Did you know that there are over 215 million people living in the world now in a country other than the one they were born in? This is larger than the population of Brazil, and almost triples what the number of global migrants was in 1990. People move for different reasons -- economic opportunity, security, and family -- to different places. But despite these differences, many maintain close connections in their countries of origins.
Diaspora means "to scatter" in Greek, but today we use the term to describe a community of people who live outside their shared country of origin or ancestry but maintain active connections with it. A diaspora includes both emigrants and their descendants.
The Global Diaspora Forum (GDF) is an annual celebration of the potential of diaspora communities in development and diplomacy. The gathering challenges diaspora communities to create new partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and public institutions in order to make their engagements with their countries of origin more effective, scalable, and sustainable. The third annual GDF is going global with multi-city events continuing through and culminating in simultaneous live-streamed events from Washington, D.C.; Dublin, Ireland; and Silicon Valley, CA on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.
The focus of this year's GDF is on youth engagement and will feature high-level speakers from government agencies as well as celebrity diasporans, including Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede; USA Today's Christine Brennan; Olympic medalist and diplomat Michelle Kwan; Olympic marathoner Mebrahtom Keflezighi; and James Ihedigbo of the Baltimore Ravens.
If you would like to attend the forum, and are an active user of Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and follow the Department of State on social media, you can apply for the GDF Meetup. Just fill out this form by Thursday, May 9, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. EDT. Invitations are non-transferable and we cannot accommodate guests of those selected.
The Department of State will contact applicants via email with additional instructions for those selected to attend. If you are selected, you will be notified no later than Friday, May 10, 2013.
If you cannot come to the Department of State in Washington, D.C., to attend, we will be live-streaming the ceremony at www.state.gov and www.youtube.com/statevideo. You can also follow our coverage of the event on DipNote, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.
We hope you'll be able to join us!
About the Author: Richard Buangan serves as Director of Digital Engagement at the U.S. Department of State.