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    Regional, youth Farmleighs to follow Global Irish Economic Forum

    Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin has released the “Progress Report on Follow-up to The Global Irish Economic Forum”. The report outlines a number of initiatives that have been undertaken following the Global Irish Economic Forum, which was held at Farmleigh in September 2009.  The forum had two aims: first, to explore how the Irish abroad could contribute to economic recovery, and second, to examine ways in which Ireland and its global community could develop a more strategic relationship with each other.

    While the Forum has in the past few months occasionally been criticised in the media as a talking shop, it’s clear the government is trying to demonstrate the impact of the event on its economic strategy. The report include specific projects in the areas of diaspora engagement,  economic policy, culture, innovation, tourism, greentech, international financial services, and agriculture and food. Among the ideas on diaspora engagement are:

    • Global Irish Network – This network of 300 people in 37 countries was launched and held its first meeting on 4 February. The network is intended to serve as a resource for the Government in promoting Ireland’s economic, cultural and tourism messages in key markets.
    • Regional “Farmleighs” – Meetings in a number of countries with visiting members will take place in 2010.
    • Supporting business and technology networks – The Government has funded the Irish Technology Leadership Group in Silicon Valley with $251,000; Craig Barrett has been appointed the new chair of the ITLG. An Irish Innovation Centre is due to open in California “in the first quarter of 2010″.
    • Farmleigh Overseas Graduate Programme – The Government is working to establish a programme to facilitate up to 500 graduate placesments abroad; the initial focus will be in Asia.
    • Youth Forum for the Global Irish – The DFA is working with the Ireland Funds to convene a Forum in June 2010 for 100 younger members of the global Irish community.
    • Gateway Ireland – John McColgan of Riverdance is moving this private-sector initiative forward, aimed at creating “a new high-quality Irish portal website”.
    • Diaspora Bond – The Government is examining the feasiblity of extending the National Solidarity Bond, announced in Budget 2010, to non-Irish residents.
    • Local Diaspora Strategies – Each Irish embassy is producing a strategy aimed at supporting and enhancing engagement with the local Irish community.

    There are more proposals under the aforementioned other subheadings.  Some of the ideas that are under development include:

    • The New Irish centre in New York, toward which the Irish government has pledged 2.3 million euro
    • A new performing arts university, which is in the exploratory phase
    • Efforts to maximise the tourism potential of online access to genealogy records
    • A new strategy for Asia and emerging markets
    • The development of “Food and Drink Diaspora” network by Bord Bia
    • The maintenance of investment in research and development in Budget 2010
    • The development of proposals by the Innovation Task Force to address issues raised at Farmleigh.

    As someone who’s been studying Ireland’s engagement with its diaspora for years, it’s clear to me that we’ve entered a new era in our relationship with the Irish abroad.

    Some of these ideas might be a hard sell (diaspora bonds, anyone?), but even more important than the new initiatives are the enhanced desire for engagement by the Irish government.  Recent years have seen extraordinary changes and an increasingly sophisticated relationship developing between Ireland and our diaspora. Part of this has been influenced by changing trends in global diaspora strategies, much of it by Ireland’s peculiar circumstances. It will be exciting to see how this relationship grows, and particularly how the Irish diaspora will respond to this increasing outreach.

    See the entire report at the GlobalIrishForum website.

    Related pages on GlobalIrish.ie:

    Tweet archive: international diaspora roundup

    Monday, January 11th, 2010

    Here are a few Tweets I’ve posted in the last few weeks regarding diaspora happenings of other nations.

    “Irish in Britain” event debates diaspora role

    Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

    I did up this report for the Irish Emigrant newsletter at Emigrant.ie

    UCD’s John Hume Institute brought its third annual Irish Diaspora Forum to London this week, bringing together politicians, historians, writers, business executives and others from the Irish community.  UCD president Hugh Brady joked that the “Irish in Britain” event allowed London to become “Connemara East” for the day. He called the forum series “a rolling conversation exploring the nature of the relationship between Ireland and Irish people and people who identify with Ireland.” The first two  forums, which were co-organised by Irish America magazine and The Ireland Funds along with UCD, were held in 2007 in New York and in 2008 in Dublin.

