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Public Dialogue

Diasporic Contributions to Development: Opportunities and lessons learned

Dialogue Purpose

Since January 2011, SFU has hosted four public dialogues and a workshop series -- each exploring the many unique ways diaspora from the global south are leading initiatives to create change in their communities of attachment. 

In the dialogues we heard stories of people taking innovative leadership to reduce poverty, build infrastructure, improve health and education, respond to human insecurity and build peace. We also learned in the workshops about a broad range of projects aimed at providing choice and opportunity – from local fundraising for student scholarships, to developing business opportunities for local entrepreneurs -- people acting as cultural, economic and social bridges between north and south. In addition, we heard how the experiences of disaspora engaged in development activities are having a “looping effect” on their lives here in Canada, when diaspora bring their skills in development to the local scene where they live and work.

This dialogue examines the many ways in which diaspora contribute to development and explores what is required to enable diaspora to have greater impact including personal capacity development, public policy mechanisms, and institutional support.