Scottish connections (diaspora) work: literature review

Reports on findings from a literature review looking at international examples of engagement activities, initiatives and strategies in relation to various diasporic communities.

3. Comparator Countries



55. There are no official statistics on the scale of the Australian diaspora but it is estimated be in the region of 1 million people living and working overseas, with 2.5 million non-Australian-born alumni of Australian universities living overseas.[28]

56. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,[29] net overseas migration from Australia has been steadily increasing since 1971 though numbers have recently been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of people who leave are migrants on temporary visas. Migrant departures on temporary visas increased by 16% between 2019 and 2020, and the largest single group leaving are students. The largest percentage of Australian emigrants (48%) are based in Europe, and the next largest percentage (24%) are in Asia. The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement enables Australians and New Zealanders to migrate between Australia and New Zealand. Education levels of Australian expatriates are high: 44% of Australian expatriates in other OECD countries had a high level of education.[30]

57. The diaspora has attracted some recent policy interest (2017 Foreign Policy White Paper). However, the topic attracted more serious interest in the early 2000s, at a time when overseas departures were at a level more than twice the level of today.[31] The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) 2003 research report, Australia's Diaspora: Its Size, Nature and Policy Implications, concluded that Australia was in a global competition to attract skilled people, so recommended that Australia should do more to attract skilled expatriates back to Australia, and to make the most of the stock of skilled Australians overseas.

58. In 2005 the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee produced a report: They still call Australia home: Inquiry into Australian expatriates. The Committee found that Australian expatriates presented many potential benefits and opportunities for Australian policymakers, and suggested that the Australian Government needed to make greater efforts to connect with, and engage, the expatriate community. The report saw the diaspora as an underutilised resource which could be used to promote Australia and its social, economic, and cultural interests and act as ambassadors for the nation – which they saw as disadvantaged by geographic remoteness and small population. The Committee made 16 recommendations, including:

  • A web portal for the diaspora to provide information and services for expatriate Australians and facilitate engagement and information exchange in the expatriate community.
  • The establishment of a policy unit within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to facilitate the coordination of policies relating to Australian expatriates.
  • Improve the statistical information collected in relation to Australian expatriates.

59. Today, the DFAT website only returns information on diaspora policies or strategies as part of Australia’s soft power. Currently, even the overall soft power strategy is in suspension due to the pandemic. Making the most of PD (Public Diplomacy) events, visits and people-to-people links (2011), does have a short section on the diaspora, but there is no information on strategy. It cites the work of Advance, which is a professional network with a membership of more than 20,000 in 80 countries. It is also a web portal for global Australians (in business) with a clear mission:

  • Support international career paths and provide a bridge for skills and knowledge acquired overseas to be leveraged for Australia’s benefit.
  • Recognise and celebrate the achievements of global Australians who are at the forefront of their respective fields, to inspire future generations and encourage a global outlook.

60. Despite its narrow business focus, Advance is today doing research into the Australian diaspora. It also carries out an annual survey of “Global Australians”.

Diaspora target segments

61. There are two priorities for Australia:

  • Alumni: DFAT is responsible for the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy (2016-20).
  • Business: The “Advance community” includes members and social media followers, who are at any point along their international journey from when they go overseas, live, and work overseas, and return to Australia.

Policy goals

62. The Soft Power section of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper clearly sets out the rationale and direction of Australia’s diaspora engagement.

“Alumni and expatriates

More than 2.5 million international students have studied in Australia in the past 50 years. This is a significant asset for Australia. These former international students, together with Australians who have studied overseas, make up Australia’s global alumni community.

Our strategy to build a global alumni community promotes Australia and advances our national interests. The Government is working in partnership with Australian universities to keep alumni connected to Australia and to each other through online communities and learning opportunities.

We also have an estimated one million Australians living overseas. We will continue to leverage the knowledge, networks, and expertise of our expatriates through chambers of commerce and organisations such as Advance.”

63. Expatriates also contribute to development:

“The Government will maintain its 60-year commitment to funding Australian volunteers to share their expertise in our region. This year we will support more than 1,000 Australian volunteers to work with local organisations and governments in partner countries to promote social and economic development.”

64. Although earlier policy thinking included social and cultural goals, the focus has been narrowed. While there are signs that following years of relative neglect diaspora policy may be attracting more interest, this is within a wider context, however, in which Australia’s review of its soft power was closed down, according to DFAT due to the onset of the pandemic, the response to which will require:

“...a focused, deliberate effort integrating all tools of statecraft, including Australia’s considerable soft power.”

65. DFAT does feature, however, the Australia Global Alumni Engagement Strategy (2016-20). The engagement strategy, which has its own website, has a clear benefits statement, a strategy and objectives to:

  • Strengthen Australia's diplomatic access and influence.
  • Grow trade, investment, and business linkages.
  • Promote Australia's capabilities and credentials in education, science, research, and innovation.
  • Showcase Australia as a contemporary, innovative, open society.

66. The strategy includes a publication of its outcomes which reports that:

  • Alumni create people-to-people links and reinforce professional linkages between institutions, organisations, businesses, and governments.
  • Alumni hold influential positions in Australia and around the world and are a valuable soft power asset.
  • Alumni improve perceptions of Australia by sharing positive views of Australia, its people and society.
  • Alumni make positive contributions towards development initiatives.
  • Alumni engage in business-related alumni activities, join local chambers of commerce, and participate in youth exchange programs and international youth forums, often creating new opportunities for Australian businesses.
  • Alumni promote Australia's education, science, research, and innovation.

Brand architecture

67. Australian industry and stakeholders asked for a more coordinated approach to how Australia is presented globally, and as a response to these submissions, the Government committed to developing a stronger nation brand on the release of the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper. Austrade is developing Australia’s Nation Brand on behalf of all Australians and all government departments with a Nation Brand Advisory Council and a Brand Expert Working Group. The brand architecture is still under development.

Institutions and resources

68. Advance is the main organisation that engages with global Australians. It has two main areas of activity:

  • Support for Australians who pursue international careers, and the leverage of skills and knowledge obtained internationally for Australia’s benefit, and
  • Recognising and celebrating the achievements of Global Australians to inspire young people and encourage a global outlook.

69. Advance supports people:

  • Before they go overseas through events, job listings and mentoring opportunities for people to learn from others with international experience.
  • When they are overseas through a range of networking resources, a network of “Advance Ambassadors”, a monthly newsletter on events in Australia, and by sharing the stories of other global Australians through a programme of roundtables, interviews, podcasts, and digital postcards,[32] to share how others are navigating the challenges of living overseas and enable people to connect with Australians in their region.
  • Returning to Australia through help with job search and networking.

