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Maximizing diaspora engagement: Mobilizing resources

Event date with timezone
Thursday, 27-May-2021 16:00:00 - Thursday, 27-May-2021 18:00:00 Europe/Brussels
Type of Event


In 2020, iDiaspora coordinated three global exchanges with members of the diaspora responding to the pandemic. Through these virtual dialogues, different actors involved in the development of diasporic initiatives in America, Europe, Africa, and Asia were able to learn and share relevant experience to better include their members when responding to the global health crisis.

These events convened nearly 300 stakeholders including diaspora leaders, policymakers, academics and social workers interested in learning more about how diasporas responded to the COVID-19. These three global events contributed to the better understanding of diaspora engagement on three different levels. First, as a result of these events, it was possible to identify the different ways that transnational communities responded to the global pandemic through prevention, protection, relief, and recovery interventions. Second, during these sessions, participants shared a set of good practices in diaspora engagement based on connections, partnerships, and self-empowerment. Finally, through these discussions, participants were able to identify synergies and concrete collaboration opportunities. A key example was the foundation of the Global Diaspora Confederation, the world’s largest diaspora-led civic society organization to bring together diaspora organizations from across the world.

Although there are relevant global actors and important initiatives emerging to accelerate diaspora’s contributions to their homelands and hostlands, there are common challenges faced by stakeholders such as the lack of trust, difficulties regarding fundraising and the sustainability of initiatives in the long-term, preventing diasporas to reach their full potential and the establishment of more collaborative and successful environments for diaspora global engagement.

The 2021 Global Exchanges aim to gather experts on these topics to provide information on how to overcome common challenges faced by stakeholders engaging in transnational initiatives. By providing concrete strategies on how to build trustworthy relationships, find resources and funding and develop long-term strategies, stakeholders will be able to boost their transnational initiatives.

General Objectives of the Three 2021 Global Exchanges: 

  • Continue contributing to the self-mobilization and empowerment of diasporas by providing a space for sharing, coordination, and collaboration between different diaspora communities around the world.
  • Analyze and provide insights to self-identified common challenges such as trust, fundraising and sustainability.
  • Identify key lessons and best practices on the three key topics that will help global diasporas facing similar challenges to overcome them. 

The purpose of this event is to invite participants to discuss strategies to mobilize resources to feed diaspora engagement initiatives.   

Discussions will be centred on overcoming challenges around the following topics: fundraising campaigns, strategies for crowdfunding, and the use of technology as well as financing diaspora organisations. 





16:00 – 16:15   

Opening remarks   

Manfred Profazi - Senior Regional Adviser for Europe and Central Asia Office of the Director General 

International Organization for Migration


16:15 – 17:20 

Mobilizing resources in diaspora engagement

Moderated by Eric Guichard (CEO of Homestrings)  


Mbemba Jabbi

(Africa Centre)


Odile Robert, Deputy Head of Global Programme Migration and Development (SDC)

Everlyn Anyal Musa – Oito, Program Manager (Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program) 


Jorge Zavala

(Global Network of Mexican Talents)

Liza Gashi

(Executive Leader, Innovator, and Entrepreneur)

17.20 – 17.45   

Remarks and Q&A 

17.45 – 18.00   

Closing of the session    

Dr. Raj Bardouille (GRFDT)

  Vote of thanks Dr. Carine Nsoudou (ADEPT)


Topic / Panel Areas
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Opening remarks  

Manfred Profazi

Manfred Profazi is the Senior Regional Advisor for Europe and Central Asia in the Office of the Director General at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland since September 2017. 

Before his current assignment, Mr. Profazi was the Chief of Mission of the IOM Mission in Ukraine from 2010 to 2017. Previous to that, he served as the Executive Officer and in other functions at IOM Indonesia between 2006 and 2009. Prior to that, Mr. Profazi worked for 3 years as a Programme Manager for IOM in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

Before that, he was the Head of Office and Operations Coordinator of IOM’s Liaison Office in Berlin, Germany. He started his career with IOM as a consultant and later research assistant at the IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Prior to joining IOM in 1997, Mr. Profazi worked as a consultant at the German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut fuer Wirtschaftsforschung, DIW) in Berlin, Germany and at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Vienna, Austria. 

A German National, he received his master's degree in Political Science, with an emphasis on Migration and International Relations at the Free University of Berlin, Germany. He has conducted research on international labour migration, migration potentials, migration history and theories.   


