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Maximizing diaspora engagement: Ensuring sustainability

Event date with timezone
- 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. 

Online simultaneous interpretation in Spanish and French will be available for the event.

The third Global Exchange will focus on ensuring sustainability of diaspora engagement initiatives.

The purpose of this event is to analyze best practices on how to ensure long-term viability of diaspora engagement initiatives and programmes.

Discussions will be centred around the following questions:

- Why is it important to consider a long-term perspective in the development and design of diaspora engagement initiatives?

- What are the main challenges faced by practitioners working on diaspora engagement in ensuring the sustainability of their initiatives? How is it possible to overcome these challenges?

- What are they key elements that you have considered in designing diaspora engagement initiatives to ensure their long-term sustainability?

- How can diaspora leaders and networks maximize their long-term collaboration and synergies?





16:00 – 16:15   

Opening remarks   

Iori Kato, Senior Regional Advisor for Asia-Pacific (IOM)

16:15 – 17:20 

Ensuring sustainability in diaspora engagement 

Moderated by 

Emira Ajeti (Diaspora Engagement Consultant)


Naana Otoo-Oyortey




Marcelino Miranda (Deputy Director General for Legal Affairs at Mexico’s Foreign Ministry)

Fridah Ntarangwi (Founding & Managing Partner at Zidicircle)


Alhaji Allie Bangura

(The Afro-German Academic Network)


Undersecretary Astravel Pimentel-Naik

(Commission on Filipinos Overseas)

17.20 – 17.45   

Remarks and Q&A 

17.45 – 18.00   

Closing of the session    

Dr. Amba Pande (JNU, New Delhi)

  Vote of thanks Dr. Carine Nsoudou (ADEPT)
Topic / Panel Areas

Opening remarks  

Iori Kato

Mr. Iori Kato assumed the position of Senior Regional Advisor for Asia and the Pacific of International Organization for Migration (IOM) – the UN organization for migration – in August 2020, supporting the Office of the Director-General Mr. António Vitorino, with related to IOM work in Asia-Pacific to promote and ensure safe, orderly and regular migration from, to, and within the vast, diverse and complex region. Mr. Kato works closely with IOM Regional Office for Asia-Pacific in Bangkok and IOM Missions in the countries across the region on various migration and displacement related issues, ranged from migration policy, to emergency preparedness and post-crisis response, protection of migrants from violence, migration health, labour migration, immigration and border management, and environment and climate change impacts on migrants. Currently major focuses include the COVID-19 pandemic response. Liaison with Asia-Pacific member states’ Permanent Missions in Geneva is also among Mr. Kato’s responsibilities.

Mr. Kato carries Master of International Affairs (M.I.A. 2003) from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, and Bachelor’s degree (1995) from International Christian University, Tokyo. He authored Re-conceptualizing Humanitarian Intervention (2004).


Emira Ajeti

Ms. Ajeti is a dynamic leader with over twelve years of experience in bridging the gap between the private and the public sector. She has interacted intensively with the African and the Balkan diaspora, as well as the private sector, the national and local governments, international organizations, including International Organization for Migration (IOM), European Commission (EC), USAID, and the World Bank providing private sector development, policy and strategy development services. She successfully led the process of  Kosovo’s membership to the IMF and World Bank in June 2009.

She holds an MBA and has developed and managed over 30 projects, including donor funded projects. She served as the markets and export manager at the $13.9 million USAID EMPOWER Private Sector project, where she connected Kosovo businesses with new markets, making long-lasting and impactful linkages. Currently she serves as the Public-Private Dialogue Advisor at the USAID Kosovo Economic Governance activity to support a self-reliant and inclusive governance of the business environment.

In the past months she has been engaged as a co-Consultant for IOM Mauritius and Seychelles to develop the National Diaspora Engagement Action Plan, as well as before that she worked for IOM Lesotho for Diaspora Engagement Policy Development. She also serves on IOM’s Advisory Board of iDiaspora.