    The speakers at this year’s event, which drew about 100 people, included academics Mary Daly, Diarmaid Ferriter, Declan Kiberd, Mary Hickman and Cormac O’Grada; writer Frank McGuinness; Olympian John Treacy; legendary sports broadcaster Micheal O Muircheartaigh;  former Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald, and many more. The panel sessions explored three themes: the Irish Diaspora as agents of political change, Diaspora as creative impulse, and cultural branding in the Diaspora. The final session asked the question “What does the future hold for Ireland and its Diaspora?” It was a day of lively debate, with contrasting views of the Diaspora and the future role of emigrants emerging.

    One of the highlights was the awarding of the UCD John Hume Medal to former president Mary Robinson. While the award recognised the work Ms Robinson had done on raising the profile of the Irish abroad during her presidency in the 1990s, she made it clear that there were many in Ireland who had not appreciated the importance of the diaspora at the time. She described the response in the Oireachtas as she gave her ground-breaking speech, “Cherishing the Diaspora”: “it was going down like a lead balloon… there was no doubt in my mind that members of the Oireachtas did not want to hear [about the diaspora]“. She said she left the speech, deeply depressed, but then “messages started to come in from all over the world,” and Ms Robinson realised her speech had meant a great deal to the Irish abroad. Ted Kennedy even entered the speech into the US Congressional record. The contrast between the response of the Irish in Ireland and the global Irish response “reinforced my sense that we underestimated our diaspora”, she said.

    Much has changed since then, and the Irish Diaspora, of course, is enjoying a high profile in Ireland these days; the recent Farmleigh Conference in particular has raised questions about what role the Irish Diaspora might play in Ireland’s future and its economic development. But the crisis that served as the impetus for this new outreach to the Diaspora has also sparked a renewed uptick in emigration by the young unemployed. It was this dual reality that was at the heart of one of the differences that emerged in the day: whether the dominant image of the Irish worldwide was more accurately portrayed as that of a global professional, entrepreneurial class or that of a sometimes vulnerable, potentially marginalized, migratory workforce at the mercy of the global economy.

    Most of the attendees and speakers were at the professional end of the spectrum: this was an event that was pitched at UCD alumni living in London, and with a 55-euro fee and a setting in the Royal Society, the event would probably have seemed inaccessible to less affluent members of the Irish community.

    It was a consideration of the most vulnerable Irish emigrants, however, that provoked the most passionate contribution of the day, from writer Frank McGuinness. He discussed Children of the Dead End, the classic emigration novel written by Patrick MacGill, describing MacGill as “one man who spoke out to give voice to the voiceless”. McGuinness outlined MacGill’s depiction of the Irish dispossessed, who had been failed by their families and their society: “their bodies are their own only insofar as they can be rented out for other’s benefits”, and their “contact with home would eventually be reduced to letters that said ‘Send money home’.”

    McGuinness said, “May we be forgiven for what we did – and continue to do – to our poorest”. Adding that the vast majority of the new class of emigrants are construction workers who left school young, he suggested that he would “give everyone emigrating a copy of this book”. It would serve as a warning: “You’re up for a fight – and be prepared for it.”

    One contributor, former Esat Digiphone CEO Barry Moloney, bridged the gap between the two visions of the diaspora when he envisioned that global Irish professionals had a role to play in preventing emigration in the future. Describing the diaspora as “the single most important thing that can help” in developing Ireland’s economy in the future, he said, “I take that responsibility very seriously”. He said that in forums such as this and the Farmleigh conference, economic strategising by the diaspora was “the number one agenda item if we’re going to help so our kids don’t have to go abroad again.”

    The issue of emigrant voting arose during several of the speaker’s contributions. Diarmaid Ferriter was the first to bring it up, noting how Polish politicians had courted the vote of the Poles living in Ireland. He asked, “Would the Irish political situation have been different had the Irish of the 1950s had the vote?”

