Enhancing the Role of Georgian Emigrants at

Comments

Transcription

Enhancing the Role of Georgian Emigrants at
 Enhancing the Role of Georgian
Emigrants at Home (ERGEM)
Report of the Final Conference
16 December 2014 Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi The Conference was organised under the project entitled “Enhancing the Role of Georgian
Emigrants at Home” (ERGEM), co-funded by the European Union and co-implemented by
the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the International Centre for Migration Policy
Development (ICMPD). The Georgian project partners were the Office of the State Minister
for Diaspora Issues, the Ministry of the Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied
Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia and the Public Service Development
Agency. Partners outside Georgia were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey which also
co-funded the project and the Ministry of the Interior of Poland. The ERGEM project aimed at
giving new impetus to the discussion on the possible role of the Georgian diaspora in
Georgian life.
Welcoming Speeches and Introduction
institutions was further strengthened and allowed for a
truly joint implementation of ERGEM. She also
stressed that the establishment of new partnerships in
Germany, Greece and Turkey was one of the key
factors for its success.
Mr Guy Edmunds, DRC Policy Adviser, featured the
human side of migration which was at the core of the
ERGEM project: “Migration is About People”. He
welcomed the participants of the conference which
brought
together
diaspora
organisation
representatives,
returnees
and
entrepreneurs,
academics, government stakeholders and international
organisations.
In his welcoming speech of the ERGEM Final
Conference, the State Minister of Georgia for
Diaspora Issues, Mr Gela Dumbadze, highlighted the
vision of the Office to address the challenges Georgian
emigrant and diaspora communities face abroad and
to utilise the potential of these communities for
Georgia’s development. These two goals can only be
achieved through the establishment of programmes
resulting in tangible outcomes. The Minister also
stressed
the
importance
of
inter-institutional
coordination on diaspora issues as well as the need for
an inclusive dialogue with different stakeholders,
including diaspora organisations and international
organisations. This dialogue was kick-started by the
ERGEM project and he congratulated the involved
stakeholders and the implementing partners DRC and
ICMPD for the successful project.
Ms Ketevan Khutsishvili, EU Delegation to
Georgia, underlined the importance of the final
ERGEM conference for participating representatives of
diaspora
organisations,
returnees
and
state
institutions. She emphasised the strong engagement
of the EU in migration issues and highlighted that
Georgia is increasingly progressing in the relationship
with the EU. The Association Agreement, signed in
June 2014, has to be brought to life through people-topeople contacts. Free and safe movement of people is
at the heart of the EU and this is also the objective for
the EU relations with third countries. The positive
effects of migration prevail over its negative effects:
relations with emigrant and diaspora communities are
one example of these positive effects. Despite the
official end of the ERGEM project, the activities and
initiated processes will continue.
Ms Violeta Wagner, ICMPD project manager of the
ERGEM project, referred to the final conference of the
GOVAC project (‘Building Training and Analytical
Capacities on Migration in Moldova and Georgia’)
when the ERGEM project was still in its early phase of
implementation. Over the course of the ERGEM
project the initiated partnership with Georgian state
Presentation
Activities
of
the
ERGEM
Project
Ms Violeta Wagner presented the main steps of the
ICMPD-led activities in the ERGEM project. After the
desk research exercise, the fact-finding missions to
Germany, Greece and Turkey followed where the
ICMPD ERGEM project team and the project partners
jointly collected information on the Georgian emigrant
and diaspora communities. Afterwards, the project
addressed the question on how to provide better
services to the Georgian diaspora. Through study
visits to Portugal and Poland Georgian state institution
representatives had the opportunity to learn from other
countries’ experiences on diaspora engagement and to
prepare for the implementation of the main project
activities – the Georgian diaspora counselling events.
Information events (two in Athens and one in Berlin
and Istanbul respectively) were organised to improve
the provision of information and services to Georgian
emigrant and diaspora communities. Ten state
institutions provided counselling during the events: the
Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues, the
Public Service Development Agency, the Public
Service Hall, the Ministry of the Internally Displaced
Persons
from
the
Occupied
Territories,
Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of
Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of
Education and Science, Ministry of Agriculture and the
Ministry of Labour, Social and Health Affairs which
provided counselling via skype. The lessons learned
from the information events were analysed and shared
with the project partners and served as a basis for
developing a guide on how to organise mobile
counselling for the diaspora which was also launched
during the final conference. “The ERGEM path should
not end here”, Ms Wagner underlined meaning that all
involved stakeholders should continue to improve the
analysis of information to develop better diaspora
policies, to enhance the provision of services and
information to emigrant and diaspora communities, to
unleash the development potential of migrant and
diaspora communities and, most importantly, to
communicate with each other.
Mr Guy Edmunds presented the DRC-led ERGEM
project activities. He accented the success of the
Diaspora Economic Forum, organised in the
framework of the Diaspora Office’s Global Diaspora
Week
activities.
Diaspora
representatives,
government officials, experts from European countries,
Georgian businesses, returned migrants and
international organisations gathered to exchange
information about Georgia’s economic prospects in
light of the Association Agreement with the European
Union and the potential contribution of the Diaspora to
the country’s economic development. DRC also
formulated recommendations on diaspora investments
which are currently under review by the Diaspora
Office. 29 grants were delivered to support returning
migrants in Georgia and Mr Edmunds shared some of
the success stories of returnees-owned businesses in
Georgia. The businesses were established or
supported in the agriculture, tourism and recreation
and construction materials sector.
Presentation
of
Georgian
Institutions’ Activities
State
The Executive Secretary of the State Commission
on Migration Issues, Mr George Jashi, focused in
his speech on Georgia’s Visa Liberalisation Action
Plan and signing of the EU-Georgia Association
Agreement and their importance for Georgia’s
development. Both the visa liberalisation and the
Association Agreement bring Georgia closer to the EU
and to more free movement.
The Head of Division for Migration and Repatriation
of the Ministry of IDPs from Occupied Territories,
Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Mr
Giorgi Narimanidze, highlighted the importance of the
activities of the EU co-funded mobility centres in
Georgia which support emigrants within the
reintegration process. He also pointed out that the
Ministry is involved in other valuable projects on
enhancing the capacities in the area of migration
management.
Working Groups
The participants of the conference split into two
parallel working groups on (1) future cooperation
opportunities between Georgia and its Diasporas and
(2) challenges faced by the Georgia diaspora
organisations and potential areas for support. Two
background papers were prepared and disseminated
in advance to prepare the ground for the discussions
(see annex).
Working Group I: Future Cooperation
Opportunities between Georgia and its
Diasporas
The Deputy State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora
Issues, Mr Mukhran Gulaghashvili, pointed out that
the ERGEM project has not only positive, but also
negative outcomes. He elaborated on this by stressing
that the positive outcome is the knowledge on the
needs of migrants and diaspora communities in the
three targeted countries and the fruitful meetings which
were conducted between Georgian state institutions
and diaspora organisations. The only negative aspect
of the ERGEM project is that it is coming to an end
which brings up the question on any follow-up
activities. There is still more that has to be done in
regard to enhancing the scope of activities related to
Georgia’s diaspora. The Deputy State Minister also
expressed his gratitude for Mr Martin Russell’s
participation at the conference and his upcoming
recommendations.
