On 8 October 2018, the iDiaspora platform facilitated by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, was launched at the Palais des Nations Geneva, Switzerland.  Over 70 representatives from governments, the private sector and civil society participated in  the official launch of this global engagement and knowledge exchange hub for transnational communities. An interactive panel discussion on “Reaching out to Diaspora through technology” was part of the launch event.

 

The panel which was moderated by IOM Deputy Director General, Laura Thompson and consisted of El Habib Nadir, Secretary General of the Ministry in charge of Moroccans living abroad and migration affairs and Chair of the GFMD; Colman Lydon, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Everwise and member of the iDiaspora Advisory Board; Honey Thaljieh, Corporate Communications Manager at Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA); and Gibril Faal, LSE Visiting Professor in Practice & ADEPT Special Adviser.  

 

Discussions highlighted the crucial role technology and, in particular, the Internet has and can play in regard to transnational communities by connecting them across, between and within countries to avail themselves of commercial, educational, cultural and professional opportunities that help them to stay in touch with their roots. Examples of this were made by the panel discussion. Notably, El Habib Nadir, emphasized the important role of technology in connecting Morocco’s diaspora.

  

Speaker and iDiaspora board member, Colman Lyndon elaborated on the platform’s promise, "The early development phase of the iDiaspora platform serves as a great example of collaboration across multiple disciplines…the exciting iDiaspora initiative can flourish in service to diaspora constituents, in a new and purposeful way." 

 

Speaking on the inter-relation between sports and diaspora, Honey Thaljieh said, “The power of football is evident not only in integration, providing a sense of belonging, and a collective identity to migrant communities, but also is enriching host communities with diverse experiences, skills, and shared victories such as the FIFA World Cup.”

 

On the topic of the power of diaspora communities, Professor Faal shared, "The diaspora undertakes development work in countries of origin and heritage not as a job, but as a way of life. These diasporas are inherently efficient in poverty reduction at a micro-level. Substantive and substantial institutional engagement and partnerships enable scalability, replication and enhanced macro-level development impact." He also elaborated the role of new opportunities such as telemedicine.   

 

Following the panel, the floor was opened for participants. They emphasized the need to scale up the platform and expressed an interest in continued investment into iDiaspora.  

 

iDiaspora is committed to enhancing meaningful engagement and collaboration among diasporas and seeks to grow through partnerships with diaspora organizations, governments and the private sector to ensure the impact and sustainability of the platform moving forward.

 

 

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