    Mary Hickman noted that the issue of emigrant voting rights was “more taboo” than in the past, even though 115 nations allow emigrant voting rights. She also suggested that the diaspora, Northern Ireland and new immigrants presented a three-prong challenge to Ireland, noting that despite the reform of Article Two of the Constitution, “the national territory and its governance remain ring-fenced”.

    This issue provoked the most heated discussion of the day, as former Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald suggested that the American Revolution’s famous rallying cry for democracy, “No taxation without representation” needed to be inverted in an Irish context into “No representation without taxation”. He also expressed fears about the candidates that the Irish in America, in particular, might vote for.

    Dermot Gallagher, the former secretary-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs, also voiced opposition to the idea of emigrant voting, citing a potential example of a woman in California with one Irish grandparent being eligible to vote (although Mary Hickman had explicitly stated that she was not proposing voting rights for second or later generations). Mr Gallagher did welcome an exploration of the idea of political participation by emigrants through representation in the Seanad, however.  Judging from the emotional response to the debate, the role of emigrants in Ireland’s political structures in the future is an issue likely to arise in the future.

    Mary Robinson, in one of the closing comments of the conference noted that the Irish diaspora doesn’t just want a connection with Ireland; there is “a notion of being able to reimagine Ireland because we’re making more of a link?. She pointed to the diaspora’s ability to bring greater understanding of our history, to act as a bridge on climate change, and to unite to create huge numbers of jobs as potential benefits of making and remaking connections within the diaspora.

    Related web pages:

    Global Economic Forum East – China turns to its diaspora

    Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
    China is the latest country to announce that it wil turn to its diaspora for assistance with economic strategy and global networking.
    The first World Chinese Economic Forum will be held in Malaysia on November 16 and 17, themed “Building Business Linkages, Charting New Frontiers”. It is aimed at leaders in government, professional bodies, educational institutions and think tanks, as well as entrepreneurs, professionals and investors from  around the globe, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, France, Switzerland, Pakistan and China.
    Among the organisers are the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, a non-profit independent think tank in Malaysia focusing on international business partnerships, leadership, strategic thinking, and public policy studies.
    The sessions look fascinating, exploring entrepreneurship, sustainable development, financing, real estate, and regional and global development. One talk is entitled “China and ASEAN (Association of Southeasat Asian Nations) – Partnering for an Asian Century”.
    Among the more interesting diaspora-related panels:
    “Leveraging on the World Chinese Muslim Network – building a new silk route from The Middle East to China”. Focusing on the tens of millions of Chinese Muslims in China, throughout Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
    “The Chinese Diaspora Worldwide – Entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility: Key challenges ahead”. Examining the role of the Chinese diaspora in the economic development of other nations and wayst to channel that energy for maximum social benefit.
    “Global Chinese Entrepreneurship – the rise of young Taipans”. Focusing on the younger entrepreneurs, both chinese-born and from the second generation.
    With so many emerging efforts to engage the diasporas of various nations around the world, it’s good that Ireland has been upping its game in this respect. Our huge diaspora gives us a head start in engaging with our citizens abroad, but Unlike the Global Irish Economic Forum, which was overly restricted in being limited to only 180 participants, this one is open to anyone willing to part with the $800 registration fee.
    http://www.swinburne.edu.au/business/documents/news/world-chinese-economic-forum-2009.pdf

    China is the latest country that it will turn to its diaspora for assistance with economic strategy and global networking.  The first World Chinese Economic Forum will be held in Malaysia on November 16 and 17, themed “Building Business Linkages, Charting New Frontiers”.

    It is aimed at leaders in government, professional bodies, educational institutions and think tanks, as well as entrepreneurs, professionals and investors from  around the globe, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, France, Switzerland, Pakistan and China.

    Among the organisers are the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, a non-profit independent think tank in Malaysia focusing on international business partnerships, leadership, strategic thinking, and public policy studies.