The workshop, which was moderated by Mr Martin
Russell
representing
the
Irish
diaspora
consultancy Diaspora Matters, started with the
question towards the diaspora representatives what it
means to be from Georgia. The consensus was that a
Georgian emigrant becomes an ambassador of its
country of origin in the country of destination. Georgian
emigrants are also often referred to having intellectual
and financial potential and thus feel like they are
promoting Georgian culture in their destination country.
The participants also stressed that the government
should support both the successful and the vulnerable.
During the workshop a number of areas for future
action where identified:
1. One of the tasks of the government should be to
make it appealing for Georgian emigrants to
return to Georgia, but the government should also
accept on the other hand that not everybody wants
to and will return. And since migration most of the
time occurs out of self-interest, it might be
advisable to create return mechanisms where the
migrants also get incentives to return out of selfinterest.
2. Although it was pointed out that Georgia has a
good potential for diaspora engagement, the
challenge is that it still needs to develop a series
of projects across ministries for a stronger and
more coherent diaspora engagement policy.
3. Another point of discussion was the issue of
remittances. The question was raised on how the
remittances can be moved away from a
consumption model and shifted more into the
direction of investment.
4. Another way of engaging with the diaspora would
be to focus on diaspora champions and e.g.
creating diaspora awards or similar activities.
Here, the creation of positive messages could be
also beneficial for strengthening a positive image
of the country.
5. Other areas of finding common grounds of
cooperation would be to focus on tourism,
children (youth activities, exchanges, summer
schools, etc.), diaspora education (through
scholarships, etc.), skills transfer (mentorship
programmes, etc.) and gender-specific diaspora
engagement. Here, it is recommendable to check
for examples of how other countries are dealing
with their diaspora communities and how their best
practices and lessons learned can be adapted to
the Georgian context.
6. In addition, a stronger focus on businesses is
needed. Businesses should recognise the potential
of the diaspora which can be done by emphasising
the diaspora’s financial values.
All in all, the participants of the working group came to
the conclusion that it is necessary to first figure out
how to promote Georgia, be it to businesses, countries
of destination or origin and other stakeholders.
Working Group II: Challenges Faced by
the Georgian Diaspora Organisations in
Destination Countries and Potential Areas
for Support
The working group discussion was moderated by Ms
Mariam Keburia representing the State Minister’s
Office for Diaspora Issues. The discussion started by
asking the question on what are the challenges faced
and how the relevant knowledge on the needs of
Georgian Diaspora can be maintained.
During the workshop a number of needs and
recommendations were identified and formulated:
1. As a first step, it would be advisable to register all
diaspora organisations which would give more
opportunities for networking with local NGOs and
to receive more support from local authorities. It
would also provide the State Minister’s Office for
Diaspora Issues with a mechanism to monitor the
distribution of books or other material to diaspora
organisations.
2. Another issue is a lack of organisational
structure of diaspora organisations. Many
diaspora organisations do not have clearly defined
goals, objectives and human as well as financial
resources.
3. The lack of information on needs and expectations
of Georgian diaspora abroad was also pointed out
by all diaspora organisations and it was agreed
that there is a clear need for additional and
systematic information collection in this
direction.
4. In addition, the need to strengthen the role of the
Georgian consulates was brought up many times
during the discussion, especially in the cases of
Turkey and Germany. It was suggested to appoint
a person at the consulate specifically responsible
for liaising with diaspora.
5. Another challenge outlined was the general lack
of information on local legislation, employment,
health care, education opportunities, etc. in the
country of destination. One specific suggestion by
the representatives of the Migrant Counselling
Centre in Athens was to establish an Information
Resource Centre in Athens where it would be
possible for Georgian migrants to get information
in person and via telephone. The main challenge
in Germany was indicated to be the rising quantity
of Georgian Au-Pairs who are losing their jobs and
as a consequence, request shelter and support in
seeking jobs from the Diaspora organisations.
6. The most pressing challenges highlighted were:
lack of social protection and the protection of
human rights in general; lack of trust and
regular communication channels between
Georgian Government and diaspora organisations;
lack of funding; lack of regular communication
and networking opportunities between diaspora
organisations in one and/or from different
countries, as well as with local authorities, other
migrants and diaspora communities, NGOs and
IOs; challenges related to preserving the
Georgian language.
7. Possible ways of supporting Georgian diaspora
organisations have also been identified: state
institutions acting as mediators between
diaspora organisations and donor organisations;
promoting education via exchange programmes,
seminars, masterclasses and consultations; joint
projects and activities between the diaspora
organisations in one and different countries and
better ways to promote Georgian diaspora
organisations and successful Georgians
abroad.
Keynote Speech: Diaspora Engagement
affinity-based interest in their home country. Georgia
clearly has this diaspora capital and the important
question is how to mobilise this capital. Segmentation
is one of the tools and the ERGEM case study
contributed to this process through the 3 R’s: a) The
regional focus as diasporas operate in the framework
and context of the destination country and society, b)
the right people have been identified, but these people
have not been given the right purpose yet. This is the
great challenge ahead. The methodology developed
by Diaspora Matters to effectively engage diasporas
focuses on the 4 steps of research, cultivate, solicit,
and steward. Research is important because often
people tend to think effective diaspora engagement is
to engage with a huge number of diaspora members
which is not true. So called ‘gate-keepers’ are needed
and hence research is needed for that. Cultivation
refers to the fact that engagement of diaspora
members evolves gradually over time and is a lot
about having conversations and getting to know
diaspora members. Solicitation refers to the fact that
is crucial to engage in joint diaspora-government
projects with tangible outcomes not to lose the interest
of diaspora and government stakeholders. And lastly,
stewardship:
It
means
acknowledging
and
recognising the contributions made by diaspora
members to their country of origin. There is no ‘one
size fits all’ approach and it is also important to realise
that the government should rather be the facilitator
than an implementer to make the relationship mutually
beneficial. The diaspora should own the governmentdiaspora relationship! Russell closed with a call of
action: Coherent Policy Formation, Cooperation and
Diaspora Involvement and to get business in is the key
for Georgia’s future on diaspora engagement.
Presentation on Activities of Georgian
Diaspora Organisations
Mr Martin Russell, Associate Director at Diaspora
Matters, stressed in his speech that framing diaspora
and migration more positively and being proud of
having several identities is a big challenge. The
narrative of migration needs to change as well as the
public perception; to change the migration-related
vocabulary is the great task ahead for everyone. The
diasporas own important capital, so-called ‘diaspora
capital’, defined as overseas resources available to a
country, region, city, organisation or place that is made
up of people, connections, networks, money, ideas,
attitudes and concerns of those with an ancestral or
Mr Avtandil Mikaberidze, Centre of Georgian
Culture and Education “Caucasus”, Athens,
Greece, introduced the activities of the Centre which
carries out educational and cultural work among
Georgian migrants in Athens and the Georgian
Institute at Athens which conducts scientific and
publishing activities.
Ms Khatuna Karsaulidze, Georgian Emigrant
Counselling Centre, Athens, Greece, introduced the
Centre and its activities to the audience. The
Counselling Centre, located in the heart of Athens,
started as a little shop which first introduced Georgian
newspapers and media to Georgian migrants in
Greece. Later it was established as an NGO offering
counselling services to Georgian migrants and
vulnerable migrants from Georgia. In addition, the
Centre also offers children’s classes in several areas,
such as dancing and singing.