70. The Advance Awards, now in their 10th year, are central to everything they do. They identify high-achieving Australians overseas and introduce them to Australian audiences.

71. Advance’s focus is on skills, and it aims to enable skills and knowledge acquired overseas to be leveraged for the nation's benefit.

72. The Commonwealth Government is Advance’s major government partner. Advance is partially funded by the Australian Federal Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and the Department of Industry (DISER), in recognition of the soft power and global industry insights delivered by the diaspora.[33] There is, however, no identifiable funding line in the DFAT budget.

73. The Australian government invites local and state governments to partner through a package tailored to their specific programmes. Advance is also supported by founding patrons, philanthropic donors, and corporate sponsors.[34] It has six main private sector partners. University of Sydney Business School, University of Queensland and is a lean organisation with four management staff and three interns.

The name “Advance” is taken from the national anthem Advance Australia Fair (written by Scottish-born composer, Peter Dodds McCormick). It replaced "God Save the Queen" as the official national anthem in 1984, following a plebiscite to choose the national song in 1977. The song has been criticised (in Australia) for being boring,[35] racist,[36] and for promoting a colonial vision, ignoring indigenous people.[37] It remains controversial and it is worth noting that “Advance Australia” is also the name of a Conservative lobby group.


74. There was no evidence of any evaluation of Australia’s current diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn. As noted, the Australian Senate has taken an interest but that was many years ago. The recent Soft Power review launched in 2018 would have been an opportunity to consider diaspora engagement, but it was discontinued in 2020 following the onset of COVID-19.

75. Jonathan Cheng found,[38] in a 2016 report for the government-commissioned Securing Australia’s Future project focusing on Australia’s engagement with Asia, that it was still a lively debate whether governments can cost-effectively leverage diasporas to their advantage, and whether (and how) diaspora engagement policies and programmes can be evaluated. He noted that there was a lack of ongoing monitoring and evaluation of diaspora related programmes and initiatives. As a result, it was difficult to measure the impact of diaspora engagement policies and to evaluate which policies were the most useful.

76. Despite the absence of good data and evidence, he nevertheless argued that: “Diasporas play a key role in trade, investment, and skills and knowledge transfer” and that policy intervention on diaspora engagement was more likely to succeed if it focused on removing obstacles and creating opportunities rather than trying to manage diaspora resources directly.

Belgium (Flanders)


77. France and the USA were the main destinations of Flemish emigrants in the recent past: approximately one million Americans claim Flemish roots and the same number in France.[39] To the authors’ knowledge, nothing is done at the federal level to support the Belgian diaspora beyond consular services. Flanders and Wallonia have two associations which do provide support: Flemish in the World (VIW) and Union Francophone des Belges à l'Etranger (UFBE).

78. According to the “in foro interno, in foro externo” principle,[40] Flanders can develop a foreign policy in all areas where it has internal powers, such as education, the environment, infrastructure, culture and social affairs. Flanders enjoys full treaty making powers in these areas.

Policy goals

79. Flanders implements an autonomous foreign policy that:

  • Works to profile Flanders abroad in an individual and targeted manner.
  • Focuses on international enterprise and targeted economic and public diplomacy.
  • Has an effective and more direct voice in the EU.
  • Adopts an active and focused policy regarding its neighbouring countries and a multilateral approach, and
  • Strives for development cooperation.[41]

Brand architecture

80. In its Vision 2050, the Government of Flanders outlines the region it aspires to be in 2050: “...a social, open, resilient, and international Flanders which creates prosperity and well-being in a smart, innovative, and sustainable way, and where everyone counts.” [42] As an open society and economy, the future of Flanders is tied to development in the rest of the world, so the Government of Flanders wishes to see Flanders more connected with other countries than ever before.

Institutions and resources

81. Flemish in the World (VIW)[43] provides advice and support for Flemish people who want to live abroad or who are already living abroad. It is funded mainly by a membership fee (€60 per person per year). It is also supported by annual grants from the Flemish Government and private sector. It has representatives in major cities abroad who organise clubs and networking events and provide advice to people who want to work abroad and to members of the diaspora who wish to return to Flanders. VIW had a grant from the Flanders Government of €264,000 in 2019-20.

82. Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) offers tailored advice, guidance, and financial support to Flemish export companies.[44] Companies can call on “our networks of contacts both at home and abroad”. The sector focus is on Digital Tech, Health Tech, and Climate Tech. There is a FIT officer in every Belgian embassy (90 offices in total) and five offices in Flanders. FIT is an external independent agency funded by the Flemish Government. FIT’s operating budget is €45 million. FIT has 325 personnel (150 in Flanders, 175 abroad).


83. There was no evidence of any evaluation of Flanders’ current diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn. This is consistent with the general situation in Europe. As Taylor et al note in a 2014 report for DG HOME, while evaluations are essential for informing future development of diaspora engagement initiatives, in general there appears to be a relative paucity of available evaluations of diaspora engagement initiatives.[45] The few evaluations that exist focus mainly on initiatives with development purposes.

Canada (Federal Government)


84. According to Statistics Canada, although immigrants outnumber emigrants on an annual basis, the Canadian diaspora was estimated in 2018 to reach 2.8 million,[46] which represents just over 7% of the Canadian population – a relatively high proportion for an OECD country. Some demographic groups, such as recent immigrants, young adults, and more highly educated individuals, are especially likely to emigrate. Emigration selectivity is one of the reasons this phenomenon is an important demographic and socioeconomic issue for Canada.

85. While the Canadian diaspora is substantial, it is not a foreign policy priority for Global Affairs Canada (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Prior to January 2021, the Prime Minister charged the Hon. Jim Carr, then Minister of International Trade Diversification, in his mandate letter to: “Support the...export mobilization of our small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This should include an examination of current programming and ensuring that Canada is maximizing the comparative advantage it holds with its vibrant diversity and diaspora communities” (author’s emphasis). In January this year, however, that department was replaced by the Ministry of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, led by Mary Ng, who had no mention of diaspora in her mandate letter. Canada had a general election in Canada on 20 September 2021, but at the time of writing it is too early to say whether that will impact on Canada’s approach to its diaspora.