    The sessions look dynamic and practical, exploring entrepreneurship, sustainable development, financing, real estate, and regional and global development. One talk is entitled “China and ASEAN (Association of Southeasat Asian Nations) – Partnering for an Asian Century”.

    Among the more interesting diaspora-related panels:

    • “Leveraging on the World Chinese Muslim Network – building a new silk route from The Middle East to China”. Focusing on the tens of millions of Chinese Muslims in China, throughout Southeast Asia and elsewhere.
    • “The Chinese Diaspora Worldwide – Entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility: Key challenges ahead”. Examining the role of the Chinese diaspora in the economic development of other nations and ways to channel that energy for maximum social benefit.
    • “Global Chinese Entrepreneurship – the rise of young Taipans”. Focusing on the younger entrepreneurs, both Chinese-born and from the second generation.

    With so many emerging efforts to engage the diasporas of various nations around the world, it’s good that Ireland has been upping its game in this respect. Our huge diaspora gives us a head start in engaging with our citizens abroad, and we have numerous local, regional and industry-based networks aimed at assisting the Irish at home and abroad in maximising their business efforts – but it’s clear that we are not alone in our ability to galvanise a global force of entrepreneurs and investors for our national economic benefit. And with the size of the global Chinese community estimated at between 30 and 120 million, a strong network will have a powerful impact.

    Unlike the Global Irish Economic Forum, which was overly restricted in being limited to only 180 participants, this one is open to anyone willing to part with the $800 registration fee.  Perhaps some of our global Irish entrepreneurs with Chinese and Asian links might be interested in attending – and with the Chinese and Irish diasporas being two of the world’s largest, joint networking could mean profound mutual benefits around the globe and at home.

    Download the World Chinese Economic Forum brochure.