Naana Otoo-Oyortey 

Naana Otoo-Oyortey MBE is the Executive Director of FORWARD, the leading African diaspora women’s rights organisation in the UK working on female genital mutilation (FGM). For over 30 years Naana has championed gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights of African women and girls. She pioneered work on child marriage at the international level. Her interest areas are in young women’s leadership development, participatory research and training.

Naana has an MPhil in Development Studies from Sussex University and received her MBE in 2009. She is a board member of the Gender and Development Network and co-founder of the End FGM European Network.

Alhaji Allie Bangura

Allie has developed a breadth of experience on the topics of international business development and finance with a focus on emerging economies. By gaining work experience in Asia and Africa within a leading German advisory firm and a renowned Financial institution in the area of international banking, he built a strong foundation and knowledge base in the field of international business development with a focus on Africa and Trade Finance. Besides this, he attained a deep understanding of impact investing with a focus on fundraising and marketing of impact investing opportunities from international private and institutional investors. He is the founder and member of the board of ADAN e.V. a non-profit diaspora organization that aims to provide a platform for interaction between Afrogermans, Africans, and Africa-interested students and Young Professionals with a focus on career and personal development. The organization currently has 350+ members in 9 cities across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and offers different formats and events that aim to empower its members. Furthermore, the organization works with companies like Goldman Sachs, Zalando, and Accenture where they support the companies on employer branding efforts to attract more Black and People of Color.

Allie is a member of several Advisory Boards and holds a Master's degree in international business and politics from the Queen Mary University of London as well as a certificate in Venture Financing from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

Astravel Pimentel-Naik 

Undersecretary Astravel is a distinguished public servant, an experienced trainer and speaker on migration and diaspora. She has been in government service since 1999 and she rose from the ranks, starting her government service as a front desk officer in the office of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. She was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte as Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) from 2016 to 2018. Since 2018, she has been serving as the Executive Director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

Marcelino Miranda 

Lawyer, Political Scientist and Mexican Career Diplomat.  He is currently Deputy Director General for Legal Affairs at Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.   

Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle, in France. He holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science (Comparative Democratization) from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. He has a Bachelor of Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Former Mexican consul for assistance to migrants in Chicago, attaché for border affairs, press and consular services at the Embassy of Mexico in Belize. He has also served as junior advisor to the Office of the President of Mexico, Mexico’s Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Development, the Consumer Protection Agency, the Electoral Authority, as well as participated in the foundation of Mexico’s Anti-Discrimination Authority.

Fridah Ntarangwi 

Fridah is the Founding & Managing Partner at Zidicircle, an inclusive entrepreneurship and Financing ecosystem supporting Diaspora entrepreneurs and SME’s in Africa to build impactful ventures both abroad and in their countries of origin. As a startup ecosystem builder, she has supported startups across the EMEA region. Some of her initiatives include the Semi-annual Diaspora Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, The Kenyan tech International Entrepreneurship Programme, Ghana’s Green diaspora match making programme, The diaspora startups-East Africa SME Engage Forum and the Diaspora venture backers programme. She was awarded by the EMEN project of the European Union (EU) for promoting inclusive entrepreneurship in the EU and was bestowed the Duisenberg title 'Woman in Finance'. She holds a business degree and a masters in finance and law. She is passionate about building an inclusive entrepreneurship and Financing ecosystem for the migrants, developing economies and women entrepreneurs. 

Closing remarks  

Dr Amba Pande

Dr Amba Pande is associated with School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.  Dr Pande received her PhD from Centre for Southeast Asia and South West Pacific Studies, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi. Her research interests include Indian Diaspora, International migration and Indo-Pacific.  She has also been a visiting faculty/scholar at University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), University of South Pacific (Fiji), and Otego University (New Zealand).  She has done major projects on Indian diaspora with University Grants Commission (UGC) and Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR).  Dr Pande is a prolific writer and has many publications to her credit in national and international journals. She has been invited to give independent lectures, present papers, be discussant and Chair in a number of national and international seminars and conferences.  She is currently working on a book manuscript on Fiji Indians and  Diasporic Identities. 


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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3rd-global-exchanges-2021_3.pdf 5.7 MB