Diaspora Ministerial Conference

18 and 19 June 2013
Venue : International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)
17 rue de Varembé, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland


Over the past decades, the engagement of diasporas in issues conventionally seen as relating to development, such as poverty reduction, economic growth, trade or post-crisis recovery has generated an increasing interest among a variety of stakeholders. Governments have sought to increase collaboration with diaspora communities in realizing their own aspirations and in maximising their potential for development. In doing so, some have created Ministries or State-Secretariats, transnational, diaspora-centred institutions, intergovernmental and parliamentary committees, legislative and regulatory frameworks, and have implemented tailored programmes to promote diasporas as development agents.

2013 is a significant year for the global debate on migration and development, including migration management and governance issues: preparations for the second United Nations High-level Dialogue (HLD) on International Migration and Development are under way and the post-2015 United Nations development agenda is being deliberated as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is approaching. The question of how to include migration and development among the priorities of the agenda requires urgent attention. These and other events in 2013 will also feed into the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD +20) beyond 2014. IOM contributes to this debate by building on decades of operational, research and policy experience.

Consistent with IOM's mandate and Strategy Document (activity 7), the IDM provides a forum for IOM Member and Observer States, as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other partners, to share experiences and perspectives on migration matters with a view to identifying practical solutions and fostering greater cooperation.

In this context and in response to the fast-growing interest of governments in diaspora issues, IOM convened from 18 to 19 June 2013, the Diaspora Ministerial Conference (DMC). The Conference is IOM’s first high-level event focused on diaspora and it brought together more than 500 participants, 143 country delegations, and 55 Ministers and high level government officials. The event invited participants to share their experiences in order to identify better ways to engage, enable and empower diaspora communities, and promote them as development actors.

For supplementary information on the Diaspora Ministerial Conference please refer to “Conference Documents” in right-hand column on this page or visit: http://diaspora.iom.int/

Click here for the Summary


18 June 2013- Day 1




Opening of the Diaspora Ministerial Conference

Md. Abdul Hannan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Office and specialized institutions in Geneva, Chair of the IOM Council (Statement)

William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM (Statement | Presentation)

Eduard Gnesa, Special Ambassador for International Cooperation in Migration, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Switzerland) (Bio | Statement)

Konstantin Romodanovsky, Head, Federal Migration Service (Russian Federation) (Statement)


Session I: Diasporas and Societies


This session will explore the intimate relationship that exists between diasporas, host societies and countries of origin, as well as the important role played by transnational communities in linking these societies. Understanding how these interlinkages function is essential for smart diaspora policies. Diaspora’s contributions to both host society and country of origin are increasingly recognized by stakeholders, together with the need to provide an environment in which this potential can be engaged in a sustainable way. Diaspora communities, in their great diversity, are transnational societies comprising individuals of different backgrounds, with different stories, who both constitute and build bridges between countries of origin and destination.  This potential is represented by a wide range of resources that can be mobilized for the greater benefit of all; the human, social, economic, cultural as well as political capital represented by diasporas are therefore increasingly acknowledged and policy tools are being developed to maximize diasporas’ engagement opportunities. This session will address the following topics: getting to know the diaspora; strategies to reach out and communicate with the diaspora; gathering and applying knowledge of diasporas; making transnationalism an accepted feature of contemporary societies, both in national and international discourse.


Moderator: Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, IOM


  • Khaled El-Azhary, Minister for Manpower and Emigration (Egypt)
  • Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, Secretary of Labour and Employment (Philippines) (Statement)
  • Neris Germanas, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs (Lithuania) (Bio | Statement)

Moderator: Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Director, Up!-Africa Limited (Bio)


  • Warren Pearson, Assistant Secretary, Multicultural and Settlement Policy, Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia) (Bio | Statement)
  • Marta Chalhub Romero, Director for Chilean Communities Living Abroad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Chile) (Statement)
  • Tatiana Smirnova, Chief Counsellor, Department for Relations with the Compatriots Abroad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russian Federation) (Statement)

