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Young Diaspora Leaders


iDiaspora, a world-class digital knowledge and collaboration hub dedicated to empowering and supporting diaspora communities and other migrant groups globally, and IOM, the UN leading international organization in migration issues, created the Young Diaspora Leaders Initiative, seeking to inspire young leaders from transnational communities.

IOM defines Diaspora as “Migrants or descendants of migrants whose identity and sense of belonging, either real or symbolic, have been shaped by their migration experience and background. They maintain links with their homelands, and to each other, based on a shared sense of history, identity, or mutual experiences in the destination country.”

These 10 young leaders for the 2022 cohort have self-identified as diaspora members and we believe that their story, background, and diverse thinking will contribute to helping empower young people with diverse migrant backgrounds and experiences, first-second-third generation migrants or beyond, or anyone who considers themselves with multiple nationalities, national identities or connections to multiple “homelands”. Their work and achievements can provide inspiration to the youth around the world, by showcasing their experiences, ideas, and motivations.

Why diaspora? diaspora leaders and diaspora groups play a significant role in sustainable development. During the Global Diaspora Summit in April 2022 and the 77 United Nations General Assembly in September 2022 side event on Diaspora as Key Partners Across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace-Nexus, government officials agreed on the necessity to empower individuals in the diaspora. We know that diaspora are leaders already, which is why we want to highlight and share inspiring stories and provide more avenues for young leaders to further reach their communities, wherever those communities are.

Khadija Tirha

Full Biography and Interview

Jamal Hill

United States of America
Full Biography and Interview

Heela Yoon

Full Biography and Interview

Gibson Kawago

Full Biography and Interview

Elana Wong

Malaysia and Singapore
Full Biography and Interview

Alicja Lelwic-Ojeda

Full Biography and Interview