A session on Diaspora and Development Issues, Strategies and Practices at a Diaspora Conference organized by IGNOU throws light on the implication of nation state, on brain drain and its causes, costs and consequences, linkages with the home country

The session on “Diaspora and Development: Issues, Strategies and Practices” (Plenary I)

The panel was introduced by Prof R.K.Jain who was at the chair. He started with the notion of ‘diaspora’ and ‘development’. He said that though both the concepts are not self evident, yet there is strong connection between both. Touching the concept of ‘diaspora’ and its implication on nation- state, he said trans-nationalism has become a reality.

First paper was presented by Prof. Mark Boyle, titled “Towards a New Generation of Diaspora.

Centred Development: Current Practices and Emerging Priorities”. In his presentation he explained how diaspora strategy is an explicit policy initiative enacted by sending countries to fortify and develop relationship with expatriate communities. he said that different countries have adopted different practices, policies, programmes etc. to tap the diaspora. he said that robust diaspora is important for the representation of national interests and for that prior alignment with diasora stakeholders is a successful strategy. He critically reflected upon the mechanism through which particular diaspora policies become global examples of best practices. 

Prof. Boyle mentioned about Global Diaspora Strategist Toolkit (GDST), which is an important portal to compare and contrast diaspora strategy programmes and share best practices. He further said, IdEA, launched by Global Diaspora Forum, is intended to promote five core modes of diaspora engagement around the world. They are: 1) diaspreneuership 2) diasplomacy 3) diasporacorps 4) diaspora 2.0 and 5) diasphilanthropy. he presented the case of Ireland. 

Second paper was presented by Metka hercog and Dr. Gabriela Tejada on “The Link with home Country: A Comparative analysis of host Country Environments for Diaspora Engagements”. In their combine paper, they mentioned what the highly skills migrants can bring to their home countries are increasingly regarded as important for development and many countries are seeking ways to profit from the experience of the diasora. They took the case of India and explored the structural differences between host countries and conditions of Indian skilled migrants. They had selected four host countries – France, Germany, Switzerland and Netherland. They explore do these countries provide fruitful environment for diaspora engagement in home country development. 

They mentioned the migration policies of these four countries – Knowledge Migrant Scheme 2004 (Netherland), New Immigration Act 2005 (Germany), Skills and Talent Visa 2006 (France), New Foreign National Act 2008 (Switzerland). They also discussed the structural settings in these four countries in form of academic environment and bilateral cooperation. They conducted survey of Indian professionals (ICT, Finance and Management, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals and Academia) residing in these four countries. They found that Indian professionals abroad cultivate strong trans-national links and express interest in development of India but there is low level of institutional contacts and lack of information about government schemes. 

Third paper presented by Prof. Brij Maharaj on “The African Brain Drain- Causes, Costs and Consequences”.

- To be continued


December 2011

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