86. Today, diaspora engagement appears to be led from outside government, through the Global Canada Initiative, which is based on two core beliefs:

  • It is in Canada’s strategic interest to increase its global impact (Canada has a “Global Engagement Gap” – according to reports from 2015 and 2017 Canada lags far behind other G7 countries in its level of global engagement).[47]
  • Canada’s impact will be enhanced if key Canadian institutions and individuals work together in a coordinated and complementary manner.

87. The reasons for Canada having a perceived “engagement gap” are set out in a report from Open Canada:

  • Canada’s global engagement as a share of GDP fell from 2.4% of GDP in 1990 to 1.2% in 2014. Cuts to global engagement since 1990 were three times as deep as those to overall federal government programme spending.
  • Canada’s global engagement today is the lowest in the G7 (alongside Japan), the lowest among medium-sized open economies and, according to OECD and NATO statistics, the lowest in modern Canadian history.

88. The Global Canada Initiative aims to address this gap and support Canadian global leadership by providing positive answers to three key questions which are relevant to this report:[48]

  • Can we create an exciting community of “Global Canadians”—Canadians in leadership positions at home and abroad who are passionate about Canada’s global role?
  • Can we craft an up-to-date narrative on Canada’s global engagement? What are the reasons for global engagement today? These may include Canada’s “close demographic links around the world”. Global Canada is undertaking a “strategic diagnostic of Canada’s global engagement” which will look at the role that all stakeholders can play, particularly in collaboration with each other.
  • If all stakeholders work together, are there issues on which Canada can truly have a world-scale impact? The issue which is seen as relevant today is maternal, newborn and child health. Other ideas have been suggested and Global Canada plans to identify a limited number of issues in which there is strong Canadian multistakeholder interest and the potential to have a global impact.

Diaspora target segments

89. There is no current strategy which clearly prioritises any one diaspora group. However, what focus there is, is on business.

Policy goals

90. As noted above, this is currently unclear, and remains so after the general election.

Brand architecture

91. Canada does not have a national brand as such. However, Canada took the top spot overall in the 2021 Best Countries Report, ranking first in quality of life, social purpose, having a good job market, and caring about human rights. Canada was also seen as committed to social justice, not corrupt, and respecting property rights.

Institutions and resources

92. The Global Canada Initiative is not government-led. It is a not-for-profit, multistakeholder organisation that does not seek funding from government and prides itself on being non-partisan. It aims to “...catalyse an increased global leadership by all stakeholders, enhancing Canada’s global impact and reputation.” It wants to do this by complementing, not competing with, existing institutions. A key measure of success will be its ability to “enhance the global performance and reputation of existing Canadian institutions”. It aspires to act as a public-policy “smart-grid” linking together the intellectual and implementation power that already exists in the country.


93. There was no evidence of any formal evaluation of Canada’s current outward diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn either from the Canadian Government itself or from external commentators.

Canada (Québec)


94. Despite the full data on migration published by Statistics Canada, there are no readily available statistics on the diaspora of Québec, but their annual provincial migration data indicate that people from Québec are less likely to emigrate than people from Ontario or British Columbia (two out of three Canadian emigrants came from these two provinces).[49] What can be said is that most members of the diaspora are in the USA (across the nearby border) but that is often temporary, and the numbers of temporary emigrants are balanced by the number of returning emigrants. Emigration is seen to be an important issue, because of the obligations that the Canadian government has towards its nationals who are living abroad and in respect to retaining immigrants that have recently been admitted to the country.

Diaspora target segments

95. The clearest indication of priority areas for action relating to the diaspora are those which are taken forward at the sub-regional level (Québec City Region) and relate to business.

Policy goals

96. Québec's International Policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of International Relations et la Francophonie, (MRIF). The policy contains no diaspora strategy, nor does the Strategic Plan of the Québec Ministry of the Economy and Innovation (MEI).[50]

97. MRIF’s policy does recognise, however, that international action is no longer limited to the activities of government members, departments, and agencies, or to its network of offices abroad. More and more actors from the political, economic, voluntary, cultural, academic, and scientific sectors now operate in multiple global networks where they play an influential role. The policy is currently under development.

98. The policy review emphasises sharing strategic information, discussing concerns, successes, and challenges, and developing common and complementary objectives in a manner which strengthens the cohesion and effectiveness of Québec’s international initiatives. Consequently, the MRIF intends to implement a consultation mechanism targeting cities, regions and civil society actors that are active on the world stage.

99. The policy also has a limited number of inclusive policy aims, with objectives relating to international mobility, value chains, digital technology, Arctic and northern issues, and climate diplomacy.

100. MRIF is also stepping up its efforts in the areas of economic and trade partnerships, international solidarity, security, culture, science, the Francophonie, and human rights and freedoms, especially gender equality, and respect for the human rights of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.


Objective 4.1 of the International Policy is ”Fostering Cohesion Among Québec Stakeholders Active on the World Stage”.[51] MRIF is accordingly implementing a new approach to the governance of its international action. This process is overseen by the Minister and involves all government departments and agencies active on the world stage.

The review aims that the government and its network of offices abroad should be agile and capable of adapting to global trends, while at the same time reviewed on a regular basis. The idea is that a thematic approach could give new impetus to Québec’s international representation. In this context, the government plans to entrust delegates or envoys with missions of specific strategic interest consistent with government and International Policy priorities.

Additional efforts will be devoted to training to upgrade employee skills in areas such as changing diplomatic practices, and to the development of tools to bolster Québec initiatives in public and digital diplomacy. Special attention will also be paid to animating networks that link Québecers in all sectors of activity.

The government will use the information shared during consultations to promote civil society initiatives and the actions of local and regional authorities consistent with the priorities of Québec’s International Policy, notably through its network of offices abroad.

Brand architecture

101. Québec’s International Policy does not address branding as such, but the importance of communications is recognised under the heading of Public Diplomacy. The policy recognises that reputation and image and how they are used have been radically transformed by new communications tools such as social media, and the government aspires to ensure that its global promotional and communications efforts are coherent and effective. Their view is that success depends in part on how well messages tie-in with the government’s international priorities, and on thoughtful deployment. They are therefore planning to strengthen the coordination of communication efforts abroad.

Institutions and resources

102. MRIF plans, organises, and directs the government’s international actions and implements the International Policy. At the sub-provincial level, Québec International’s mission is to support the Québec City region’s economic development and national and international standing. Its priorities[52] are set out under 3 headings:

  • Attract and retain: International talent; Foreign investments and international entrepreneurs.
  • Guide: Innovative high-tech entrepreneurship; Commercialization and export; Innovation and digital transformation; Key cluster development and animation.
  • Improve visibility: Promoting the region’s business environment; Support excellence.