    Tweets from Global Irish Economic Forum

    Friday, October 9th, 2009
    Martin: “set Ireland’s relationship with global community on a new exciting course” – looking forward to seeing results. #gief
    3:57 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin says #gief caught the public’s imagination.. Not sure it’s caught the Irish media’s – will get better press outside of Ireland #gief
    3:53 PM Sep 19th from web
    McW thanks Joe Hackett of Irish Abroad Unit and all at DFA for organising.
    3:50 PM Sep 19th from web
    Shame that this conference was so closed – both to press and other willing participants! 180 people out of diaspora of 70 million #gief
    3:49 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin, McW say it should be open – conscious of those watching online #gief
    3:48 PM Sep 19th from web
    Dubai-based person suggests keep the discussion going on small website solely for participants, with password. Open it up, I say! #gief
    3:47 PM Sep 19th from web
    @IrishArtsCenter – I agree. Can’t beat the dynamism. No twitter presence here yet, if you mean gief.
    3:45 PM Sep 19th from web
    Have to send our politicians abroad on St Patrick’s Day – they get access.
    3:44 PM Sep 19th from web
    Israel again: Birthright programmes – aim educational programmes at younger than college. McW makes analogy w/ gaeltacht summers #gief
    3:37 PM Sep 19th from web
    3rd-gen Irish-American: self-selection of culture-carriers. Not pulled back to any centralised entity. Pay attention to next gen. #gief
    3:35 PM Sep 19th from web
    Malaysian-Irish business organisation founder: diaspora in reverse. Pay more attention to those connections! #gief
    3:33 PM Sep 19th from web
    Hartnett: need people in this room to get in the game re internet. share ideas, thoughts #gief
    3:30 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martina Newell McLoughlin: need to get past tribalism. make sure we’re risk-averse. visionaries and dreamers will take us there #gief
    3:29 PM Sep 19th from web
    comment about Irish-American bus driver dad – let’s hear it for the bus-driver daddies. Mine was one too! #gief
    3:26 PM Sep 19th from web
    O’Brien: applause for comment that we need a yes vote – Lisbon “the elephant in the room”
    3:24 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin pulls back from Israel model – “we’re not in that space” #gief
    3:22 PM Sep 19th from web
    McWilliams raises question of diaspora bonds – to finance some of these projects – cash ringfenced. Israel model again #gief
    3:21 PM Sep 19th from web
    McColgan: calls for umbrella website that Team Ireland speaks with one voice, wants “best website in world”. #gief
    3:19 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin asks for feedback from Asia, Russia, other places with no embassies – how to harness diaspora? O’Brien says internet #gief
    3:15 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin coming in on culture point: we’re world-class at that. “We don’t support it enough internationally, to be blunt about it.” #gief
    3:09 PM Sep 19th from web
    applause for dermot desmond on that one. #gief
    3:06 PM Sep 19th from web
    Dermot Desmond: How can we monetise our culture? Should build greatest university in world for performing arts #gief
    3:05 PM Sep 19th from web
    Commentator: outcome should be clear identification of key strenghts and then go execute them #gief
    3:03 PM Sep 19th from web
    McWilliams: Ireland is recharging battery for the Irishness of the diaspora #gief
    3:01 PM Sep 19th from web
    Hartnett uncomfortable with term “diaspora” – “You feel like you’re a little alien. I’m from Limerick.” #gief
    2:55 PM Sep 19th from web
    Casey: international support structure for people going abroad should be developed – done locally already -what kind of platform? #gief
    2:53 PM Sep 19th from web
    much talk of raising the game #gief
    2:51 PM Sep 19th from web
    Martin: looking for sustainable global Irish network – #gief
    2:50 PM Sep 19th from web
    O’Brien: use Israeli model for soft power in US, open more embassies, better resource Enterprise Ireland #gief
    2:43 PM Sep 19th from web
    O’Brien – need 10-20 year plan to connect with 70 million of diaspora – with culture at the heart. IF diaspora strategy rprt template #gief
    2:40 PM Sep 19th from web
    Panel: Micheal Martin, American Ireland Fund, entrepreneur Liam Casey, Digicel chair Denis O’Brien, ITLG John Hartnett #gief
    2:38 PM Sep 19th from web
    Start of final session: McWilliams explains “Jack Charlton theory of economics” #gief
    2:32 PM Sep 19th from web
    Emigration has provided a “base” for creation of “some sort of formal structure” – “what was a weakness becomes a base”: Swanson #gief
    1:42 PM Sep 19th from web
    Swanson assumes since government “went to trouble” of bringing everyone here “they’ll take some good order of what they’re hearing”: #gief
    1:39 PM Sep 19th from web
    Dennis Swanson, Fox Pres: Culture discussion panel this morning was “passionate” – “Culture always has to fight for its place” #gief
    1:37 PM Sep 19th from web
    @janeruffino suspect the closed discussions may be franker than #gief participants are saying publicly.
    1:34 PM Sep 19th from web
    Going out in hope of getting informal updates from participants as they break for lunch. #gief
    12:52 PM Sep 19th from web
    Entertaining take on #gief and our “seriously serious” times from Indo: http://url.ie/2gql
    12:08 PM Sep 19th from web
    @BrianGreene – ha! we’ll talk…
    12:04 PM Sep 19th from web
    3 breakout groups now: Innovation island, Promoting Brand Ireland, Ireland’s image abroad – what role can new media play? #gief
    10:40 AM Sep 19th from web
    Back in Farmleigh – no open forum till panel at 2:30: Ireland and Diaspora: harnessing a unique resource. David McWilliams moderating #gief
    10:37 AM Sep 19th from web
    Leaving Farmleigh now – blog post with quick roundup of some participants’ thoughts on day http://url.ie/2gnr #gief
    7:09 PM Sep 18th from web
    Blog post – some initial thoughts on Global Irish Economic Forum – http://url.ie/2gn0 — #gief
    5:38 PM Sep 18th from web
    @janeruffino I agree on importance of looking internally as well!
    2:41 PM Sep 18th from web
    @janeruffino I think people have left in past due to frustration, yes – and also Ireland has been utterly dismissive of diaspora in past
    2:40 PM Sep 18th from web
    @janeruffino – I hear you. I think it’s an attitude many in diaspora would have faced in the past. Remains to be seen if it will change.
    2:34 PM Sep 18th from web
    @janeruffino Interesting question as to whether desire for wisdom of Irish diaspora is based on more than its value as economic unit
    2:25 PM Sep 18th from web
    “We need your help defining economic opportunities” – Taoiseach #gief
    2:21 PM Sep 18th from web
    “start of important new phase in our relationship with Irish people across the world” – Taoiseach #gief
    2:19 PM Sep 18th from web
    taoiseach: giving assertion of Article 2 a “renewed impetus” this weekend #gief
    2:13 PM Sep 18th from web
    Incorporating North – Martin and Cowen have referred to 6 million on island of Ireland – with island at centre of 70 million pop #gief
    2:10 PM Sep 18th from web
    Taoiseach: Diaspora “part of our history, part of our nation – the new article two of our constitution confirms that” #gief
    1:30 PM Sep 18th from web
    Taoiseach says Global Irish Forum not just a weekend – “a structured dialogue” with diaspora on “ongoing basis” #gief
    1:29 PM Sep 18th from web
    Kingsley Aikins on diaspora strategy, Global Irish Economic Forum in Irish Times: http://url.ie/2gi3 #gief
    1:43 AM Sep 18th from webThe