Mr Leri Datashvili and Tinatin Chitinashvili,
Georgischer Verein in Deutschland e.V., Munich,
Germany, highlighted in their statement that the
Georgian diaspora should try to be united. Mr Leri
introduced his idea of establishing the Rustaveli
Institute in Munich, a cultural and scientific institute
which framework would be similar to the German
Goethe Institute. Thus, he pointed out that
collaboration with the Georgian Institute at Athens
would be very beneficial in this regard. Ms Chitinashvili
listed the various activities in which the association is
involved in, such as publications, sports activities and
tournaments, cultural activities, organisation of youth
groups, promotion of tourism to Georgia, etc.
Mr Erdal Kucuk, Georgian Culture House, Istanbul,
Turkey, spoke about the different Georgian diasporas
in Turkey which are made up of the historical diaspora,
the Muhajirs which fled from Georgia to Turkey during
th
the Russian – Turkish war in the 19 century and the
current Georgian migrants. The main focus of his
diaspora organisation is on the Georgian language. Mr
Kucuk was recently awarded with the Georgian State
Order of the Golden Fleece for the contribution made
to adoption and implementation of a programme for
teaching Georgian language in secondary schools of
Turkey. The aforesaid programme provides for
teaching the Georgian language for 5th, 6th, 7th, and
8th grades in secondary schools of Turkey, starting
from 2014. In addition, Mr Kucuk mentioned that the
Georgian diaspora in Turkey makes up to 2 million
people. The biggest challenge is though that they are
scattered all over the country and are not united.
Presentation of the ERGEM Guide:
Organising Mobile Counselling for Migrant
and Diaspora Members
During the final conference, one of the final project
outcomes, the Guide on Organising Mobile
Counselling for Migrants and Diaspora Members was
launched. The guide is based on lessons learned from
the information day for the Georgian diaspora in the
ERGEM project. Ms Xenia Pilipenko and Ms Marion
Noack (ICMPD) presented its main features: it is a
step-by-step tool on how to develop and implement a
counselling programme; it gives guidance on how to
monitor and evaluate the mobile counselling
programme and it presents lessons learnt and
suggested practices from holding three ERGEM
information days. The guide is available under the
following link:
Ø
Ø
Georgian version:
http://www.icmpd.org/fileadmin/ICMPDWebsite/ICMPDWebsite_2011/ICMPD_General/News/ERGEM
_Guide/Organising_Mobile_Counselling_for_th
e_Diaspora_GE_SOFT.pdf
English version:
http://www.icmpd.org/fileadmin/ICMPDWebsite/ICMPDWebsite_2011/ICMPD_General/News/ERGEM
_Guide/Organising_Mobile_Counselling_for_th
e_Diaspora_EN_SOFT.pdf
The ERGEM project team would like to use this opportunity to thank all partners and
contact points for the excellent cooperation and hard work during the implementation of
the project. It was an invaluable experience and a great pleasure to be part of this important
and highly appreciated project.
The ERGEM project team wishes all partners success with their future endeavours.
Group photo
Conference Agenda
Opening session
09:30 – 10:00
Registration and Welcome Coffee
10:00 – 10:20
Welcoming Speeches and Introduction
• Mr Gela Dumbadze, State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues
• Ms Keti Khutsishvili, EU Delegation to Georgia
• Ms Violeta Wagner, International Centre for Migration Policy Development
• Mr Guy Edmunds, Danish Refugee Council
10:20 – 10:50
Presentation of the ERGEM Project Activities
• Ms Violeta Wagner, International Centre for Migration Policy Development
• Mr Guy Edmunds, Danish Refugee Council
10:50 – 11:40
Presentation of the Georgian State Institutions’ Activities
• Mr Mukhran Gulaghashvili, Deputy State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues
• Mr George Jashi, Executive Secretary of the State Commission on Migration Issues
• Mr Giorgi Narimanidze, Head of the Division for Migration and Repatriation of the Ministry
of IDPs from Occupied Territories, Accommodation, and Refugees of Georgia
11:40 – 11:45
Introduction of the Workshop Format and Topics
• Ms Violeta Wagner, International Centre for Migration Policy Development
11:45 – 12:00
Coffee Break
Session 1 – Parallel Working Groups of Diaspora and State Institutions
12:00 – 13:30
Working Groups:
• Working Group future cooperation opportunities between Georgia and its diasporas
• Working Group on challenges faced by the Georgian diaspora organisations in destination
countries
13:30 – 13:45
Summary and Conclusions (in the discussion rooms)
13:45 – 14:15
Presentation of the working group results by each group
14:15 – 15:30
Lunch break
Session 2 – Activities, Engagement and Support of Diaspora Organisations
15:30 – 16:00
Diaspora Engagement
• Dr. Martin Russell, Associate Director, Diaspora Matters
16:00 – 16:45
Presentation on activities of Georgian Diaspora Organisations:
• Greece
• Germany
• Turkey
16:45 – 17:00
Presentation of the ERGEM Guide
Organising Mobile Counselling for Migrant and Diaspora Communities
17:00 – 17:30
Concluding Remarks
17:30 – 18:00
Reception
List of participants
Countries
Georgia
Family Name
First Name
Institution
Abesadze
Gvantsa
Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues, Ministry of
Justice
Abuashvili
Ketino
NGO
Atskarunashvili
Davit
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Arveladze
Salome
Migration Department, Ministry of Internal Affairs
Arabidze
Zviad
Georgian House in Switzerland
Bakradze
Lela
House of Justice
Buchukuri
Mamuka
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Chitaia
Nugzar
Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
Chkhotua
Aliona
State Minister’s Office for Diaspora Issues
Dvalishvili
Nino
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Gabunia
Zurab
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Gamilagdishvili
Tamar
State Minister’s Office for Diaspora Issues
Gobronidze
Valerian
Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
Goginovi
Temur
Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues, Ministry of
Justice
Gogishvili
Giorgi
Migration Centre
Gozalishvili
Eldar
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Gratishvili
Giorgi
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Grdzelishvili
Manana
House of Justice
Gubelidze
Ioseb
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Gudadze
Sophiko
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Jashi
George
Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues, Ministry of
Justice
Kacharava
Tatia
Georgian Young Lawyers Association - GYLA
Kaldani
Gegi
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Kachiashvili
Bela
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Katsitadze
Megi
House of Justice
Kavtaradze
Mindia
Diaspora Association in Vani, Georgia
Kechkhuashvili
Tinatin
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Kesanishvili
Nino
Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration
Khachidze
Vasil
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Khelashvili
Manana
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Khupenia
Tsitsino
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Kikvadze
Inga
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Korkotadze
Nana
Migration Centre
Lukhutashvili
Maia
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Maisuradze
Ana
Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia
Makishvili
Nana
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Makishvili
Mariami
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Manjavidze
Giorgi
Georgian Diaspora from Belgium in Kartli, Georgia
Maruashvili
Giorgi
UN Association of Georgia
Merabishvili
Giorgi
State Minister’s Office for Diaspora Issues
Germany
Greece
Poland
Turkey
Other
Narimanidze
Giorgi
Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories,
Accommodation and Refugees
Nazarova
Tsovinar
People’s Harmonious Development Agency - PHDS
Nikoladze
Nikoloz
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Okromelidze
Otar
ERGEM SME grants beneficiary
Parsadanishvili
Nino
Tbilisi State University
Sabadze
Tsisnami
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
Tartarashvili
Temur
State Minister’s Office for Diaspora Issues
Tatuashvili
Ketevan
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Tsereteli
Irma
CIM, GIZ
Tukhashvili
Mirian
Migration Research Centre at TSU
Bedianashvili
Jimsher
Bielefeld German-Georgian Society
Chitinashvili
Tinatin
Munich Georgische Verein in Deutschland e.V.