103. There was no evidence of any evaluation of Québec’s current diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn. The International Policy does say that there are future plans to hold regular reviews of the work of Québec’s international offices.



104. Current UN estimates of the Chinese-born diaspora are that it consists of roughly 10 million people, though other estimates have run to some 45 million under a broader definition that includes second generation and longer-settled Chinese populations.[53]

105. The Chinese people have a long history of migrating overseas dating back at least to the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644), a period known for its expansion of overseas trade. Overall, the population of overseas Chinese has more than doubled between 1990 and 2017, a numerical increase of more than 5.5 million. Yet the growth of this population has varied across countries and regions. The most rapid growth has occurred in Oceania, where Chinese migrants have more than quintupled over this time interval, as well as North America and Africa. More than 80 percent of recent emigrants from China are highly educated, wealthy, or both and the diasporic group that has grown fastest includes the soon-to-be-highly-educated students.[54]

106. It would be beyond the scope of this report to attempt to summarise such an ancient and vast diaspora. We focus therefore on one instrument of Chinese engagement, the Confucius Institutes. Confucius Institutes are non-profit public institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China whose stated aims are to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. They operate through partnerships with universities and have been active in Scotland for many years.[55] They do not have diaspora engagement as an explicit aim, but they are nonetheless active in activities such as re-connecting Chinese diaspora populations to Chinese language and culture, thereby encouraging them to retain a sense of their Chinese identity.

Diaspora target segments

107. The Confucius Institutes target people with social, commercial, or academic influence, or who represent interest groups.

Policy goals

108. China has had a diaspora policy since the end of the 19th century, when the Qing government of China realized that the overseas Chinese could be an asset, a source of foreign investment and a bridge to overseas knowledge.

109. China's diaspora policy today is highly politically and culturally contested. Under Xi Jinping, China has moved towards a more assertive foreign policy. In his speech marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, he remarked: “The patriotic united front is an important means for the Party to unite all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, both at home and abroad, behind the goal of national rejuvenation.” [56] The overseas Chinese affairs work, led by the United Front Work Department (UFWD), has intensified its efforts to mobilise the Chinese diaspora, regardless of citizenship, for the cause of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) whose aim, it is claimed, is to extend its rule to the diaspora. [57]

Brand architecture

110. At the National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, President Xi Jinping declared that China should no longer only be a place to produce components for Western products.[58] Instead, it should build its own world-renowned brands. Despite criticism of previous Chinese culture-led brand efforts, China today undoubtedly has succeeded in establishing a range of very valuable and resilient brands.[59] There is, however, little sign of connection between this focus on brands and China’s diaspora strategy today.

Institutions and resources

111. The United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (UFWD) leads on China's diaspora strategy. The UFWD is described by the Financial Times[60] and others as “China’s secret weapon” and is responsible for intelligence and influence operations, establishing and maintaining contacts with non-party and foreign entities, and China's ethnic minority nationalities.

112. The UFWD functions in China and abroad.[61] Among its 12 specific priority areas are those relating to:

  • Those who have gone abroad and returned from study abroad.
  • Overseas Chinese, returned overseas Chinese and their relatives.

113. The UFWD uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies.[62] It focuses its work on people or entities that are outside the party proper, especially in the overseas Chinese community.

114. The UFWD has significant resources. It presently has more than 600 senior bureaucrats and half a dozen Ministers, which makes it equivalent in strength to many Ministries put together. Six new bureaus have recently been added to the UFWD, including one for overseas Chinese affairs and one for building up and strengthening intelligence and communications networks in foreign countries. The US$6.6 billion allocated for an international communications offensive is at the disposal of the UFWD as are the Confucius Institutes. Budgets are not disclosed.

115. There are a range of other organisations which carry out united front activities relating to the Chinese diaspora.[63] Until 2018, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office (OCAO) was responsible for liaising with overseas Chinese residing abroad or returning to China. In 2018, OCAO and its functions were absorbed into the UFWD. The OCAO previously ran the China News Service and focused on technology transfer through agreements with professional associations in science and technology fields such as the Silicon Valley Chinese Overseas Business Association (SCOBA). OCAO also oversaw the Chinese Overseas Exchange Association (COEA), which sponsored annual "Discovery Trips to China for Eminent Young Overseas Chinese".

116. Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, as a public institution affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, is committed to providing Chinese language and cultural teaching resources and services worldwide, it aims to meet the demands of foreign Chinese learners and contribute to the development of “multiculturalism and the building of a harmonious world”.[64] It also has a significant role to play in promoting Chinese identity through education to the diaspora, providing a mechanism of language and cultural rediscovery and consolidation. Confucius Institutes have partner universities in China and operate always in partnership in target countries.

117. The All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese is a “people's organisation" for returned overseas Chinese and their relatives. It also functions as a point of contact and coordination between overseas Chinese, the Chinese government, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).


118. There is a great deal of academic literature and commentary on the Chinese diaspora and how the Chinese Government engages with it, by Chinese and other scholars.[65] However, there is no readily available evaluation material which could inform this research.



119. 250,000 Danes live abroad, 5% of the total population (2017 figures).[66] The diaspora has not been a priority for the Danish State: there are a relatively low number of Danes living abroad and those that do tend to return after no more than 10 years. Engagement with the diaspora is largely left to voluntary civil society organisations.

120. Recognising that the Danish diaspora was a largely untapped resource, however, in 2018 a task force was created to provide advice on how the Government should engage with it.[67] The Task Force was composed of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Danes Worldwide, an advocacy body for Danes living overseas; and Copenhagen Capacity, the Danish Capital’s organisation for investment promotion and economic development. The next development was the creation of a non-profit association in 2019, DANIAS, a consortium of the MFA, Copenhagen Capacity, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Confederation of Danish Industry, and the Danish Export Association. In October 2020, under the auspices of DANIAS, a group of 20 leaders from the public and private sectors then made a list of recommendations on how Denmark could strengthen its collaboration with Danes abroad, constituting a new strategy for diaspora engagement.