    I’ve just been looking at ways of backing up my Twitter postings. From the archives, this is a roundup of my Tweets from the Global Irish Economic Forum held in Farmleigh on September 18 and 19th:

    Martin: “set Ireland’s relationship with global community on a new exciting course” – looking forward to seeing results. #gief - 3:57 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin says #gief caught the public’s imagination.. Not sure it’s caught the Irish media’s – will get better press outside of Ireland #gief - 3:53 PM Sep 19th from web

    McW thanks Joe Hackett of Irish Abroad Unit and all at DFA for organising. - 3:50 PM Sep 19th from web

    Shame that this conference was so closed – both to press and other willing participants! 180 people out of diaspora of 70 million #gief - 3:49 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin, McW say it should be open – conscious of those watching online #gief - 3:48 PM Sep 19th from web

    Dubai-based person suggests keep the discussion going on small website solely for participants, with password. Open it up, I say! #gief - 3:47 PM Sep 19th from web

    @IrishArtsCenter – I agree. Can’t beat the dynamism. No twitter presence here yet, if you mean gief. - 3:45 PM Sep 19th from web

    Have to send our politicians abroad on St Patrick’s Day – they get access. - 3:44 PM Sep 19th from web

    Israel again: Birthright programmes – aim educational programmes at younger than college. McW makes analogy w/ gaeltacht summers #gief - 3:37 PM Sep 19th from web

    3rd-gen Irish-American: self-selection of culture-carriers. Not pulled back to any centralised entity. Pay attention to next gen. #gief - 3:35 PM Sep 19th from web

    Malaysian-Irish business organisation founder: diaspora in reverse. Pay more attention to those connections! #gief - 3:33 PM Sep 19th from web

    Hartnett: need people in this room to get in the game re internet. share ideas, thoughts #gief - 3:30 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martina Newell McLoughlin: need to get past tribalism. make sure we’re risk-averse. visionaries and dreamers will take us there #gief - 3:29 PM Sep 19th from web

    comment about Irish-American bus driver dad – let’s hear it for the bus-driver daddies. Mine was one too! #gief - 3:26 PM Sep 19th from web

    O’Brien: applause for comment that we need a yes vote – Lisbon “the elephant in the room” - 3:24 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin pulls back from Israel model – “we’re not in that space” #gief - 3:22 PM Sep 19th from web

    McWilliams raises question of diaspora bonds – to finance some of these projects – cash ringfenced. Israel model again #gief - 3:21 PM Sep 19th from web

    McColgan: calls for umbrella website that Team Ireland speaks with one voice, wants “best website in world”. #gief - 3:19 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin asks for feedback from Asia, Russia, other places with no embassies – how to harness diaspora? O’Brien says internet #gief - 3:15 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin coming in on culture point: we’re world-class at that. “We don’t support it enough internationally, to be blunt about it.” #gief - 3:09 PM Sep 19th from web

    applause for dermot desmond on that one. #gief - 3:06 PM Sep 19th from web

    Dermot Desmond: How can we monetise our culture? Should build greatest university in world for performing arts #gief - 3:05 PM Sep 19th from web