Datashvili
Leri
Munich Georgische Verein in Deutschland e.V.
Odisheli
Ketevan
Georgisch-Deutsches Forum e.V., Potsdam
Shalamberidze
Tamar
Georgisches Haus in Berlin e.V.
Shpetishvili
Pavle
Branderburgisch-Georgische Gesellschaft e.V.
Ghambashidze
Darejan
King Vakhtang VI Athens Weekend School and Georgian Migrant
Community “Iberia”
Mikaberidze
Avtandil
Caucasus Cultural Centre
Karsaulidze
Khatuna
Migrant Counselling Centre
Tepnadze
Mariam
Migrant Counselling Centre
Papastolidis
Piotr
Embassy of Poland
Zochowski
Marcin
Embassy of Poland
Ciloglu
Fahrettin
Turkish-Georgian Writer
Erim
Fatih
Active Diaspora Member in Turkey
Kobaidze
Maia
Active Diaspora Member in Istanbul, Turkey
Kucuk
Erdal
Georgian Culture House
Ozden
Nihat
Georgian Culture House
Edmunds
Guy
Danish Refugee Council
Tchkuaseli
Varlam
Danish Refugee Council
Gorgoshidze
Keti
ICMPD
Korganashvili
Zurab
ICMPD
Noack
Marion
ICMPD
Pilipenko
Xenia
ICMPD
Sabadello
Magda
ICMPD
Wagner
Violeta
ICMPD
Castro
Antonio
ERGEM Evaluator
Russell
Martin
Diaspora Matters
Workshop background papers
1
Background Paper – Workshop Discussion (1) : future cooperation opportunities between Georgia and its
2
diasporas
Expected outcome
The expected outcome of the workshop discussion are project and policy ideas on diaspora engagement which take
3
into account the strengths and weaknesses from previous activities, including the ERGEM project.
Background and context
The elements of a core agenda for cooperation between Georgia and its diaspora have been defined by the Office of
the State Minister of Georgia on Diaspora Issues (further referred to as the ‘Diaspora Office’). In addition, the EU cofunded ERGEM project has identified potential areas for involving the Georgian diaspora in the development of
Georgia. The key stakeholders in this regard are Georgian institutions responsible for migration-related issues;
Georgian emigrants, diaspora members and diaspora organisations; returning migrants to Georgia; and
representatives of the business sector in Georgia. These constituents display a strong collaborative approach that will
be furthered in this interactive workshop.
The aim of this workshop is to further mutually beneficial diaspora engagement for both Georgia and its diasporas,
based on the data collected in the ERGEM project study “Georgian Diaspora and Migrant Communities in Germany,
Greece and Turkey” (further referred to as the ‘case study’) and other available literature on diaspora engagement,
along with input from institutions in Georgia and participating diaspora organisations. In order to achieve this, the
workshop will discuss methodologies and tools to facilitate effective engagement, drawing both on the needs and
expectations of the Georgian context along with global best practice. As part of this process, the participants of the
discussion will further explore the diaspora potential for Georgia’s development and will examine potential cooperation
in the areas of human, financial, and knowledge flows.
Cooperation between Georgia and its diasporas
4
The main objectives of the Diaspora Office are as follows :
a) Establishing and strengthening contacts and relations with diaspora members and with institutions and other
individuals interested in Georgia;
b) Encouraging maintaining a national identity among the diasporas;
c) Creating a contact database of diaspora members, their organisations, and other individuals and
organisations interested in Georgia;
d) Supporting diaspora members and their organisations abroad in the introduction and study of the history,
culture of Georgian people and contemporary state building affairs of Georgia;
e) Promoting and maintaining the spiritual, historical and cultural monuments as well as archives and other
historic and cultural values existing abroad.
The Diaspora Office is currently updating their website with more structured information for Georgians abroad, an
online school section for children of Georgian diaspora members living abroad and wanting to learn Georgian is being
created as well. Cooperation and support already exists, especially in the areas of culture and youth (e.g. cooperation
on cultural events such as dancing, singing and performances, summer camps), language (e.g. support of Sunday
schools, provision of books), and religion (e.g. deployment of Georgian priests), history and academics (e.g.
supporting research), sports and the provision of counselling and services abroad. Furthermore, the Diaspora Office
has a contact sheet of the main diaspora organisations worldwide which is updated regularly.
How to cooperate? Tools and Methods
This background paper has been jointly prepared by the ERGEM project team and Martin Russell representing Diaspora Matters.
The term ‘diaspora(s)’ is used throughout the paper for the sake of convenience. It comprises all Georgian migrant communities, including the Georgian historical diaspora,
temporary and circular migrants, emigrants, expatriates, and Georgians who took on another citizenship and who were naturalised in their country of destination.
3The ‘Enhancing the Role of Georgian Migrants at Home (ERGEM)’ project was implemented under the leadership of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in cooperation with the
International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). It is funded by the European Union and Turkey. The project partners include a consortium of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Turkey, the Ministry of the Interior of Poland, the Public Service Development Agency (Ministry of Justice of Georgia), the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for
Diaspora Issues and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia.
4 Shortened for the purpose of this background, for a full text see Resolution of Georgian Government On Establishing The Office of State Minister of Georgia on Diaspora Issues
(N18, 2008, 8 February, Tbilisi)
1
2
This workshop aims to produce concrete ideas and identifying new areas of potential diaspora engagements. As such,
the workshop provides a space for exchange between diaspora representatives and government stakeholders and the
identification of methodologies and tools to shape this work. Below, is an indication of methods and tools to be
5
provided to facilitate cooperation.
Methods
a) Research, Cultivate, Solicit and Steward
The overarching methodology developed by Diaspora Matters to effectively engage diasporas is focused on the 4 step
processes of research, cultivate, solicit, and steward:
1. Research: often it is a small fraction in the overall diaspora who have the potential or make a difference, and
it is important to research who these members are. Equally important is to ask what these diaspora members
need in order to fulfill their potential.
2. Cultivation: Engagement of diaspora members evolves gradually over time and hence cultivation is a lot
about having conversations and getting to know diaspora members.
3. Solicitation: It is crucial to engage in joint diaspora-government projects with tangible outcomes. These
projects solicit diaspora engagement and the diaspora-government relationship.
4. Stewardship: It means acknowledging and recognising the contributions made by diaspora members to their
country of origin.
This interdependent methodology is designed to help diaspora communities and organisations and government
stakeholders to build mutually beneficial long term relationships. The nature of most diaspora engagement is ad hoc
and this methodology helps map diaspora communities, create access points, deliver “asks” and “tasks”, and turn the
relationship into a meaningful and habitual one.
b) Building Networks
Diaspora engagement is driven by the successful creation of strong networks between diaspora members living
abroad and their counterparts in their country of origin aiming at fostering and creating communication and exchanges
between them. There are general assumptions that individuals and institutions are good networkers yet the knowledge
base illustrates a clear gap in skill acquisition on networking. Therefore, better networking skills would be an
important method to build on the outcomes of the ERGEM project.
c) High Tech and High Touch
Using modern technologies is important in areas of communication and information sharing. Such
technologies would be skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, websites and discussion boards. However,
building trust and transparency through face to face interaction should complement the use of high tech
methodologies. This dual methodology coherence allows for sustainable and targeted engagement for all involved.