Diaspora target segments

121. The target groups identified by the Task Force were businesspeople abroad, specifically those who could facilitate inward and outward trade and investment, and those members of the diaspora with skills and knowledge in short supply in Denmark: IT experts, STEM professionals and Life Scientists. [68]

Policy goals

122. The recommendations recognised that there was a lack of coordination between those organisations currently working in diaspora engagement and even more importantly a lack of knowledge exchange. The vision statement of the new strategy stated that “strategic collaboration with Danish diaspora will lead to renewed value-creating alliances where knowledge can systematically and easily be shared between the diaspora and domestic stakeholders to enhance Danish growth, knowledge and employment”.[69] Also missing was a values-based (trust, equality, and innovation) core narrative of modern Denmark, one which could use to promote Denmark as an attractive career destination for the diaspora, as well as present a modern credible image to other countries.

123. Practical recommendations to address these gaps included the creation of a new association, Diaspora Denmark, to implement the new strategy and the creation of a digital community platform for “Danes from all over the world to meet up and help each other, plan events, share knowledge, network and make investment and business opportunities prosper”;[70] this platform would also enable Danish businesses directly and free of charge to access the knowledge and networks of specific people in the diaspora. Other recommendations included a project fund to enable local Danish players abroad, e.g., embassies, chambers of commerce, seamen’s churches etc., to promote Denmark’s collaboration with the diaspora and a request to the Danish Government and Parliament to reduce the barriers experienced by Danes abroad in their connection to Denmark (e.g., visas and administrative barriers).

Brand architecture

124. One of the recommendations of the Task Force was the development of a new core narrative of modern Denmark; this has yet to be developed but one of the ingredients will be the Danish Canon: in 2016, over 2,000 Danes were asked “which social values, traditions or movements that have shaped us in Denmark will you carry through to tomorrow’s society?”. The results were 10 values which taken together, according to the Danish Minister for Culture, “make it clearer what creates our national identity and cohesion”.[71]

Institutions and resources

125. Danes Abroad Business Group Online (DABGO) organises monthly meetings in 40 cities around the world for Danish business people. Organised by volunteers, it runs a job portal to help Danes looking for jobs abroad. Danes Worldwide acts as an advocacy body for Danes living overseas. Advocacy issues include dual citizenship; family reunification; and the right to vote. Founded in 1919, it provides advice about settling abroad and returning to Denmark, provides language courses and runs a network for Danes abroad. No formal government support apart from occasional grants is available, it is a membership funded organisation. Apart from Danes Worldwide, the other main civil society diaspora support organisation is the Danish Church Abroad (DSUK) which organises cultural and social events, as well as religious services, via a widespread network of Danish churches in the main seaports of the world.


126. There was no evidence of any policy evaluation of Denmark’s current diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn. There is no academic literature on Denmark’s approach, apart from a 2019 comparative study of Nordic and Baltic perspectives on diaspora diplomacy.[72]



127. While predominantly a country of immigration, France also has a population of citizens overseas of some 1.8 million individuals (3% of the domestic population).[73] By European standards, emigration from France is a relatively recent phenomenon, as comparatively few people left the country in the nineteenth century. Emigration has, however, increased over the past 20 years and has resulted in a uniquely ambitious approach to the diaspora, sustained efforts, and the application of considerable resources by French authorities to reach out to them.

128. As a result, France today has an exceptionally strong level of engagement with its expatriates, particularly in the areas of electoral rights, culture, and social protection. Based on the author’s analysis, there are four features of France which explain its unique approach:

  • A highly egalitarian conception of citizenship, which has become increasingly disconnected from residence in the country and is particularly true regarding political rights.
  • A highly redistributive welfare state, which has been gradually expanded to citizens abroad, and
  • A vast diplomatic network which is the direct institutional legacy of France’s past as a prominent European and colonial power. A variety of policies directed to the diaspora today can be traced back in one way or another to colonial arrangements.
  • France’s continued ambition to be a global actor.

129. To implement this approach, in recent years, France has engaged in a far-reaching diaspora-building project through a variety of institutions: ministries, the diplomatic network, consultative and representative bodies, and parliamentary representation. French political parties have also significantly increased their presence abroad in recent years.

130. In terms of ideas, France’s diaspora engagement is essentially driven by its desire to project its power and prestige abroad, in an effort to convey the image of a super-power, both internally, to the French population, and externally, to the rest of the world. However, the myth of France’s omnipotence has become increasingly hard to sustain. The discrepancy between an idea of France which, as de Gaulle famously said, “cannot be France without ‘grandeur’”,[74] and the reality of a medium-sized power, is also reflected in a diaspora policy characterised by ambitious policy aims, and relatively modest policy outcomes.[75]

Diaspora target segments

131. French expatriates living and working abroad are the target – there are no defined groups below the level of French citizens.

Policy goals

132. France has a very elaborate and diversified set of diaspora policies, though the political aspect stands out. By international standards, France has one of the most generous extra-territorial franchises for citizens residing abroad. French authorities also claim that no other country in Europe has such advanced and comprehensive systems of social protection for citizens abroad.[76]

133. France is also very active on the cultural front, though its extra-territorial cultural policies mainly target non-resident foreigners as part of its diplomatic policy (Diplomatie d’Influence, programme 185). These extra-territorial cultural policies however indirectly benefit French citizens abroad. Three main cultural institutions oversee these policies:

134. The first two of these organisations do not specifically target French citizens abroad, but their numerous services are used by French citizens and their centres abroad are often the epicentre of French diasporic communities. They allow French citizens abroad to maintain a close link with French culture and ensure its reproduction across generations. The AEFE does target expatriates (see below).

135. Unlike other large emigration states, France does not have economic policies targeting citizens abroad.

Brand architecture

136. France does not have a national brand. It nevertheless is consistently highly ranked in surveys of nation brands. Branding plays next to no part in France’s diaspora policies or engagement.

Institutions and resources

137. The Assembly of French Citizens Abroad is the political body that represents French citizens living outside France. The assembly advises the government on issues involving French nationals living outside France, as well as the role of France in overseas developments. Membership consists of directly elected representatives, senators representing French citizens abroad and officials appointed by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

138. The Consular Council is the institution responsible for defending the interests of French expatriates in their countries of residence. It is a consultative body dedicated to consular affairs. Since 2013, its members are elected every six years by citizens abroad officially registered in each of the 130 consular constituencies.

139. The Alliance Solidaire des Français de l'Etranger (ASFE) is an independent movement dedicated to French people living abroad.

140. In 2018, France introduced a Support Fund to the Network of French (cultural) Associations Abroad (Dispositif de soutien au tissu associatif des Français à l’étranger: STAFE). In its first year, it was endowed with €2 million, which were distributed to relatively small associations in a range of countries, benefiting diaspora populations.

