Scottish Connections (diaspora) work: qualitative research

Reports on findings from qualitative research looking at what successful a diaspora engagement strategy should consider and include. Provides a synthesis of existing evidence and an analysis of data from interviews and focus groups with key diaspora stakeholders.

Executive Summary

This is a report commissioned by the Scottish Government providing insight into what a successful diaspora policy should consider and include. It is designed to assist in the development of a strategy around the Scottish Connections diaspora activity. There are three aims that underpinned this report; the use of qualitative interviews to support previous desk based research, a strong consideration from within the diaspora itself, and a firm analysis conducted by experts in the area of the Scottish Diaspora. Therefore, the analysis is based around a significant level of input from key diaspora stakeholders, including officials of the Scottish Government, and of comparator governments, diaspora organisations and individuals.

The report provides a synthesis of existing evidence around diasporas in general, and the Scottish diaspora in particular. Existing material thus underpinned the direction and focus of the critical and analytical work undertaken. The themes that emerged informed later engagement with key stakeholders across the globe. Detailed interviews and focus groups provided the evidence herein, and thus gives voice to the groups and individuals that form the Scottish diaspora.

Additionally, the diaspora engagement policies and activities of four comparator states/sub-states were examined in detail, and support by engagement with officials from those cases. This provided a broad informed analyses of good practice and recent activity that can also inform the Scottish Government's approach. Fourteen specific issues were identified from these cases, and this also underpinned further analysis and discussion with the diaspora.

There were six key findings from within the analysis. They begin with a recommendation that the Scottish Diaspora is recognised in its widest possible, and most inclusive, form. The second was that this recognition requires an embracing of all aspects of Scottishness ranging from the historical and ancestral forms of engagement to the contemporary. The third key finding stressed the importance of additional resource allocation to underpin any meaningful diaspora strategy and appreciate that the diaspora needs to know what Scotland seeks from it.

Key finding number four was around issues of coordination with/within the Diaspora and the need for clear ongoing links to the homeland, in which the diaspora and Scotland were partners. This links firmly to the fifth key finding, which is a lack of clarity regarding diaspora responsibilities within the Scottish Government infrastructure. A clear lead and organisation for the diaspora to connect with is strongly recommended. The final recommendation considers the role and engagement of UK officials and state organisations within diaspora policy.

Finally, this report highlights twenty nine specific recommendations, which are grouped together under the headings of Picturing and Understanding the Diaspora, Engaging the Diaspora, Supporting and Recognising the Diaspora and Diaspora Initiatives. These recommendations are also identified as short term, medium term or longer term objectives, with those that require additional resources also recognised. The specific recommendations can be found on pages 51-53.



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