Wednesday, 1 June 2011

CFP: "Diaspora Strategies: Encouragement, Evolution, and Engagement" 9-10 September, 2011 UCD Clinton Institute of American Studies, Dublin, Ireland

Diaspora Strategies: Encouragement, Evolution, and Engagement
9-10 September, 2011 UCD Clinton Institute of American Studies, Dublin, Ireland

Plenary Speakers:

Prof. Gabriel Sheffer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Gabriel Sheffer is Emiterus Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has researched and published extensively on diasporas. His publications include Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad, which was awarded the Israeli Political Science Association Prize for best book in 2004. During his career, he has been a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Max Planck Institute, amongst others. He has also served as a member of the editorial boards of leading journals and publications such as Diaspora and India Journal of Diaspora. He is a regular contributor to Israeli newspapers such as Ha`aretz, Ydioth A'haronot, and Ynet.

Kingsley Aikins (Networking Matters)

Kingsley Aikins worked for The Ireland Funds for 21 years and during that time over a quarter of a billion dollars was raised and distributed to over 1200 projects in Ireland, North and South. These projects were in the areas of peace and reconciliation, arts and culture, education and community development. The Funds are now active in 39 cities in 13 countries around the world and over 40,000 people attend more than 100 events annually. He is also co-founder on Networking Matters.

Tim Finch (Institute for Public Policy Research)
Tim Finch is ippr’s Director of Communications and is an expert in the areas of politics and media and strategic communications. He has degrees in politics from the London School of Economics and the University of Essex. His research and publications on diaspora strategies include GlobalBrit: Making the most of the British diaspora. He worked for a number of years for the BBC, latterly as a senior political journalist based at Westminster. He is a trustee of Asylum Aid, the Zimbabwe Association and the Ramphal Centre, and sits on the Housing and Migration Network.

There is much more to learn about diaspora engagement. Part of its promise lies in its extraordinary diversity- there is a diaspora partner for every dimension of development and for every corner of the earth. But for diaspora engagement policy to be most effective, it needs to move beyond the familiar language of using, tapping, or even exploiting diaspora ties into the language – and practice - of mutuality and reciprocity.” (Migration Policy Institute)

This conference will engage with one of the most pertinent political discourses emerging in recent decades, diaspora strategies. The conference aims to examine the definitional, theoretical and practical frameworks of diaspora strategies. It will examine historical connotations of the subject matter as well as more contemporary policy implications. It will examine the role diaspora strategies play in both the domestic and foreign policy of Ireland. Furthermore, it will locate such discourses within the broader international community, drawing out comparative analysis on questions of nationalism, identity and representation.

Possible topics:

Defining Diaspora: How do we define ‘diaspora’? Are there competing definitions of the term? How do they inform our understanding of different diasporas?

Diaspora Frameworks and Agency: How are diasporas structured, or indeed, are they? How do they evolve? Who or what instigates these processes?

Diaspora, Homelands and Hosts: What role does the perceived homeland play in diaspora consciousness? Does it have to be real, or can it be imagined? What is the relationship between diasporas and their homelands? Concurrently, what role does a host country play in a diaspora strategy?

Diaspora Strategies and Engagement: What is a diaspora strategy? Who should encourage diaspora strategies? What is their purpose? How can we progress to the language and practice of mutuality and reciprocity?

Diaspora Sections: Where can diasporas be strategically engaged? Historically, what had their role been in such areas as conflict resolution, philanthropy, and Foreign Direct Investment?

Diaspora Language: How central are native languages to diaspora communities? How many retain their language as a form of identity and community?

We invite single paper and panel proposals for this conference. Please send an email to with the following information

1. Name, contact details and academic affiliation
2. Paper title
3. 200-300 word abstract
4. Brief CV or biographical statement


The conference is kindly supported by the UCD Graduate School of Arts and Celtic Studies.

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