141. The representation of emigrants’ interests in the French Parliament is guaranteed through reserved seats in the Lower and Upper Chambers of the national Parliament. For the election of the Lower Chamber (Assemblée Nationale), there are 11 geographically defined extra-territorial constituencies, based upon the demographic distribution of French citizens abroad (since 2011). In the Upper Chamber (Sénat), there are 12 reserved seats for representatives of citizens abroad, but these are non-geographically defined as those representatives are indirectly elected by consular councillors.

142. The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) determines and implements France’s foreign policy. One of its priorities is to “provide security and administrative services for French nationals abroad.”[77]

143. The MEAE funds:

  • the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) which carries out a public service role providing education for French children living outside France. It also helps promote the French language and culture internationally and build ties between French and foreign education systems. The main goal of the AEFE is to serve and promote a unique educational network made up of 523 schools in 137 countries educating 366,000 pupils. The AEFE’s network of 500 schools is a major asset when it comes to supporting French businesses abroad and developing France’s attractiveness. This educational support encourages the presence of French businesses and helps them build relationships with various local stakeholders, both private and institutional, often in very specific contexts. By developing and strengthening French educational diplomacy, the AEFE network therefore supports French economic diplomacy. The AEFE’s total budget for 2021 is over €1 billion with €417.1 million coming from Programme 185 - Cultural diplomacy and influence.
  • Campus France supports the attractiveness of the French higher education sector and promotes it among foreign students. The agency is also responsible for managing recipients of scholarships from the French and foreign governments, facilitating the creation of personalized scholarship programmes, and supporting foreign students and researchers. 256 Campus France offices, situated in 125 countries, also serve as local representatives of the wider Campus France agency.
  • Campus France governs the France Alumni platform, which is managed locally by embassies. This network of foreign alumni, which currently has nearly 333,000 members, in 126 countries, helps them maintain their ties with France, stay in touch, take part in events, and consult job offers. The budget for Campus France was €3.8 million in 2021.


144. Given the scale of French expenditure, while there was no evidence of any evaluation of France’s diaspora engagement as such, there is extensive scrutiny of the policy programme from which it is funded, by audit and by Parliament. The Assemblée Nationale, for example, has in 2021 established a working group which will look at communications with overseas French citizens in the light of COVID-19, and debated the report[78] of the Commission d’évaluation des politiques publiques (CEPP) which evaluated the activities of Campus France in relation to alumni.



145. Ireland takes a broad definition of its diaspora, perhaps the broadest of our comparator countries. It includes Irish citizens living overseas, both those born in Ireland and those born abroad to Irish parents; the heritage diaspora, often quoted as many as 80 million people claiming Irish ancestry[79] (although there is no clear evidence to support this figure); the reverse diaspora, those people who have studied or worked in Ireland before returning to their home countries; and the affinity diaspora, people who have a particular affection for or appreciation of Ireland’s people and culture.

146. Ireland, together with China and France, has the most developed diaspora strategy of the comparator countries; indeed, the most recent iteration, Global Ireland: Ireland’s Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025 has the ambition of promoting Ireland as a hub of expertise for diaspora engagement. [80] The diaspora strategy sits within a set of Strategy “Russian dolls”: it reflects the Global Citizenship vision of the international engagement strategy, Global Ireland,[81] which seeks to double the impact Ireland has in the world, and this strategy in turn reflects the ambition of Project Ireland 2040,[82] the government’s long-term overarching strategy, which assumes an increase of one million additional people living in Ireland and plans to deliver the infrastructure to support this growth. All three strategies are the result of extensive public consultations and in the case of the diaspora strategy this involved consultations with Irish communities abroad as well as domestic stakeholders.

Diaspora target segments

147. From 1700 to the present 10 million people left Ireland and settled abroad, more than half of them in the United States, and this is where most of the heritage diaspora reside today. There are also significant heritage diaspora populations in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Contemporary Irish migrants, Irish citizens or those born in Ireland, are mostly to be found in the UK (500,000), the United States (130,000) and Australia (100,000).[83]

148. The current diaspora strategy (2020-25) targets the heritage diaspora via the ancestor tracing programme Irish Reaching Out, but the primary focus is the welfare of Irish emigrants who benefit from the strategy’s flagship programme, the Emigrant Support Programme, which provides grants to provide care for “the most vulnerable and marginalised Irish emigrants”. Other target groups of the latest strategy include women in the diaspora, alumni networks, and Irish scientists and innovators abroad.

Policy goals

149. The welfare of the Irish abroad was at the heart of the approach to the diaspora taken by the Irish Government in the 2015 diaspora strategy and it is still central to the 2020-2025 strategy whose vision statement is “To support the welfare of the Irish abroad and deepen and strengthen ties with our diaspora”. Funding for welfare-related projects via the Emigrant Support Programme has been mainly focused on the United Kingdom where issues arising from isolation, age, location, immigration and employment status, and health were identified during the consultation process. The 2011 UK census found that the Irish was the oldest ethnic group. Another factor was the wave of emigration from Ireland to the UK after the 2008 financial crisis. Other policy goals in the current strategy include the promotion of Irish values, the celebration of diversity, the creation of mutually beneficial economic ties with the diaspora, supporting cultural expression, and extending global reach by connecting with the next generation.

150. Both the 2015 and the current strategy had the policy goal of helping Irish emigrants return to Ireland, for example by identifying and minimising administrative barriers: “As an Irish citizen living abroad, I would like Irish politicians to factor in my interests, however potential or distant. I’d like to think I would not have difficulty opening a bank account when I return to Ireland, or finding a home, a job, or a school place for my child…Do I feel a remote desire for an Irish diaspora social network? Do I want to “connect” with Ireland on any terms other than my own? No, I do not” (Siobhán Brett in The Times, 7th September 2018).

151. The most recent policy issue concerning the diaspora has been whether to extend presidential voting rights to Irish citizens living outside the state. A constitutional referendum was promised in 2019 but that has yet to be held.