Tools
i.
Know your diasporas
It is important to know your diaspora communities, institutions and diaspora individuals that can make a difference.
Conducting a tailored analysis can result in a more focused and strategic approach in engaging the right people
for the right purpose. In line with this, it is crucial to deliver an awareness shift domestically on the Georgian
diaspora to establish acceptance that Georgia does not have one homogenous diaspora, it has several
different migrant and diaspora communities.
ii.
Diasporise - Policy, Programmes, and Projects
Potential cooperation can only occur through creating, facilitating and implementing policies, programmes and
projects. Within this framework, it is important to promote coordination and coherence in order to ensure that
limited budgets and portfolios do not cross over. A useful tool in order to deliver this is to promote a culture of
5 The methods and tools proposed in this background paper can also be found in Aikins, K., and White, N. (2011), Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit: Harnessing the power of
global diasporas (Ireland: Diaspora matters), available at http://diasporamatters.com/publications-resources-2/.
“diasporisation”. Each stakeholder with an interest in diaspora engagement can “diasporise” their portfolio. This means
that they develop a programme or project to engage their specific target audience while working towards a
harmonised overall engagement portfolio for Georgia. Such programmes can include reward or recognition in specific
sectors, promoting Georgian culture, next generation engagement, sport activities or talent networks.
iii.
Role of Government and Listening to Your Diaspora
Global best practice has shown that government facilitation through support of programmes and projects delivered
through a strong and evidence-based policy base is the most effective mechanism for diaspora engagement. Also, it is
important to develop a nuanced approach to diaspora inclusion as a consultative party in shaping the
diaspora engagement agenda. There are varying forms such representation takes from political representation to
looser representation platforms such as the Portuguese Diaspora Council.
iv.
A New Vocabulary
The appreciation of engaging successful and vulnerable persons as enrooted in the ERGEM project design is an
important foundation setting for the future of Georgia’s diaspora engagement. Migration is often represented in a
negative way by policy-makers, governments and the media. One useful tool is to shape a positive perception of
migration. By developing a communicative strategy to help nurture more positive connotations of Georgian
communities abroad, better relationships and trust can be built to support diaspora engagement. This, again,
requires the support of all stakeholders.
Guiding Questions for Discussion
1. What are Georgia’s priorities in regard to its diaspora? And what are the diaspora’s priorities in regard to
Georgia?
2. Critically assess the key areas of the existing plan for cooperation between Georgia and diaspora. What are
the strengths and weaknesses of current tools and methods for diaspora engagement from the point of view
of participating diaspora organisation representatives and government stakeholders?
3. Then, identify new areas, also emerging from the work of ERGEM and the identified priority areas.
4. How do we shape the partnerships between all involved actors to implement the identified priority areas?
Annex 1: Examples of ongoing projects focusing on migration & development and diaspora engagement in
Georgia
•
•
•
•
•
•
“Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN III), Enhancing Government and Institutional Capacity by
Linking Diaspora to Development”, IOM, target countries: Georgia and the Netherlands
Circular migration scheme “Strengthening the development potential of the EU mobility partnership in Georgia
through targeted circular migration and diaspora mobilisation“, GIZ/ CIM, target countries: Georgia and
Germany
”Georgia - Personalised Assistance for Migrants”, CiDA, target countries Georgia, Greece and Turkey
“Promoting well managed migration between EU and Georgia”, GYLA/ CIPDD/ EU, target country: Georgia
“Prague Process”, Poland in the lead and 7 leading countries in cooperation with ICMPD, target countries:
Eastern Partnership, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Russia and Turkey, European Union, Schengen Area.
“Enhancing Georgia’s Migration Management (ENIGMMA)”, ICMPD/ EUD, target country: Georgia
Annex 2: What have other countries done?
6
Global Lithuanian Leaders
Country: Lithuania
Web address: http://www.lithuanianleaders.org/
6In 2014, Diaspora Matters published a listing on 100 diaspora initiatives that showcased some best practice across the globe on diaspora engagement
(www.diasporamatters.com). Here, we showcase a few that have some relevance to the aims of the Georgian diaspora portfolio.
Established after the first World Lithuanian Economic Forum in 2009,Global Lithuanian Leaders seeks to develop and
expand Lithuania’s standing in the global community by utilizing the talents of leading Lithuanians and people with an
affinity for Lithuania who are outstanding in their field. The program is designed to bring together Lithuania’s most
successful and experienced international professionals to inspire, educate and enhance opportunities of Lithuania’s
growing businesses. The program is sponsored by Enterprise Lithuania.
The GLL runs many programs including LT Big Brother, a mentoring program for Lithuanian students around the
world, The Global Lithuanian Awards, recognising the talent and ambition of Lithuaniansat home and abroad who are
current or future leaders in their field and the Global Lithuanian Leaders and Lithuanian Business Confederation the
Forum.
General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad
Country: Greece
Web address: http://www.ggae.gr/
Established in 1983, The General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad (G.S.G.A) is responsible for the planning,
coordination, and implementation of policy regarding Greece’s Diaspora. The primary focus of the General Secretariat
for Greeks Abroad is to promote the interests and aspirations of Greeks living abroad and strengthening ties between
Greece and its large diaspora. The G.S.G.A runs many programmes including hospitality programs, returning young
members of the Greek diaspora to the country for short summer camps and programmes for repatriated Greeks,
including the promotion of the Greek language.
Turkish Women’s International Network (WIN)
Country: Turkey
Web address: http://turkishwin.com/
The Turkish Women’s International Network is a vibrant and global networking platform for women with family, cultural
or professional ties to Turkey. The members of the network aspire to excel in their careers, inspire others and invest in
the network. TurkishWIN was created as a global trust network where women inspire, empower and connect.
To implement this vision, TurkishWIN seeks to achieve the following milestones:
1. Build a global community of professional Turkish women to cross-pollinate ideas, inspiration and connections;
2. Start a mentorship program to mentor younger Turkish women in university programs across the globe;
3. And to launch the “TurkishWIN Angels and Advisors” program to connect entrepreneurs to a capital and
advice network.
The Conselho da Diáspora Portuguesa – Portuguese Diaspora Council
Country: Portugal
Web address: http://diasporaportuguesa.com/
There are approximately 5 million in the Portuguese diaspora. The Portuguese Diaspora Council was introduced in
2012. The main objective of the council is for its 24 founding members to create a network of Portuguese elites who
live and work abroad. These leading business representatives have become ambassadors for their country, working to
improve the image and reputation of Portugal abroad. The council focuses on promoting Portugal’s reputation in four
main areas:enterprise and the economy, science, the arts, and citizenship.
The Diaspora Council facilitates cooperation between public institutions and the private sector by allowing these
business ambassadors access to decision makers. The potential opportunities to influence policy concerning
Portugal’s development in the four chosen areas are consequently increased. The Council meets annually to discuss
strategies on how best to achieve their goals.
ReConnect Hungary
Country: Hungary
Web address: http://reconnecthungary.org/
ReConnect Hungary provides peer-group heritage and cultural immersion trips to Hungary for Hungarian-American
young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 who want to strengthen their personal Hungarian identity through
connection to the country, culture and heritage. In summer 2014, a group of individually selected young HungarianAmericans undertook a two-week journey of rediscovery together.
Organised by the Hungarian Human Rights Foundation, with the support of Hungarian-American organisations and
the Government of Hungary, the program covers round-trip airfare between New York and Budapest, as well as two
weeks of programs, which include educational lectures, meetings with business leaders and visits to government
offices and cultural attractions.
The Gathering Ireland
Country: Ireland
Web address: http://www.thegatheringireland.com/
The Gathering Ireland 2013 was a diaspora tourism initiative that resulted in over 5,000 gatherings and saw over
250,000 people travel to Ireland specifically to attend events that took place because of the initiative. Tourism figures
for the first 10 months of the year were up approximately 7% with double digit growth in key target regions for the
initiative such as the USA. It is estimated that it brought in approximately €170 million in revenue. The Gathering
resulted in thousands of new relationships and networks being developed which will long outlast the duration of the
initiative.
The Worldwide Ireland Funds
Country: Ireland
Web address: http://www.theirelandfunds.org/
Founded in 1976, The Worldwide Ireland Funds currently operate in 12 countries and have raised over $480 million
for over 3,000 outstanding non-profit organisations. The Worldwide Ireland Funds are a philanthropic network that
supports worthy causes in Ireland and around the world. Their mission is to be the largest network of friends of Ireland
dedicated to supporting programs of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community
development throughout the island of Ireland.
Through a chapter based network paradigm, the Worldwide Ireland Funds has garnered a global footprint with
chapters in regions such as Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore. The 15rganization represents an
instructive insight into the global nature of the Irish diaspora. It has proved remarkably successful in adapting to the
changing reach of the Irish emigration narrative. Whilst maintaining a strong networked presence in the USA with
chapters in 12 cities, the Funds remains a global access point for those with an interest in Ireland to engagement via
philanthropic means. Many members first connection to Ireland has begun through the Ireland Funds and then grown
to engage not just through philanthropy but also trade and investment, education and tourism, culture and sport.
Philanthropy is often the ‘portal’ through which people enter in a lifelong engagement with their country of ancestry
and heritage. An annual global conference brings these diverse regional chapters together, marking an important
approach of high touch in diaspora engagement.
ConnectIreland
Country: Ireland
Web address: https://www.connectireland.com/
ConnectIreland represents a fresh and innovative approach in attracting Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland.
Through an integrative incentive based model, ConnectIreland has transformed traditional perspectives of inward
investment by placing diaspora individuals as key influencers in their relationship with home. It remains a prime
example of how diaspora equals jobs. ConnectIreland have over 30,000 registered connectors, interested in or
actively seeking those wishing to expand their business into Ireland.
Emigrant Support Programme (ESP)
Country: Ireland
Web address: https://www.irishabroadgrants.ie/
The Emigrant Support Programme, implemented by the Irish Abroad Unit, has been a global leader in supporting
diaspora vulnerabilities since 2004. Over the last decade, the Emigrant Support Programme has spent over 114
million euros supporting not for profit organisations and projects that support Irish communities abroad. This is
designed to allow the Irish Government to “develop more strategic links with the global Irish and to support frontline
welfare services that help the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities.”
As an intrinsically support based platform, the ESP is part of an integrative, policy coherent approach within the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to simultaneously engage both successful and vulnerable Irish abroad. The
ESP, through its specific foci on culture, community and heritage projects allows for Irish culture to serve a therapeutic
function for the segment of the diaspora community that needs it most, the vulnerable. This work has also established
important transparency and trust with Irish communities abroad and, more often than not, helped rather than hindered
engagement of the successful. The dual approach of the Irish Abroad Unit is now recognised as best practice, in
concept and implementation, and holds strong lessons for other global governmental departments engaging diaspora.
There remains a tendency for governments to either engage the successful OR vulnerable, when in fact, they should
be engaging the successful AND vulnerable.
PravasiBharatiya Divas
Country: India
Web address: http://www.pbd-india.com/
The PravasiBharatiya Divas is celebrated in India on 9 January each year to mark the contribution of the overseas
Indian community to the development of India. The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South
Africa in Bombay on 9 January 1915. Established in 2003, it is sponsored by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs of
the government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation
of Indian Industry (CII) and other partners.
It serves as a forum for issues concerning the Indian diaspora and annual Awards are given in recognition of
contributions from the diaspora. This positions it as a leading example of stewardship in diaspora engagement. The
2014 PravasiBhartiya Divas was held in New Delhi and was attended by 1,500 delegates from 51 countries.
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE)
Country: India-USA
Web address: http://tie.org/
The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) was founded in 1992 in Silicon Valley by a group of successful entrepreneurs,
corporate executives and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. There are currently 13,000 members,
including over 2,500 charter members in 61 chapters across 18 countries. TiE’s mission is to foster entrepreneurship
globally through mentoring, networking, education, incubating and funding with a particular focus on generating and
nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. TiE’sannual conferences, TieCon are regarded as the largest
entrepreneurial fora in the world and are held in over 15 cities globally each year. TiE have also established a 501©3
registered foundation in the USA. Besides its flagship event, TiECon, TiE has a wide range of programmes including
Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the TiE Institute, Growth Company Forum and Tie’s Women’s Forum and CEO
Forum.
Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program
Country: United States
Web address: http://www.iie.org/en/
The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (ADF) is a scholar fellowship program for educational projects at
African higher education institutions. Offered by Institute of International Education in partnership with Quinnipiac
University, the program is funded by a two-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, to support over 100
short-term faculty fellowships for African-born academics. The Fellowship, in its infancy, has quickly transformed how
engagement of diaspora communities for education is thought of.
Diaspora African Women’s Network, DAWN
Country: United States
Web address: http://dawners.org/
DAWN, founded in July, 2007, and is an entirely volunteer organisation which is geared towards supporting Africa’s
next generation of women diaspora leaders. Its 240 members hail from 31 African countries as well as the United
States, Europe, Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East.
The mission and goals of the Diaspora African Women’s Network are to: develop and support the next generation of
African diaspora women leaders focused on African affairs; promote the role of the diaspora in Africa’s development;
diversify the African affairs workforce; advance women’s leadership in the workplace. The organisation’s core
principles are known as SEEDS: Sisterhood, Excellence, Empowerment, Diversity and Service.
ChileGlobal
Country: Chile
Web address: http://www.chileglobal.net/
Chile Global is an international network of leading entrepreneurs, professionals and students/graduates of Chilean
education (or “Friend of Chile”), who reside abroad and are interested in linking to contribute and benefit from the
development of Chile. ChileGlobal was established in January 2005 as Part of the Imagen Foundation of Chile, a
public-private institution responsible defining the strategy and conceptual framework for the promotion of Chile’s
image abroad.