Session II: Diasporas and States


This session aims at exploring the advantage of transnationalism for countries both of origin and of destination, as well as the policies and best practices towards enabling diaspora engagement. In order to promote diaspora engagement in countries of both origin and destination, the provision of an enabling policy and regulatory environment in which diaspora potential can translate into actual outcomes is certainly an asset. Diasporas’ contribution to host and origin countries is strictly related to the fact that they are “both here and there”.  The links with home countries are rooted in a sense of belonging and identity.  This sense of belonging also develops in the country of destination, through successful integration, as well as through the children born to migrants in the host country. On a policy point, reflections on the role of multiple citizenships in ensuring enduring links with home countries down through the generations are important.  Similarly, recognizing that the well-being of migrants is a key element towards empowering them to fully participate in development is an asset in diaspora engagement. This session will address the following topics: link between diaspora and country of origin; encouragement and facilitation of diaspora engagement; cooperation between countries of origin and destination; importance of diasporas in the countries of destination.


Moderator: Rainer Münz, Head of Research and Knowledge Center, Erste Group Bank AG (Bio)


  • Rajiv Mehrishi, Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (India) (Bio)
  • Cécile Kyenge, Minister for Integration (Italy) (Bio | Statement)
  • Cristian David, Minister Delegate for Romanians Abroad (Romania) (Bio | Statement)
  • Anatoly Fomenko, Deputy Head, Federal Migration Service (Russian Federation) (Statement)
  • Alvaro Calderón Ponce de León, Director, Migration Issues, Consular and Citizen Services, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Colombia) (Bio | Statement)

Afternoon Break

13:30-14:30 Side Event: Local content policies: a channel for diaspora reintegration in countries of origin?

Moderator: Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Director, Up!-Africa Limited


  • Shakeel Ahmed Yousuf Abdul Razack Mohamed, Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Government of Mauritius
  • Göran Hultin, CEO Caden Corporation and Vice-Chair, Global Agenda Council on Migration, World Economic Forum (Presentation)
  • Isabel de Sola, Senior Knowledge Manager, Global Agenda Councils, World Economic Forum (Presentation)
15:00-16:00 Session II: Diasporas and States (continued)

Moderator:        Peter Schatzer, Senior Advisor to the Director General, IOM


  • Belkacem Sahli, Secretary of State in charge of National Community Abroad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Algeria) (Statement)
  • Hranush Hakobyan, Minister for Diaspora (Armenia) (Bio | Statement | Presentation)
  • Hélène Conway-Mouret, Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad (France) (Bio | Statement)
  • Konstantine Surguladze, State Minister, the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues (Georgia) (Bio | Statement)
  • Rita Claverie de Sciolli, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs (Guatemala) (Statement)
  • Zsuzsanna Répás, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration and Justice (Hungary) (Bio | Statement)

Session III: Diasporas and Development


This session aims to explore the potentialities of diaspora engagement into development, as well as the policy and programmatic options that can be designed in order to maximize this potential. The development potential of diasporas is now largely acknowledged by a wide range of stakeholders.  This potential derives from the financial and non-financial resources that diasporas have accumulated abroad and can mobilize, and from the willingness of diaspora members to invest these resources. Diaspora resources are not limited to financial assets, but also encompass skills and knowledge that can be shared to mutual developmental benefit. It is therefore important to empower diaspora members who desire to contribute in the development of their countries of origin and share their resources in a productive way. This session will address the following topics: encouraging investment of diaspora capital and optimizing the use of remittances, diaspora investment, trade and other financial resources for sustainable development endeavours back home; skills/knowledge transfer schemes and their potential to foster sustainable development; engaging diaspora in development cooperation programmes; the role of governments and private and civil society sectors in providing incentives for such engagement.