Brand Architecture

152. Global Ireland is the Irish Government’s strategic initiative to “ define Ireland’s global outlook for our own time and the generations to come.” Launched in June 2018 it set in train a consultation process on a new policy and strategic approach to supporting citizens overseas and diaspora networks internationally. The result was the new Diaspora Strategy 2020-2025 which views the Irish diaspora as “a diverse and dynamic global community connected to Ireland through ties of citizenship, heritage and affinity”.[84] Global citizenship is a recurring theme throughout the strategy documents, including the notion that “Irish citizens are citizens of the world as well as Ireland”.[85]

Institutions and resources

153. The role of Government is primarily one of support and facilitation, mainly through Ireland’s network of embassies and consulates. The Embassy network has 678 personnel assigned to 80 missions abroad with an additional 94 honorary consuls in 59 countries (2018 figures).[86] The latest diaspora strategy aims to strengthen ties with significant diaspora communities by appointing honorary consuls with specific responsibility for diaspora engagement; guidance and training will be provided for the new network. Another recent innovation has been the “Team Ireland” approach embodied by co-locating embassies and trade and investment bodies in “Ireland Houses” in Washington, Abuja and Tokyo. The Global Irish Network (equivalent to the GlobalScot programme), also make use of the embassy network: based in 40 countries it claims to provide “reach, power and influence” by connecting with 300 of the most influential and Irish-connected people abroad.

154. It is worth noting however that the new strategy also plans to shift maintaining links with the diaspora through embassies to forging and maintaining them through the digital space by means of a single digital platform providing content and resources for all diaspora groups.

155. As outlined above, direct financial support for the welfare of the diaspora is provided via the Emigrant Support Programme (€13 million in 2019). The creation of the role of Minister for Diaspora Affairs in 2014 and then an interdepartmental committee chaired by the Minister, recognised the need for coordination across government when dealing with diaspora issues: the departments and agencies responsible for foreign affairs, trade and investment, education and skills, culture, tourism, are all represented on this committee.

156. Other government funded bodies linked with the diaspora include Culture Ireland, Tourism Ireland, and the inward and outward investment agencies, the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and Enterprise Ireland. Culture Ireland supports arts events which offer opportunities to engage with the diaspora and support them in maintaining their cultural ties to Ireland; emphasis is placed on sharing rather than showcasing Ireland’s culture. Tourism Ireland’s 15 offices overseas run annual campaigns, Global Greening and St Patrick’s day, aimed at diaspora worldwide. “Let’s get back to Ireland” print and digital media campaigns are being run in 2021 in the UK, USA, and Canada. The IDA and Enterprise Ireland both claim to work closely with diaspora and some investment funds and programmes are aimed specifically at the diaspora. Private business networks are also active in the UK, USA (19 chapters), Germany and France. The new diaspora strategy plans to establish regional business forms in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the USA, and Canada; it also has the ambition of establishing a Global Irish Business Directory.

157. The International Education Strategy 2016-2020 wants “Ireland to become internationally recognised for the development of global citizens through our internationalised education system” and the new diaspora strategy’s target is to have 15 per cent of Ireland’s university students from overseas by 2025. [87] The government is committed to the promotion of Irish and the teaching of Irish abroad, particular emphasis is placed on supporting the teaching of Irish in universities abroad.


158. There was no evidence of any overall evaluation of Ireland’s diaspora engagement, but there is extensive scrutiny of the policy programme.



159. According to the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, in 2017 there were some 3.8 million members of the Japanese diaspora (the diaspora are known as Nikkei).[88] As of 2018, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reported the five countries with the highest number of Japanese expatriates as the United States, China, Australia, Thailand, and Canada.[89]

Diaspora target segments

160. In addition to providing consular services to Japanese overseas, where welfare and citizenship are the priorities, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), MOFA provides assistance to Japanese Schools and liaises with host country governments to eliminate the complexity of various procedures for Japanese nationals living overseas, such as converting Japanese driving licenses, obtaining residence/work permits and generally to make living abroad more comfortable.

161. MOFA has a specific geographic priority to support the 2.24 million Nikkei in South America. They prioritise young Nikkei to strengthen their ties to Japan recognising that second generation emigrants may have less awareness of their Japanese identity. They do this by drawing on pop culture, culture, Japanese language learning and visits to Japan.[90]

Policy goals

162. MOFA publishes the Diplomatic Bluebook, which describes Japan's foreign policy. Chapter 4 of the 2020 edition sets out Japan's strategic approach to connection to diaspora through agencies, businesses, and partnerships.

163. MOFA is responsible for the policy on Emigration and the Nikkei Communities. The policy, from 2000, has not been updated. One of the basic concepts of Japan's diplomatic policy is stipulated in the law establishing MOFA 2001 as "contributing to the maintenance of a peaceful and stable international society, creating a favourable international environment through positive and assertive measures, and maintaining and developing harmonious external relations while promoting the interests of Japan and the Japanese people in international society." [91]

164. The policy calls for the relationship between Japan and overseas communities of Nikkei people to be one of reciprocal cooperation based on needs. In recent years there has been a shift from "support" to "cooperation". The policy has established the three Japan Houses as a strategic and innovative initiative targeted at cities with large Nikkei populations, and with remits that include all aspects of diaspora engagement. Various forms of assistance are offered to the Nikkei, including welfare support for ageing emigrants, training in Japan for Nikkei people, and the dispatch of volunteers to the local Nikkei communities.

Brand architecture

165. Japan is consistently in the top nation brands of the world,[92] despite the lack of an overall strategy. To date, there has been very little relationship building between the Japanese government’s work on international promotion and the Japanese diaspora. Consequently, the diaspora network that could play a significant role in Japan's nation branding has been overlooked, except for the highly brand-conscious Japan Houses.

166. The Diplomatic Bluebook describes how MOFA implements its strategic communications based on a three-pillar approach:

  • Disseminating Japan’s policies and initiatives, including an “accurate” image of Japan – mainly with a focus on peace, the international order, and enhancing public awareness of issues concerning the recognition of history.
  • Sharing Japan’s rich and varied attractiveness, and
  • Expanding the circle of people with a great affinity toward or knowledge of Japan.

167. Communications are with governments, media, the public (via social media), and specifically with think tanks and experts. Japan has a wide range of engagement strategies to address controversial issues such as ‘comfort women’ and the rising sun flag, and extensive people to people initiatives, including with its diaspora, to preserve Japan’s intangible cultural heritage and promote global connections through exchanges, sports, support for Japanese studies, and research.

Institutions and resources

168. As noted above, MOFA publishes the Diplomatic Bluebook, which describes Japan's foreign policy. Chapter 4 of the 2020 edition sets out Japan's strategic approach to connection to diaspora through agencies, businesses, and partnerships.