Eric Guichard

Mr. Eric Guichard is founder & CEO of Homestrings, Inc., a Diaspora investment advisory platform. Homestrings advises public, private and multilateral organizations on how to mobilize diaspora capital for investment into public and private projects.

Prior to Homestrings Eric was Founder and Chairman of GRAVITAS Capital, an institutional asset management company he created in 1996. Before his entrepreneurial stint, Eric was Portfolio Manager at the World Bank where he also served as technical adviser to sovereign and multilateral institutions worldwide.

Eric is a graduate of the University of Dakar, in Senegal; of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh; and of the Harvard Business School, where he earned his MBA (World Bank Scholar and Harvard Fellowship award.)

He serves on several non-profit boards, including: The African Development Bank’s Steering Committee on Diaspora Investments; The International Organization on Migration Advisory Board on Diaspora Investments; the University of Maryland's Center for Financial Policy – an academic think tank on policy reform; and RemitFund, a Diaspora philanthropy platform. He also serves on a for-profit boards, including Ovamba Solutions.

In 2013 Eric received the "Entrepreneur of the Year Award" from London-based African Diaspora Awards for successfully launching In 2014, Homestrings Ltd received the "African Financier of the Year" Award from the Association of African-Owned Enterprises, UK.

Eric has published research at the Asian Development Bank: “Bangladesh Diaspora Bond Feasibility Study (2016)”, and “Sri Lanka Diaspora Bond Feasibility Study (2016)” under the Bank’s Promoting Remittances for Development Finance program. He has also published in the American Diplomatic Journal “Global Migrant Remittances – A New Development Finance Paradigm? Implementation Successes, Failures and US Foreign Policy Implications” (2018).

Eric has been featured in the following media outlets: The Wall Street Journal, Forbes – Africa Magazine, CNBC, Euromoney Magazine, BBC Television, and BBC Radio, among others.



Mbemba Jabbi 

Mbemba Jabbi holds a BSc. in Development Studies, a MSc. Agri. in Rural Development and an M.A. in Management obtained in Ireland. Mbemba is the founder and Managing Director of Jabbi Group Limited, a business and management consultancy company and the Executive Director of the Africa Solidarity Centre (“Africa Centre Ireland”) all based in Ireland. He has been carrying out research on the African Diaspora and their role in the development of Africa countries for the past 10 years. Mbemba mobilised African Diaspora to inform Ireland’s new International Development Policy in 2018.

He has been evaluating programme activities of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and facilitating dialogue between the private and non-profit sectors in Ireland on how they can work together in eradicating global poverty. Mbemba also serves on the African Union Commission’s Joint Labour Migration Committee. 

Mbemba is a Global Goodwill Ambassador on Humanitarian work related to the Sustainable Development Goals and was a recipient of the International Diversity Leadership award 2018. 

Jorge Zavala 

Jorge Zavala is an Electrical Engineer transformed into a Mathematician that evolved into a business developer engaged in venture backed high-tech startups. Jorge is very involved in new product and talent development focused in new ventures and highly innovative technology companies.  

With more than 16 years living in the Silicon Valley, Jorge has collected experience in consulting and facilitating with over 700 workshops and seminars with international companies looking how to build innovative and scalable new products.  

Workshops like “The Minimum Viable Mindset”, product development, enhance technical and management skills for executives, university academics and students from Mexico and Latin America to get feedback and capitalize lessons learned from the professionals who attended bootcamps in Silicon Valley as well market validation, growth hacking, go to market strategies and how to fund and scale companies using venture funds and large market opportunities.  

In 2020 launched a live conversation interviews over Facebook Live, conducting more than 350 interviews to people about how to Reinvent the Reinvention during the pandemic developing a unique style to help people to explore how to imagine a structured way to take action and develop new ventures as a person, as a professional person, as a community member(s) or in business endeavors. 

In 2012, published the book: “Think Like Silicon Valley been anywhere”. In 2013 published in Spanish the book co-authored with 13 other authors the book “Mas allá del Business Plan” – Beyond the Business Plan”.

In 2005, funded the “Red Global de Mexicanos” network of the Mexican Diaspora with more than 65 chapters around the world. Since 2015, as a part time professor, Jorge teaches in the Universidad Panamericana located in Guadalajara, Mexico the course to develop innovative projects in the Innovation Master Degree. 