Moderator: Jonathan Crush, Chair in Global Migration and Development, Centre for International Governance Innovation (Bio)


  • Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (Bangladesh) (Bio)
  • Shakeel Ahmed Yousuf Abdul Razack Mohamed, Minister for Labor, Industrial Relations and Employment (Mauritius)
  • Abdellatif Mâzouz, Minister Delegate to the head of government in charge of Moroccans living abroad (Morocco) (Bio | Statement)      
  • Juan José García Vásquez, Vice-Minister for Foreign Relations, responsible for Salvadoreans Living Abroad (El Salvador) (Bio | Statement)
  • Eva Åkerman-Börje, Chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (Sweden) (Statement | Presentation)

Moderator: Kathleen Newland, Director of Migrants, Migration, and Development and Refugee Protection Programs Member of the Board of Trustees, Migration Policy Institute (Bio)


  • Mohamed Bakri Ben Abdoulfatah Charif, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, responsable for the Diaspora, Francophonie and the Arab World (Comoros) (Statement)
  • Nicolas Schmit, Minister for Labour, Employment and Immigration (Luxembourg) (Bio)
  • Pendukeni livula-Ithana, Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration (Namibia) (Statement)
  • Mugahed Mugahed Abdullah Al-Quhali, Minister of Immigrants’ Affairs (Yemen) (Bio | Statement EN , AR)
  • Radmila Mitrovic, Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Refugees (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (Statement)

End of Day 1


19 June 2013- Day 2


Session III: Diasporas and Development (continued)


Moderator: Michel Mordasini, Ambassador, Assistant Director General, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Office for Migration (Switzerland) (Bio)


  • Uladi Mussa, Minister of Home Affairs (Malawi)
  • Houcine Jaziri, Secretary of State for Migration and for Tunisians Abroad (Tunisia)
  • Seynabou Gaye Touré, Minister Delegate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad (Senegal)
  • Arnulfo Valdivia Machuca, Director, Institute for Mexicans Abroad (Mexico) (Statement | Presentation)

Moderator: Irena Omelaniuk, Senior Policy Advisor to IOM (Bio)


  • Maria Fernanda Tavares Fernandes, Minister for Communities (Cape Verde) (Statement)          
  • Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay, Minister of Political and Public Affairs (Sierra Leone) (Statement)
  • Bernard Membe, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (Tanzania) (Statement )
  • Rougui Barry Kaba, Minister Delegate for Guineans Abroad (Guinea) (Bio | Statement )
  • Imelda Nicolas, Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (Philippines) (Bio | Statement | Presentation)

Afternoon Break


Session III: Diasporas and Development (continued)


Moderator:        Jean-Christophe Dumont, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development


  • Célestin Vunabandi, Minister of Planning (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (Bio | Statement)
  • Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Guyana) (Bio)
  • Lancester Museka, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Services (Zimbabwe) (Statement)
  • Freddy Mauricio Montero Mora, Deputy Minister of the Interior and Police (Costa Rica) (Presentation)
  • Boubacar Ousman Sanda, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Niger) (Bio)

Session IV: Diasporas and Crisis


This session aims to explore the potential of diaspora engagement during and after crisis situations, as well as the conditions facilitating this engagement. Crises create situations in which affected countries need to design strategies for crisis preparedness and recovery.  In this framework, the engagement of diaspora can be a very valuable asset, providing knowledge, skills, experience as well as human and financial resources and links to out-of-country support and assistance. Indeed, due to their links with their countries of origin, as well as their knowledge related to it, diaspora members may decide to engage in rebuilding livelihoods in times of recovery.  However, in order to be productive, predetermined schemes may be a great advantage. This session will address the following topics: possible frameworks for ensuring diaspora participation in cases of emergency; structures to engage diasporas in humanitarian aid in their country of origin in times of emergency; out-of-country voting in post-crisis recovery; diaspora investment in longer term crisis-preparedness and recovery initiatives.


Moderator: Robert Glasser, Secretary General, CARE International


  • Seydou Keita, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration (Mali)
  • Jesus I. Yabes, Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines) (Bio | Statement)
  • Ali Shalan Mohan, Director General of the Planning Department, Ministry of Migration (Iraq)

Concluding Session



  • Md. Abdul Hannan, IOM Council Chair (Statement)
  • Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, IOM (Statement)
  • Peter Schatzer, Senior Advisor to the Director General of IOM will present a summary of conclusions of the conference (Summary)