Diaspora Studies Initiative

The Diaspora Studies Initiative at the African Studies Center of the Pardee School of Global Studies explores the dynamics of transnational diaspora networks and communities in the current era of ever-increasing human and capital flows.  The intensifying global mobility presents unique challenges as well as opportunities for migrant and diaspora contributions to the development of their countries of origin or heritage. Hundreds of millions of people are living outside their countries of birth, and the recent global refugee crisis has resulted in mass displacement of an unprecedented scale.

Many recent global policy initiatives, including the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, highlight the relevance of facilitating and harnessing the social, economic and cultural contributions of transnational migrants. Diaspora and migrant enterprise, investment and remittances have tremendous potential to positively contribute to the global migration and development nexus. New institutional synergies and public-private partnerships are sought to promote the rights of migrants and the forcibly displaced, and facilitating sustainable livelihood activities and financial inclusion among these populations.  Diaspora organizations and other civil society initiatives are increasingly central actors in this global migration discourse.

The activities of the BU Diaspora Studies Initiative include diaspora organization and networking, its economic, social and cultural contributions in the form of individual and collective remittances, diaspora investment and entrepreneurship, and the formation of new transnational identities, institutions, and knowledge systems.  We also aim to provide a facilitating forum for diverse diaspora groups and networks to exchange experiences and strategy in effective diaspora engagement. The DSI activities build on our longitudinal work on migrant remittances and their contribution to development in post-conflict and transitional contexts, including past collaborative efforts across campus. DSI will allow the African Studies Center and its growing list of partners to explore new interdisciplinary avenues in the study of diaspora communities and their networks over time with the additional intention of understanding and improving relevant policies.

For more information, please email to Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor who is directing the initiative: rodima@bu.edu


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