Why Diaspora Matters: New Trajectories in Diaspora Engagement and Research

Dr. Martin Russell, Diaspora Matters

In 2012, Khachig Tölölyan wrote a formative contribution on the past, present and promise of diaspora studies. The challenges and the promise outlined in this work, to a degree, remain undeveloped. Amidst continuing calls for a changing narrative and deeper analytical nuances in migration studies, this presentation will focus on the need for further work on an emerging fascination of recent years – diaspora engagement. By showcasing work of Diaspora Matters in over 30 countries, the seminar will outline some new potentialities around diaspora engagement and research. Moreover, designed to help early career researchers and policymakers, the seminar will take discussion beyond a theoretical understanding of why we should engage diasporas to an operationally bound focus on how we engage diasporas. Through showcasing our unique 4 step process in building diaspora networks, the seminar will help attendees build their networking skills and research capacities. Perhaps, most excitingly, the seminar will include a lot of fun stories from Ireland and elsewhere and will include stories of diaspora networking, fundraising, and politics. Stories will include some on President Reagan, President Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, the Disney family, the FBI, and how a napkin quite possibly changed the Peace Process in Northern Ireland!

About the speaker
Martin is Associate Director of Diaspora Matters. He was Senior Researcher on the Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit launched at then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s inaugural Global Diaspora Forum in 2011. He has also served on and chaired committees for the inaugural European strand of the Global Diaspora Forum and the recent Global Diaspora and Development Forum in 2014. He co-authored the “Supporting the Next Generation of the Irish Diaspora” report, commissioned by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is currently the lead consultant on an EU-funded project to develop a national diaspora policy in Malawi and has recently agreed to consult on work for the UK government. He has advised on diaspora policies and projects in North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Finally, in 2015, he will become director of the Diaspora Institute – Ireland’s first diaspora specific knowledge hub designed to bridge academia, policy and practice – and, more immediately, he is thrilled to be part of the UNU-MERIT family as a visiting fellow!

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 08 April 2015

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT