U.S. Department of State Engages Diaspora Communities at 2012 Global Diaspora Forum
On July 25-26, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted the second annual Global Diaspora Forum with USAID. Held with the intent of including diaspora leaders in foreign policy and development discussions, the 2012 Global Diaspora Forum consisted of two days of speakers, panels, and breakout sessions. Each focused on a specific topic relevant to the forum's theme "Moving Forward by Giving Back," including social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, partnering with public institutions, and enhancing trade, commerce, and development.
Many diaspora leaders spoke throughout the two-day forum, including the Department of State's Hillary Clinton, Kris Balderston, and Tara Sonenshine; USAID's Dr. Rajiv Shah; the American Refugee Committee's Daniel Wordsworth; the White House's Ben Rhodes; and the National Peace Corps Association's Molly Mattessich. During her keynote address on Day One of the forum, Secretary Clinton remarked on the significance of engaging diaspora communities.
"We all believe that diaspora communities have enormous potential. Through this forum, we're asking for your ideas." Madame Secretary then continued, "We have to send a clear, unmistakable call to action to everyone," followed by a personal narrative about one of several visits she made to Ireland while First Lady.
On the second day of discussion, the National Peace Corps Association's Molly Mattessich spoke during a panel that focused on innovations to affect change. Throughout her speech, Molly highlighted the significance of using Africa Rural Connect, whether as a diaspora member or not.
"This technology is different because it's collaborative,' Molly stated. 'Even if you're not of African descent or don't have an agriculture background, you still have something to contribute to Africa Rural Connect."
This message of working together with other communities, especially those that are part of the diaspora, was echoed throughout the two-day forum.
Want to hear more of Molly's remarks or other forum discussions? Listen to the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA)'s "Innovations to Affect Change" podcast or explore IdEA's other IdEApods.
Which topic discussed at this year's Global Diaspora Forum do you feel is most significant for the African diaspora? Give us your answers in the comments section below!
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