The goal of ChileGlobal is to work as a tool that will promote and facilitate the development of the Chilean economy by
strengthening the links between Chile and national talent resident abroad. The network aims to promote innovation
and entrepreneurship where the network members offer quotas for Chilean students to do an internship in the
companies or institutions where they work, the students can then learn and develop their careers in foreign countries
and strengthen the capacities of Chilean future professionals. The network members with their contacts and
experience also support programs for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
CUSO International
Country: Canada
Website: http://cusointernational.org/
The Cuso International Diaspora Volunteering Program (DVP) provides diaspora communities with the opportunity to
volunteer and contribute to development initiatives in their country of heritage. It engages members of various
diaspora groups who have professional skills, hands-on knowledge and perspectives needed to work in solidarity with
the partner organizations to reduce poverty, share skills and change lives.
C100-Canadian Softward Organization in Silicon Valley
Country: Canada
Website: http://www.thec100.org/
The C100 is a non-profit, member-driven organization that supports Canadian technology entrepreneurship through
mentorship, partnership and investment. Through a series of high impact platforms, C100 provides an impressive
array of benefits for its network members.
C100 Charter Members include start-up CEOs and top executives of companies such as Apple, Cisco, EA, eBay,
Salesforce.com, Google, Microsoft and Oracle, as well as venture investors representing more than $17 billion in
capital. 48hrs in the Valley is the C100’s flagship mentorship program put on in conjunction with the Canadian
Consulate of San Francisco and Palo Alto. Each year the C100 invites CEOs to Silicon Valley from Canada’s top
growth-stage companies for peer-to-peer networking and the opportunity to meet influencers creating big noise in
tech. This year they include a select handful of CEOs from Canada’s most established brands to create a networking
event that connects Canada’s most influential technology leaders.
C100 is a leading example of how to merge the “high tech” with “high touch” in diaspora engagement and their
approaches hold many lessons for other practitioners. C100 modelled their organisation on the Irish Technology
Leadership Group (ITLG) who helped them get established.
Ethiopia Diaspora Portal
Country: Ethiopia
The Government of Ethiopia has been taking different measures to ensure that the knowledge, experience, skills, and
financial resources of Ethiopians in the diaspora contribute to national growth. The potential role of the Ethiopian
diaspora in development efforts has, in recent years, won unprecedented recognition from the Ethiopian government.
The main purpose of this “Basic Information for Ethiopians in the diaspora” is to help fill the information gap and make
more information available in one avenue to enable them channel their initiatives and efforts. It is an interesting
platform directly focused on the use of digital communications to engage diasporas.
Taglit-Birthright Israel
Country: Israel
Web address: http://www.birthrightisrael.com/
Founded in 1990 by philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt Taglit-Birthright Israel is an all-expense
paid ten day educational tour of Israel. The trip is open to participants between the ages of 18 and 26 who have never
been to Israel on an education tour and have at least one Jewish grandparent. The aim of the trip is to strengthen
participant’s Jewish identity as well as their solidarity with Israel.
The first participants of Birthright arrived in Israel in 2000, since then over 400,000 Jewish young adults, from over 66
countries, have participated in the trip. The trip itself has been extensively researched and planned in order to
maximize results, independent research has shown the trip to be successful in fostering participants’ understanding
and identification with Israel as well as strengthening their Jewish identity.
7
8
Background Paper – Workshop discussion (2) : challenges faced by the Georgian diaspora organisations in
destination countries and potential areas for support
Expected outcome
The expected output of the workshop discussion is a list of challenges faced by diaspora organisations in the
9
destination countries identified within the ERGEM project and tailored options for support.
Background and context
In the course of the EU co-funded ERGEM project study on “Georgian Diaspora and Migrant Communities in
Germany, Greece and Turkey” (further referred to as the ‘ERGEM case study’), as many as 56 organisations were
identified only in Germany, Greece and Turkey, which suggests a high number of diaspora organisations worldwide.
The majority of them are actively involved in the public and political life of the destination country and are often, at the
same time, actively engaged in promoting the Georgian culture and language. It became evident that diaspora
members who were interviewed for the purpose of the mentioned study benefit from the services provided by diaspora
organisations and would like to see them improved and expanded. Diaspora organisations have an important role in
promoting the Georgian culture and language, supporting the Georgian population in Georgia and they provide
support to Georgians and people with Georgian roots in the destination country.
In this background paper, some of the challenges faced by diaspora organisations are described and in the workshop
possible approaches to support diaspora organisations will be discussed. Most diaspora organisations, not just in the
Georgian context, are voluntary, and lack secure organisational/governance structure and funding.
An important initial step within the Georgian context in outlining the challenges that diaspora organisations face in
countries of destination has already been delivered through the ERGEM project. The information compiled in the study
also offers an opportunity to develop a coherent portfolio of policies, projects and programmes that can narrow
operational challenges for diaspora organisations in areas such as education, business, support, culture/public
diplomacy, and so forth. The workshop will aim to identify mechanisms for possible support to diaspora organisations.
Which role have countries of origins in supporting diaspora organisations?
The significance of contemporary migration has resulted in a growing appreciation of the intrinsic roles countries of
origins have in protecting the rights of their diasporas in host countries. Within the Georgian context and with the
geographical spread of the Georgian diaspora, there are significant diplomatic responsibilities from a country of origin
perspective. Diaspora communities and organisations are often identified as unofficial ambassadors for countries of
origin and there is an ethics and duty of care from countries of origin to diplomatically support their communities
abroad. Also, governments can instrumentalise the soft cultural and public diplomacy capital of diaspora communities
to help nurture trust and transparency not only between diaspora and home but for diasporas in countries of
destinations. This utilisation of soft power can have hard impacts for diaspora communities in their adopted
homelands. Of course, these steps are contingent on effectively listening to and understanding the expectations and
needs of your diaspora. See attached the example of the Irish Emigrant Support Programme.
What are the roles of diaspora organisations?
Diaspora organisations undertake a number of important tasks and responsibilities and a clear categorisation of
diaspora organisations is difficult to make. The main areas of engagement and main roles of diaspora organisations
interviewed for the purpose of the ERGEM case study are as follows:
§
Creating bridges between Georgia and the residence country: All interviewed diaspora organisation
representatives highlighted their role in strengthening ties between the country of origin and the country of
residence. For example, they organise exchange programmes and summer schools in Georgia for children
with different nationalities, including Georgians. They also promote tourism in Georgia and raise awareness
on the Georgian culture in the destination society through TV programmes.
This background paper has been jointly prepared by the ERGEM project team and Martin Russell representing Diaspora Matters.
The term ‘diaspora(s)’ is used throughout the paper for the sake of convenience. It comprises all Georgian migrant communities, including the Georgian historical diaspora,
temporary and circular migrants, emigrants, expatriates, and Georgians who took on another citizenship and who were naturalised in their country of destination.
9 The ‘Enhancing the Role of Georgian Migrants at Home (ERGEM)‘ project was implemented under the leadership of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) in cooperation with the
International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). It is funded by the European Union and Turkey. The project partners include a consortium of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Turkey, the Ministry of the Interior of Poland, the Public Service Development Agency (Ministry of Justice of Georgia), the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for
Diaspora Issues and the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia.
7
8
§
Promoting the Georgian culture and language: Almost all studied diaspora organisations conduct projects
to promote and maintain the Georgian culture and language among Georgian migrants and those having
Georgian roots, with a particular focus on children. For that purpose, language classes are organised,
Georgian artists are invited from Georgia, and dancing and other cultural groups are active.
