Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rethinking the Diaspora: New Capital Flows

Featured Speakers: Shahid Javed Burki, Former VP World Bank, Former Finance Minister of Pakistan; Roopal Shah, IndiCorps; Dr. Jennifer Brinkerhoff, The George Washington University

What role do Diaspora communities play in development today? In this informative panel discussion, attendees heard the benefits that Diaspora communities have to both their host and home countries, and the impact their contributions can make to third world development when utilized properly. With U.S. remittances totaling an estimated 25 billion dollars a year, and U.S. government overseas aid totaling at just over 15 billion dollars a year, the impact of Diaspora communities must not be ignored.

Shahid Javed Burki focused his presentation on the Pakistani Diaspora community, which is concentrated largely in the UK, North America, and the Middle East. Burki stressed that what he terms “Diaspora Economics” or “Diaspora Politics” must be taken seriously and be better studied by governments so that the effects of this phenomenon can be more fully understood. Roopal Shah on the other hand, Co-founder of Indicorps, approached the impact of Diaspora communities in a more holistic manner, stressing the importance of rethinking Diaspora engagement for a new generation, and finding an interpretation of homeland relations that is different from one’s parents’.

Finally, Dr. Brinkerhoff asserted the underlying importance of Diaspora communities by stating their role as actors – and legitimate actors – in development. The potential that Diaspora communities have in the realm of development should be harnessed by the development community as a whole. In order to engage Diaspora communities and channel their energy for development, the international development community must, as Brinkerhoff said, “Target the already mobilized” and not “Mobilize the targeted.”

Sponsor: International Resources Group

Location: 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 700

Date: Friday June 22, 2007

Time: 12:15 – 1:30 pm

Approximate Number of Attendees: 40

Intern Attending: Megan Niedermeyer

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