Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit “Harnessing the Power of the Irish Diaspora” – Review

Everyone needs to get their hands on a copy of this book, Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit which is available from the Diaspora Matters website, if for no other reason than the fact that these authors have taken the time and effort to implement for Ireland a plan of action against the potential of downfall.

Putting together an assembly of high achievers with Irish roots and global connections could mean Ireland’s economic recovery could be more than a slow uphill struggle; it could accelerate us back to where we were before the Celtic Tiger’s roar was silenced.

Putting a plan in action of any shape or form has the benefit of planting in fertile minds the notion of survival and allowing like-minded people to come together and consider how they can help themselves. If this plan were completely moot, I would still say it is an idea worthwhile for this reason alone.

As the recent global recession has proven, “No nation is an island.” We are all interconnected. Kingsley Aikins and Nicola White believe that by harnessing the power of the global diaspora and implementing a diaspora strategy, we can aim to extend our networks and by default reclaim some of our lost power in our time of greatest need.

Quotes from Hilary Clinton and JF Kennedy are cited that support the authors’ feelings on the importance of global relationships. One is reminded of the presence in Ireland this year of Barack Obama and The Queen, following a hundred-year absence of any royal monarch on Irish soil, that the authors might be onto something. Gaining a global presence and striving for a leading role on the world stage and important allies can only stand to improve matters for us.

What is clear from this strategy toolkit is that Kingsley and his group are committed to improving Ireland and its communities through philanthropy, access to global markets and the advocacy of brand ‘Ireland’. This strategy is based on collation and analysis of the experience of Diaspora organisations from around the world.

Kingsley emphasises that, “Networking with the diaspora is going to be a key piece in Ireland’s economic recovery.”

The discussion topics at the recent Global Irish Economic Forum touch on a lot of the themes in the book; philanthropy, trade, investment, tourism, culture, education and sport were all discussed.

“In all of those areas there were initiatives suggested and now the key is execution,” Kingsley comments, “But the government seems determined and they have set themselves a hundred-day target that they will have a whole series of initiatives in place by.”

How can we make all this networking possible? Technology is the key and the most outright way of opening up the endless connections that stand to be made with the overseas diaspora.

“The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow” – Bill Gates.

The good news is that we don’t have to start from scratch. Groups such as the Irish Technology Leadership Group, that encourage and support entrepreneurship and innovation in the Irish Innovation Center, are a prime example of the benefits that can be reaped by engaging with the larger Irish diaspora.

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