Migration Policy Institute
Diasporas: New Partners in Global Development Policy
Thomás Debass, Regional Director of Global Partnership Initiatives, Office of the U.S. Secretary of State
Kathleen Newland, Director of MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development Program
Pradeep Ramamurthy, Senior Director of Global Engagement at the National Security Council
Karen D. Turner, Director, Office of Development Partners, U.S. Agency for International Development
Diasporas play an increasingly prominent role in discussions on U.S. cooperation with other countries. Diaspora groups and individuals are often deeply involved in efforts to reduce poverty, improve the quality of life, and promote sustainable growth in their ancestral countries across the developing world. Their self-generated efforts are attracting growing attention among policymakers. Governments of migrant-origin countries are working to attract both the talents and resources of their emigrants while governments of migrant-receiving countries hope to strengthen their ties and improve the outcome of development assistance by engaging immigrants and their descendants. However, practice has developed faster than policy. Key questions remain unanswered. How are diasporas similar to and different from other development actors? Where do the interests and capabilities of diasporas, donor governments, and developing countries overlap or contradict each other? What are the challenges of partnering with diasporas on specific development initiatives? Over the past year, MPI has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to examine how diasporas contribute to – or detract from - development efforts in their countries of origin. MPI and USAID have published an edited volume of the research.