169. MOFA created the Japan Houses specifically to boost their communications and engagement strategy. An important part of their function is “promoting outreach that reflects the needs of local communities” (including diasporic communities). The three Japan Houses are located where there are major concentrations of Nikkei and significant Japanese business interests (London, São Paulo, and Los Angeles), and they target local audiences through a unique approach that presents traditional Japanese cultural expressions (that may be unfamiliar) alongside very contemporary material on high technology, science, global challenges, or social futures. The London Japan House programme illustrates this approach very well with its mix of exhibitions, events, screenings, workshops and talks, both on and offline. This mix of the old and the very new, the popular and the unknown, generates curiosity and attracts large audiences – not least because the presentation is unashamedly quality-driven, upmarket, and commercial. The Japanese retail experience itself is part of the attraction as a highly branded cultural phenomenon. The Japan Houses also host forums on a wide variety of topics such as Japan’s foreign policy, Japan-host country relations, economic cooperation, science and technology, and sport.

170. The Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad organises a range of engagement activities as do a range of other bodies including the Japan Foundation, and the Nippon Foundation. In addition, there are several civil society organisations active in diaspora relations.

171. Relationships with business diasporas are integral to MOFA’s Nikkei strategy, forming an important element of the activities of the Japan Houses, even if they are not explicitly described as such in the published policies of either MOFA or the Ministry of the Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).

172. Finally, it is worth noting that Japanese business traditionally operates through networks (Keiretsu) which can include Japanese diaspora companies, driving innovation and increasing competitiveness.


173. There was no evidence of any overall evaluation of Japan’s diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn, but the Japan Houses’ performance is closely monitored by MOFA through a system of KPIs.[93]

New Zealand


174. New Zealand’s diaspora has grown in recent decades to the fourth highest relative to population in the OECD – at 13.5 percent in 2015/16. The figure is inflated by large numbers of young people living abroad for short periods. Of these, around 640,000 live in Australia. Other communities of New Zealanders abroad are heavily concentrated in other English-speaking countries, specifically the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, with smaller numbers located elsewhere.

175. Many of New Zealand’s expatriates are well educated, prosperous, and successful.[94] New Zealand has the highest proportion among developed countries of its skilled workforce living outside the country and is second among developed countries for its expatriates holding tertiary degrees. There are indications that in the past, the potential of the outward diaspora may have been overestimated, and that of the inward diaspora underestimated (NZ Treasury, 2004). This perception may account for today's situation where the Government has policies for the inward and returning diasporas, but not for the outward diaspora.

Diaspora target segments

176. New Zealand focuses entirely on the development of “talent networks” in scientific, technical, entrepreneurial and management, and cultural areas.

Policy goals

177. Briefing for the new incoming Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (November 2020) is very clear – the diaspora is not a priority for New Zealand's international engagement, nor is it seen as an asset for New Zealand.

178. The focus of New Zealand policy is to encourage the return of New Zealanders with skills from overseas. While there is a limited amount of support for New Zealand citizens going overseas, it is not a priority. There is a strong emphasis on returnees who are seen as a more valuable potential asset for the country than are those going out or those already living as expats.

Brand architecture

179. The New Zealand Story was created by a partnership of Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and Education New Zealand. It promotes New Zealand through a values-led approach, but it has no connection to the diaspora community.

Institutions and resources

180. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is responsible for New Zealand's foreign policy, and for services that support New Zealanders overseas, which are purely a matter for Consular services.

181. New Zealand's international business development is led by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise who have no explicit engagement with the New Zealand diaspora.

182. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) partly funds Kea New Zealand which has a mission "to enable better understanding of these exploring Kiwi (i.e., New Zealanders who leave to go overseas) through goodwill and connection for the benefit of New Zealand and to provide our expats with the information and support they need to thrive."[95] The Ministry carried out an evaluation of Kea in 2009 which concluded that "There is evidence that Kea increases the wealth and productivity of New Zealand and New Zealanders", but that it needed to be better integrated with domestic policy:

“The value derived from Kea by New Zealand might be increased through better linking it with domestic activity in which expatriates could play a role through the use of the network, where appropriate, by relevant agencies and other domestic actors and firms. At a minimum we consider that there needs to be a more effective interface of Kea New Zealand with NZTE and MFAT in New Zealand in order to provide for ongoing alignment across all relevant activity. There is no sign of any more recent evaluation activity.”

183. The evaluation also highlighted the risk that where Kea interacted with its stakeholders, it could come into competition with other agencies who were also looking to maintain strong relationships with key influencers. Other networks were focused upon a particular segment of the expatriate population (in terms of demographics or professional or academic status), and in some cases expatriates were but one part of the network.

184. Other issues were the challenges Kea faced, despite being a light touch network, in achieving financial sustainability and the difficulty in quantifying its impact. Despite this, the authors concluded that Kea provided a “...low cost means of helping deliver economic value to New Zealand through its expatriate community. There is also a range of social and cultural benefits arising from Kea which are beneficial to New Zealand.”


185. With the exception of the Kea New Zealand evaluation, there was no evidence of any overall evaluation of New Zealand’s diaspora engagement from which lessons could be drawn.



186. The State Department’s estimate of the American diaspora is 7.6 million spread widely across the world with the biggest concentrations in Europe and Central and South America.[96] Mexico has recently become the most popular destination for permanent residence abroad for Americans. The term “American diaspora” is hardly ever used by the government or its agencies. This is in part because of the association of the term in the USA with the poor and displaced but also because its size is relatively small and its role regarded, rightly or wrongly, as unimportant in foreign policy and external trade and investment.[97]

Policy goals and brand architecture

187. The USA has no diaspora engagement policy or goals, or a national brand architecture. It does have substantial public diplomacy programmes, but while they aim to promote American values, they are not directly relevant to diaspora engagement.

Institutions and resources

188. The only Federal level initiative is IdEA, the International diaspora Engagement Alliance, a partnership between the State Department and USAID working mainly in the development sector.

189. Engagement with the diaspora is left to civil society organisations who mainly concern themselves with networking activities and lobbying work in Washington to support the legal rights of the diaspora. American Citizens Abroad (ACA) is a voluntary membership organisation which educates, advocates, and informs the US Government and US citizens abroad on regulatory and legislative issues of concern to the overseas American community; the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) is based in Paris with members in 46 countries. It has a very similar mission to ACA and is a non-profit membership organisation; both ACA and AARO organise networking and social events. Two other organisations worthy of note are Democrats Abroad and Republicans Overseas, both of which recently increased the membership and activities among the American diaspora before and during Donald Trump’s Presidency.


190. There was no evidence of any evaluation from which lessons could be drawn.



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