§
Support and empower Georgians and people with Georgian roots in the residence country: The social
aspect is a very important area of work among the studied diaspora organisations. They offer
counselling/advice and help Georgians in difficult situations. This includes support for those who cannot afford
medical treatment, have problems with their residence status or documents, and visiting Georgians in
detention centres and prisons.
§
Support the Georgian population in Georgia: Diaspora organisations supported the Georgian population in
Georgia through humanitarian assistance during the time of civil unrest in 2008. However, supporting the
developments in Georgia was not mentioned as a priority by the studied diaspora organisations.
The role of diaspora organisations is particularly relevant against the scope of vulnerabilities facing the Georgian
diaspora. This issue of vulnerability does rightly retain an important demand of care from country of origins. The list
below describes the main interconnected vulnerabilities and the related significance of diaspora organisations’
support.
a) Irregular Migrants
The status of irregularity is one of the main challenges faced by diaspora members as this status can result in higher
likelihoods of problems such as employment exploitation, increased health vulnerabilities, alienation and
discrimination and financial insecurities. These migrants are residing at the margins of society in countries of
destination and are difficult to directly engage through official channels. As irregular migrants often are careful to
engage with official government representation, diaspora organisations can have an important role in engaging with
these communities.
b) Health
As noted above, migrant status can have a deterministic impact on the health needs, including mental health, of
migrant communities. In line with this, diaspora organisations are already engaged in dialogue with those most
marginalised in helping access to health services. This especially concerns irregular migrants who often do not have
access to public health care. Established diaspora communities, especially the older diaspora individuals might
witness a rise of mental health issues and may begin to feel isolated from home. In addition, arriving migrants in
vulnerable situations may also have limited access to health care and might need the support of diaspora
organisations and other actors to narrow emergent health issues.
c) Lack of Information
There is strong consensus regarding the potentially high vulnerability among migrants during their initial phases in a
country of destination. For example, a recent research report commissioned by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade assessed that recent waves of emigrants were most likely to develop vulnerabilities within the first 6
months of leaving - often developed upon social and emotional issues upon pre-departure from the country of origin.
A strong component of these trends was a lack of concise information. The migratory journey can initially have an
impact by increasing financial pressures, employment insecurity and familial disruption. Within this context, diaspora
organisations play a crucial role in narrowing these vulnerabilities.
It is extremely rare in diaspora engagement approaches that countries of origin offer support to both diaspora
networks and organisations of successful diaspora individuals and those offering support to vulnerable diaspora
individuals. Through the approach developed in the ERGEM project, Georgia has the viable opportunity to take global
leadership on such approaches.
What challenges do diaspora organisations face in the destination context?
Diaspora organisations usually face four common challenges:
1. Lack of Funding
2. Lack of Capacity
3. Lack of Professionalisation - Voluntarily Run
4. Weak Organisational/Governance Structure
Diaspora organisations tend to lack funding for their activities. Diaspora organisations are often initiated and run by
eager, enthusiastic individuals and hence the profile and activities of diaspora organisations largely depend on the
understanding and capacities of these individuals. As will be discussed further below enhancing organisational
capacity is very important. These capacity development activities should complement financial support as the main
mechanism to support diaspora organisations. A subset of this remains the fact that most diaspora organisations are
run voluntarily. Within global diaspora engagement, not just in the Georgian context, there is a need to professionalise
approaches at an organisation level. Again, these issues are interconnected into the lack of resources to develop to
this point. The fourth element to this remains the need that diaspora organisations function based on solid governance
structures. A secure governance structure will help to narrow any functionality or operational challenges they might
face.
There is a basic rule in diaspora engagement: Listen to your diaspora. At an operational level, most diaspora
organisations function on limited budgets. Therefore, the areas of engaging the diaspora should follow a clear
objective. Most diaspora organisations, for good reasons, want to do too much too soon. By listening to your diaspora,
organisations active in Georgia and abroad can shape accordingly their foci of engagement. Leaning on global
comparisons of successful engagement platforms such as Taglit Birthright Israel and Connect Ireland, both have
developed a focused, diaspora sensitive and flexible platform of engagement.
However, not all will want to engage. At an operational level, as noted by the figures of consulate records in the
ERGEM case study, many diaspora members may not want to engage with their home country. The key operational
tool to this is developing a tailored approach to create access points for those with varying capacities to engage if and
when they do want to engage.
Guiding Questions for Discussion
1. What are the challenges faced by diaspora organisations?
2. How can relevant knowledge on the needs and expectations of the Georgian diaspora organisations be built
and maintained?
3. What can be the role of the private sector and other actors in supporting diaspora organisations?
4. Which kind of support would be useful for Georgian diaspora organisations in countries of destination?
5. How can the skills and capacities of diaspora organisations be enhanced?
Annex 1: What have other countries done?
10
Emigrant Support Programme (ESP)
Country: Ireland
Web address: https://www.irishabroadgrants.ie/
The Emigrant Support Programme, implemented by the Irish Abroad Unit, has been a global leader in supporting
diaspora vulnerabilities since 2004. Over the last decade, the Emigrant Support Programme has spent over 114
million euros supporting not for profit organisations and projects that support Irish communities abroad. This is
designed to allow the Irish Government to “develop more strategic links with the global Irish and to support frontline
welfare services that help the most vulnerable members of our overseas communities.”
As an intrinsically support based platform, the ESP is part of an integrative, policy coherent approach within the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to simultaneously engage both successful and vulnerable Irish abroad. The
ESP, through its specific foci on culture, community and heritage projects allows for Irish culture to serve a therapeutic
function for the segment of the diaspora community that needs it most, the vulnerable. This work has also established
10 In 2014, Diaspora Matters published a listing on 100 diaspora initiatives that showcased some best practice across the globe on diaspora engagement
(www.diasporamatters.com). Here, we showcase a few that have some relevance to the aims of the Georgian diaspora portfolio.
important transparency and trust with Irish communities abroad and, more often than not, helped rather than hindered
engagement of the successful. The dual approach of the Irish Abroad Unit is now recognised as best practice, in
concept and implementation, and holds strong lessons for other global governmental departments engaging diaspora.
There remains a tendency for governments to either engage the successful OR vulnerable, when in fact, they should
be engaging the successful AND vulnerable.
ConnectIreland
Country: Ireland
Web address: https://www.connectireland.com/
ConnectIreland represents a fresh and innovative approach in attracting Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland.
Through an integrative incentive based model, ConnectIreland has transformed traditional perspectives of inward
investment by placing diaspora individuals as key influencers in their relationship with home. It remains a prime
example of how diaspora equals jobs. ConnectIreland have over 30,000 registered connectors, interested in or
actively seeking those wishing to expand their business into Ireland.
Taglit-Birthright Israel
Country: Israel
Web address: http://www.birthrightisrael.com/
Founded in 1990 by philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt Taglit-Birthright Israel is an all-expense
paid ten day educational tour of Israel. The trip is open to participants between the ages of 18 and 26 who have never
been to Israel on an education tour and have at least one Jewish grandparent. The aim of the trip is to strengthen
participant’s Jewish identity as well as their solidarity with Israel.
The first participants of Birthright arrived in Israel in 2000, since then over 400,000 Jewish young adults, from over 66
countries, have participated in the trip. The trip itself has been extensively researched and planned in order to
maximize results, independent research has shown the trip to be successful in fostering participants’ understanding
and identification with Israel as well as strengthening their Jewish identity.

Similar documents