    Commentator: outcome should be clear identification of key strengths and then go execute them #gief - 3:03 PM Sep 19th from web

    McWilliams: Ireland is recharging battery for the Irishness of the diaspora #gief - 3:01 PM Sep 19th from web

    Hartnett uncomfortable with term “diaspora” – “You feel like you’re a little alien. I’m from Limerick.” #gief - 2:55 PM Sep 19th from web

    Casey: international support structure for people going abroad should be developed – done locally already -what kind of platform? #gief - 2:53 PM Sep 19th from web

    much talk of raising the game #gief - 2:51 PM Sep 19th from web

    Martin: looking for sustainable global Irish network – #gief - 2:50 PM Sep 19th from web

    O’Brien: use Israeli model for soft power in US, open more embassies, better resource Enterprise Ireland #gief - 2:43 PM Sep 19th from web

    O’Brien – need 10-20 year plan to connect with 70 million of diaspora – with culture at the heart. IF diaspora strategy rprt template #gief - 2:40 PM Sep 19th from web

    Panel: Micheal Martin, American Ireland Fund, entrepreneur Liam Casey, Digicel chair Denis O’Brien, ITLG John Hartnett #gief - 2:38 PM Sep 19th from web

    Start of final session: McWilliams explains “Jack Charlton theory of economics” #gief - 2:32 PM Sep 19th from web

    Emigration has provided a “base” for creation of “some sort of formal structure” – “what was a weakness becomes a base”: Swanson #gief - 1:42 PM Sep 19th from web

    Swanson assumes since government “went to trouble” of bringing everyone here “they’ll take some good order of what they’re hearing”: #gief - 1:39 PM Sep 19th from web

    Dennis Swanson, Fox Pres: Culture discussion panel this morning was “passionate” – “Culture always has to fight for its place” #gief - 1:37 PM Sep 19th from web

    @janeruffino suspect the closed discussions may be franker than #gief participants are saying publicly. - 1:34 PM Sep 19th from web

    Going out in hope of getting informal updates from participants as they break for lunch. #gief - 12:52 PM Sep 19th from web

    Entertaining take on #gief and our “seriously serious” times from Indo: http://url.ie/2gql - 12:08 PM Sep 19th from web

    3 breakout groups now: Innovation island, Promoting Brand Ireland, Ireland’s image abroad – what role can new media play? #gief - 10:40 AM Sep 19th from web

    Back in Farmleigh – no open forum till panel at 2:30: Ireland and Diaspora: harnessing a unique resource. David McWilliams moderating #gief - 10:37 AM Sep 19th from web

    Leaving Farmleigh now – blog post with quick roundup of some participants’ thoughts on day http://url.ie/2gnr #gief - 7:09 PM Sep 18th from web

    Blog post – some initial thoughts on Global Irish Economic Forum – http://url.ie/2gn0 — #gief - 5:38 PM Sep 18th from web

    @janeruffino I agree on importance of looking internally as well! - 2:41 PM Sep 18th from web

    @janeruffino I think people have left in past due to frustration, yes – and also Ireland has been utterly dismissive of diaspora in past - 2:40 PM Sep 18th from web

    @janeruffino – I hear you. I think it’s an attitude many in diaspora would have faced in the past. Remains to be seen if it will change. - 2:34 PM Sep 18th from web

    @janeruffino Interesting question as to whether desire for wisdom of Irish diaspora is based on more than its value as economic unit - 2:25 PM Sep 18th from web

    “We need your help defining economic opportunities” – Taoiseach #gief - 2:21 PM Sep 18th from web

    “start of important new phase in our relationship with Irish people across the world” – Taoiseach #gief - 2:19 PM Sep 18th from web

    taoiseach: giving assertion of Article 2 a “renewed impetus” this weekend #gief - 2:13 PM Sep 18th from web

