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Dates: 28-29 April 2009

Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York


This seminar discussed challenges and opportunities in engaging diaspora communities in formal peacebuilding processes. It looked at the various forms in which diaspora actors - including refugees and displaced persons - can and do contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the areas of reconstruction, institutional capacity-building and reconciliation. Emphasis was placed on the capacities needed within diaspora communities and on the ground to most positively affect peace and development in post-conflict situations. Finally, potential interfaces between intergovernmental mechanisms, notably the Peacebuilding Commission, and diaspora actors was the subject of discussion.
Related Documents:

Opening Address
Mr. Carlos Lopes, Assistant-Secretary-General, Executive Director, UNITAR

Keynote address
H.E. Mr. Heraldo Munoz, President of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN

Peacebuilding and the role of diasporas
Ms. Meera Sethi, Senior Regional Advisor for Sub-Saharan Africa, External Relations Department, IOM

The role of refugees and return
Mr. Pierre Bertrand, Director, UNHCR New York Office

Providing institutional support for diaspora engagement
Mr. Michael Sho-Sawyer, Director, Executive Office of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President, Sierra Leone

USAID engagement with diaspora communities
Mr. Mark Hannafin, Senior Conflict Advisor / Technical Team Leader, USAID

Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN)
Mr. Joost van der Aalst, Chief of Mission, IOM Netherlands

The global diaspora database
Mr. Bela Hovy, Chief, Migration Section, Population Division, UN DESA

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia: Diaspora Project
Ms. Jennifer Presthold, Deputy Director, and Mr. Ahmed K. Sirleaf II, Programme Associate, The Advocates for Human Rights

Keynote address
Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director General, IOM

Additional Information

Seminar Programme
Information Note

Further Reading:

Brinkerhoff, Jennifer M. "Creating an Enabling Environment for Diasporas' Participation in Homeland Development", George Washington University, forthcoming in International Migration.

Brinkerhoff, Jennifer M. “Exploring the Role of Diasporas in Rebuilding Governance in Post-Conflict Societies.” In: Africa’s Finances: The Contribution of Remittances. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008: 239-262.

USAID: "Diaspora Networks Alliance"

USAID: "Diaspora Development Nexus: The role of ICT"

Zunzer, Wolfram: Diaspora Communities and Civil Conflict Transformation, Berghof Occasional Paper Nr. 26, September 2004, Berghof Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management

Final Report, UPEACE Expert Forum on Capacity Building for Peace and Development: Roles of Diaspora, Toronto, 19-20 October 2006

Related Links:

UNITAR/IOM/UNFPA/MacArthur Seminar on Diasporas and development in conflict-affected countries, 6 November 2007

African Diaspora Policy Center, Amsterdam

All participants and interested parties are encouraged to take part in the Online Dialogue in preparation of the Civil Society Days for the Third Global Forum on Migration and Development to take place in Athens on 2-3 November 2009: http://www.gfmd2009.org/dialog.aspx