A business writer of the weekly column “InnovArte” in the Mural newspaper from Guadalajara, Jalisco. 

Liza Gashi

Liza Gashi is an executive leader, innovator, and entrepreneur with global experience in policy, research, and engagement of multi-stakeholders in governance, development, migration, and diplomacy. Liza is a former Incumbent Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in Kosovo during Kurti Government 2020; founder and former executive director of GERMIN, a non-governmental organization that uses technology and virtual channels to connect and engage Diaspora in advancing the development and democratization of their home countries. Co-founder and former managing director of, a crowdsourcing digital engagement and diplomacy platform that connects Kosovars to the world, and the world with Kosovars. Founder and chairwoman of UWC Kosova, a National Committee of Kosovo for United World Colleges (UWC), a global education movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

Liza completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA) at Arizona State University and holds a bachelor's degree from Wartburg College (IA) in International Relations, Political Science, and Spanish Language and Literature. She is also a proud alumna of United World College in Costa Rica and the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. 

Odile Robert

Odile Robert is currently Deputy Head of the Global Programme Migration and Development at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation at the Headquarters in Bern. She has been working at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs for 10 years. She was a human rights advisor at the Swiss Mission to the OSCE and the UN in Vienna and a political officer in the Task Force for the 2014 Swiss OSCE Chairmanship. In 2015, she joined the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in charge of programmes for the Horn of Africa. Prior to that, Odile Robert worked for eight years in various positions at the Headquarters and in the field for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Odile Robert holds a Master degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Everlyn Anyal Musa – Oito

Everlyn Anyal Musa – Oito is a strategic program manager with focus on individual and organizational capacity building to advance inclusion. She currently manages the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) that has supported 528 African-born diaspora scholars to 168 universities in Africa (2013 – to date) for mutual collaboration on research, curriculum development and graduate students teaching and mentorship. This is with the aim of strengthening the capacity of African institutions to train learners with skills and knowledge relevant for current and future workplace and societal needs. Everlyn has participated in establishing a model for systematically mobilizing academic diaspora to play their role in the revitalization of African higher education matched with data base consisting of among others the scholars and their hosts, institutions, program alumni and evaluations etc. that is providing patterns for learning and decision making purpose. Before that, from 2004, Everlyn led the Kenya team of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) to identify, reach, select and mentor scholars from marginalized backgrounds for change leadership in their communities and professions resulting in institutional and community transformations. Focusing on higher education and leadership development as pathway to inclusion, IFP enabled more than 4,300 social justice leaders in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Russia to pursue graduate-level studies at the world’s top universities. In 2015, Everlyn played a similar role for the Catholic Scholarship Program (CSP) with focus on the same target group, learners from less privileged backgrounds who have commitment to their communities. She has contributed to book chapters on inclusion including in International Scholarships in Higher Education: Pathways to Social Change. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 edited by Dassin, Joan, with Robin Marsh and Matt Mawer. She holds a BA in Literature and Linguistics from Kenyatta University and an MBA, Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi.

Closing remarks  

Dr. Raj Bardouille 

Raj Bardouille holds a PhD degree in Economics (with labour and employment focus). She has well over 32 years of work experience in teaching and research in universities in the Caribbean and Africa regions and as senior economist in the United Nations system organizations, including in the field and at headquarters in New York. Her professional experience covers a wide range of socio-economic development issues and challenges in the Caribbean and Africa regions, including, among others, poverty reduction and sustainable development, labour and employment policies, financing development through private and international resource mobilization, gender and development, small and medium enterprise development, migration and development. 

Since leaving active service, Dr. Bardouille has continued her research on the nexus between migration and development. This she has pursued as an independent consultant, researcher, and also as an External Research Affiliate at York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies in Toronto, Canada ; and as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for African Development, Cornell University in New York State. Currently she is exploring the possibility of undertaking research on engaging the Caribbean Diaspora in the development of their countries of origin. Dr. Bardouille has a number of publications to her credit. 


Target Audience

The event is open to all diaspora communities with a focus on facilitating exchange between global diaspora communities. All participants will then be invited to register through iDiaspora and will have the opportunity to share their experiences and submit inputs and initiatives during the plenary discussion. 

Event Document(s)
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2nd-global-exchanges-2021_1.pdf 6.09 MB

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