    Incorporating North – Martin and Cowen have referred to 6 million on island of Ireland – with island at centre of 70 million pop #gief - 2:10 PM Sep 18th from web

    Taoiseach: Diaspora “part of our history, part of our nation – the new article two of our constitution confirms that” #gief - 1:30 PM Sep 18th from web

    Taoiseach says Global Irish Forum not just a weekend – “a structured dialogue” with diaspora on “ongoing basis” #gief - 1:29 PM Sep 18th from web

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    Commentator: Irish don’t get it – Israel gives back to diaspora

    Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

    Here’s an interesting perspective on recent Irish outreach to the diaspora – in an article on the Jerusalem Post, commentator Rob Brown  says Ireland doesn’t get what makes the Israeli diaspora different.

    The central distinction, says the former media editor of The Independent in London, is that Ireland simply isn’t the hub for its diaspora in the way that Israel is for the global Jewish community:

    Since the foundation of the Free State in 1922, there has been no great ingathering of the sons and daughters of Erin – not even after Ireland got rich in recent decades and could no longer plead poverty as an excuse. A recent head of state, Mary Robinson, kept a light burning for emigrants in a window of the presidential palace in Phoenix Park, but that was a purely symbolic gesture. There have been no dramatic airlifts of frightened Irish emigrants out of Africa or anywhere else, and generations of Irishmen have never prayed: “Next year in Dublin!”

    Sure, if they’ve downed a few too many whiskeys, they might refer fondly to the “oul’ sod.” But they don’t regard Ireland as the center, the spring, the source from whence they came. The Republic of Ireland isn’t their Promised Land.

    He says the Global Irish Economic Forum seems “a smart business move”, but adds “there’s a whole lot more to the Israeli relationship with Jews around the globe than just that”. Jews have a real home in Israel:

    The Jewish state is every Jew’s guaranteed place of refuge, and seeks to serve as the center of a revived Jewish civilization. This state doesn’t yell at Jews, as Bob Geldof famously yelled at the whole world during the first Band Aid telethon: “Just give us your f***ing money!”

    The Jewish state doesn’t simply get from, but gives to, Jews around the world. If the Irish don’t get that, even they don’t really get Israel.

    Brown is touching on a painful truth here: for most of its history, Ireland turned its back on our emigrants.  It was always happy to take the money – whether it was from remittances, Irish-American-influenced foreign investment, or tourist dollars – but traditionally Irish people in Ireland didn’t seem to be that interested in discovering what the Irish abroad might like to get back from “the old country”.

    When it achieved prosperity, the government did make an attempt to assist emigrants in dire straits around the world, particularly in Britain; the 2002 Task Force on Policy Regarding Emigrants was a serious new departure as Ireland took responsibility for the welfare of its citizens abroad. But Ireland has never seriously posited itself as a homeland for the diaspora, and the relationship between Ireland and those who live abroad is fraught with tension.

    Many in Ireland seem uninterested in the experience of the Irish abroad, and it’s not unusual for returning emigrants or visiting Irish-Americans to pick up on less-than-warm undertones to the welcome. Recent newspaper articles by Terry Prone and Kevin Meyers highlight the way the Irish elite often responds to Irish communities abroad with gaping incomprehension.

    In recent decades Ireland has even tightened the ability of the global Irish to live and work in Ireland: it was only in the 1980s that the right to claim Irish citizenship was taken from most of those whose ancestry stretched back to great-grandparents – I don’t know why this was done, but it’s ironic that it was around the same time that Irish politicians were coming to the US looking for American visas for the Irish undocumented – a mission that was greatly assisted by the Irish-American community.

    There has been a lot of great thinking about redefining the relationship between Ireland and the global Irish lately, but Brown’s point about the importance of giving to the diaspora is a good reminder of how much more effective our efforts could be if we think more about what Ireland can offer to the diaspora.

    Read Brown’s full article at JerusalemPost.com:  Calling All Countrymen.

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