Celebrating Global Diaspora Week 2015

October 9, 2015
Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks at the 2015 Global Diaspora Week Launch Event.

Over the last 45 years, the number of people worldwide living outside their country of origin has almost tripled to over 230 million. The United States has the largest number of diaspora members of any country in the world at over 40 million. Virtually all Americans have immigrant roots, and these roots are a quintessential part of our national narrative.

At the State Department, we believe that diaspora communities have the potential to be a powerful partner for an engaged government. Today in Washington, D.C., Secretary John Kerry kicked off Global Diaspora Week (GDW), a week-long celebration of diaspora communities and their contributions to global development and diplomacy. From October 11 to 17, GDW will be marked with more than 85 events in more than 20 countries around the world. These events are self-driven and self-organized by diaspora individuals and communities, and spotlight the organizations, initiatives, and issues they feel are important.

GDW aims to create awareness, enable collaboration, and enhance learning amongst those working with diaspora communities. GDW includes events range from in-person convenings, like the African Diaspora Summit in the United Kingdom, to virtual webinars, such as an online chat session on catalyzing the growth of crowdfunding to transform lives in the Caribbean.

Some GDW events celebrate the arts and cultural connections that define diaspora as well as identify and promote a greater appreciation for diversity. The 6th Annual Silicon Valley African Film Festival is one example that will showcase 40 films from 17 African countries, along with live performances and discussions with African filmmakers.

GDW also emphasizes volunteerism as a way for diaspora members to give back. The U.S. Department of State’s MapGive initiative is hosting an online workshop on OpenStreetMap for individuals interested in contributing geographic information to support humanitarian and development initiatives.

Governments are also demonstrating their efforts to engage with and support diaspora communities around the world. The Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues is one of the most active, coordinating with over 230 Georgian diaspora organizations to generate social, cultural, and economic benefits for the country. During GDW, they will host more than 20 events throughout Georgia and countries with large populations of Georgian diaspora, including a regional diaspora economic forum, a diaspora awards ceremony, a charity painting auction, and youth leadership development competition.

Over the past years, diasporas have increasingly expressed interested in supporting entrepreneurs through mentoring, access to investment, and even joint-ventures. During GDW, Connect.Jo, an association of Jordanian Professionals Abroad will convene a collaborative discussion on the impact of entrepreneurship and youth on the betterment of Jordan, while StartUpValpo will host a conversation with international entrepreneurs attracted to Chile. GDW will also highlight the ongoing efforts of diaspora organizations to build capacity and develop leadership, as well as useful tools to maintain global relationships. A Digital Diaspora +SocialGood Google+ panel will showcase how local diasporas are strengthening sister city relationships through leveraging technology and digital media.

Anyone can host or participate in a Global Diaspora Week event. Search the interactive GDW map to find and register to participate in an event, and share your diaspora story on social media with #GDW2015.

About the Authors: Connie Tzioumis serves as Senior Adviser and Melanie Bonner serves as the Partnerships Coordinator in the U.S. Secretary of State's Office of Global Partnerships

For more information:

  • See Secretary Kerry's remarks at the 2015 Global Diaspora Week Launch Event "Partnering for Global Impact."

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Comments

Steven J.
|
Germany
October 13, 2015
You must be kidding! The significant damage that the United States Government is doing to its own diaspora and you are celebrating. You are truly out of touch with reality! What about the lives being ruined by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the US practice of Citizenship Based Taxation?? There are approximately 9 million Americans overseas as well as green card holders living overseas and their families whose lives are being ruined by the these policies and you chose to ignore it! All of your words about the American diaspora falls on deaf ears in the American diaspora community! Shame on you!
Jak D.
|
Australia
October 13, 2015
Please do not use CBT tax on our pensions and houses we earned and lived in for decades overseas
RG A.
|
Texas, USA
October 14, 2015
I applaud your recognition that "diaspora communities have the potential to be a powerful partner for an engaged government." However, that potential is being squandered, and indeed turned negative, by the outright persecution of American Expats through the recent implementation of the onerous FATCA legislation. By bullying foreign governments and banks to turn over financial information on anyone living outside the US who has any kind of an American connection, the US Treasury Department is devastating the lives of millions of its long-loyal and formerly proud citizens. The American Diaspora have become pariahs: bank accounts closed, mortgage loans prematurely called in, investments denied, jobs lost, opportunities for advancement blocked. These are not the "fat cat" tax cheats, who are surely finding ways to hide their wealth from auditors - these are regular middle-class folks who once spoke highly of the land of their birth ... but who have been arbitrarily presumed to be tax criminals until proven innocent. It has turned many, many of the Diaspora bitterly against the American government, some to the point of renouncing their US citizenship altogether - simply so they can live a normal life.
Suzanne H.
|
Canada
October 14, 2015
If you define "diaspora" as Americans who live only a year or two outside the US, then perhaps the US is doing as well as other nations, but for those of us who live permanently abroad it's quite a different picture. The US's tax system and asset reporting obligations as such make it impossible to thrive as a resident of another country in the long term. Here is where citizens of other countries have a huge advantage over Americans when it comes to employment, investment and relationship opportunities, as no other nations expats are required to continue paying taxes as though they are still resident in their native country. One of the biggest shocks to Americans who've moved abroad is the realization that the country that they've grown up believing is the biggest champion of freedom in the world has the least free diaspora on the planet when it comes to global mobility. The US needs to enter the modern world and tax based on residency not citizenship - as virtually every other nation does, allowing its diaspora to integrate fully with the rest of the world without having to renounce US citizenship.
Marco S.
|
Germany
October 14, 2015
The first bank in Germany adviced me to renounce my U.S. Citizenship, if I would like to buy plain German investment products because of the U.S. FATCA law now in place in Germany...and the celebration continues: I can't open a securities account in the U.S. because I don't reside in the U.S.
Caroline D.
|
Australia
October 14, 2015
Utter garbage. Renunciations are at their highest rate EVER in history. #EndFatca Evil. Expats are treated as criminals. Mr Kerry if only US policy reflected what you are spouting here.

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