Engaging Diasporas

Led by Cindy Horst

Jul 2008 – Dec 2008

European state institutions and non-governmental organizations increasingly wish to utilize the knowledge and experience of diaspora organizations in development and peace-building activities. Yet, there are challenges in finding ways of meaningfully interacting and cooperating with these organizations. For European actors, it is often difficult to position individual members of the diaspora while it is not uncommon to find significant divisions within diaspora groups. For diaspora organizations, it is frequently difficult to understand and comply with mainstream regulations and processes for civil society engagement. As a consequence, state and non-state actors largely do not collaborate in development and peace building in a constructive way. Still, interesting initiatives take place and could function as ‘good practice’ elsewhere. This project includes a review of the evidence available in order to write a PRIO Policy Brief on the issue of diaspora engagement. This Policy Brief will include a section on what the main challenges are; what lessons we can learn from existing initiatives; and recommendations. It also describes one or two ‘best practice’ case studies, to serve as examples of successful initiatives to date.

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