives, expand their networks, and foster new partnerships across the globe. Technology and digital platforms represent a great opportunity for diaspora stakeholders to engage in important initiatives regardless of the distance and place of residence. iDiaspora is committed to keep fostering new partnerships with diasporas to create innovative initiatives to empower diasporas through knowledge transfer, collaboration, and the recognition of their work. 

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