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 involving expertise in the African Studies Center, Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future, Center for Finance, Law and Policy, Humphrey Fellowship Program, other centers and programs in the Division of Regional and Thematic Studies of the Pardee School of Global Studies, departments of Anthropology and Economics, Questrom School of Business, School of Law, and School of Public Health. 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: rodima@bu.edu


Course on Grassroots Economies in Africa, CASIR 593, Spring 2019

Book Review: Neil Carrier’s “Little Mogadishu: Eastleigh, Nairobi’s Global Somali Hub,” by Daivi Rodima-Taylor

Building Inclusive Platforms for U.S.-Africa Engagement: Visit by the African Union Ambassador Chihombori-Quao

Upcoming Visit by African Union Ambassador

Diaspora Spotlight: Deeqo Jibril, Activist of Social Justice and Empowerment

Diaspora Spotlight:  Vivian Kobusingye Birchall, Diaspora Knowledge Ambassador

Boston African Diaspora Coalition Celebrates Innovation and PanAfrican Solidarity

Documentary film-maker Zadi Zokou’s new film BlackonBlack

Engaging the Diaspora for the Development of their Homelands: Diaspora Philanthropy Summit and African Diaspora Braintrust


The African Union, Constituency for Africa, Boston University and Harvard University Unite Around Diaspora Engagement

Towards A United African Diaspora:Effecting Change Through Knowledge and Investment, April 27

African Diaspora and Governance Symposium, November 7

Forging Meaningful Connections:  Diaspora Studies Initiative Holds Workshop On Networking And Fundraising



Boston University Report ‘African Diaspora and Remittances’

HHH & CFLP Financial Inclusion Report 2016

Youth and Remittances – Implications for Policy

Post-Conflict Remittances and Development Task Force Report