Scottish Connections Framework

This Framework sets out a cohesive and cross-cutting approach to diaspora engagement. It outlines a series of commitments and ambitions to strengthen and expand our relationships with, and between, Scotland’s international communities, and expand on existing work with our established networks.

Engaging Scotland’s Diaspora

Scotland embraces opportunities to strengthen its international relationships. Engaging with our broad diaspora community forms a central part of this activity. From in-person events hosted by our International Network, Scottish Development International, and VisitScotland, to digital opportunities on social media channels and newsletters, there are many ways we engage with these communities.

Our next step is to expand this outreach, focusing on more substantial relationships, and helping members of our diaspora build their own networks. As part of a longer-term approach, we will establish a dedicated Scottish Connections contact point within the Scottish Government for diaspora engagement, where members of our diaspora can engage directly with the Scottish Government and its public bodies.

Our International Networks

The Scottish Government and Scottish Development International’s global network of offices promotes Scotland’s international profile and already engages extensively with our diaspora.

The Scottish Government’s International Network currently has nine offices – in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Ottawa, Paris and Washington DC – and we plan to open a tenth in Warsaw. From hosting annual events to celebrate key cultural moments like St Andrew’s Day and Burns Night, to bringing together alumni and business leaders, our offices are key to developing and maintaining Scotland’s international connections.

Scottish Development International has 34 offices spanning 23 countries, with local trade and investment specialists to help people set up business in Scotland, find investment opportunities, and connect with Scottish suppliers. Each business relationship formed or investment created helps to build Scotland’s international connections and increases its reputation in global business. Additionally, the GlobalScot network is formed of more than 1,200 senior-level, experienced and influential business professionals and leaders, entrepreneurs, and figureheads, who are dedicated to supporting Scotland’s economic ambitions internationally.

Each office in the Scottish Government’s International Network will build on their work with our diaspora communities by including a diaspora objective in their business plans to help deliver the commitments in this Framework.

And we will aim to collaborate across our full network – our international offices, including SDI, GlobalScots, Trade and Investment Envoys and public bodies – to map and engage our diaspora.

You can find out how to connect to the Scottish Government’s International Network at

Information on Scottish Development International locations can be found at

Promoting Scotland

Scotland’s heritage, food and drink, literature, textiles, and music are as much a part of our country as our world-leading universities, gaming companies, and festivals of modern Scotland. All of it, and all the people involved in it, are proudly part of Scotland’s story.

Many nations present their credentials in fields such as climate change, business innovation, and inclusivity. But by doing so in a way that illustrates what makes Scotland unique, alongside celebrating our distinctive cultural attributes and globally recognised iconography, we have a real opportunity.

The Brand Scotland partnership brings together the collective communications effort of the Scottish Government and key partners, including VisitScotland, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Universities Scotland, Colleges Scotland, Creative Scotland, and Scotland Food & Drink, to harness our energy, expertise, and resources, to increase the impact of Scotland’s global reputation.

Embracing both traditional and modern Scotland, this nation brand champions Scotland’s values and tells the stories of our unique heritage whilst celebrating our innovations, and raising awareness of the actions we take to create better local and global outcomes.

With the Brand Scotland approach and values at the core of our Framework, we will work with our diaspora to provide them with relevant resources to promote Scotland among their own networks.

Engaging with diaspora online

Connecting digitally will be vital in reaching the broad geographic spread of Scotland’s diaspora. To engage with our Scottish connections around the world and work with them to deepen relationships and promote Scotland globally, we will maximise the use of existing platforms and channels, and investigate new digital approaches.

As our primary international-facing website, provides a wealth of information about Scotland to global audiences, and about how to live, work, study, visit, and do business here. The website was re-launched in April 2018 alongside the ‘Scotland Is Now’ campaign and has since received over nine million unique pageviews. will be an online home for our diaspora – the place they come to engage with Scotland and are encouraged to explore their Scottish connections. We will create dedicated content within the website for our diaspora, developing new pages to reflect the unique experiences of our primary diaspora strands – heritage, lived, educational and affinity. We will review and update content relating to the specific relationships between Scotland and other countries, to ensure these accurately reflect our shared history and our enduring relationships.

We will work with a research partner to review how to meet the digital preferences of our different diaspora groups ensuring that any future approach to digital communication will provide them with the information they need, where they need it. This research will inform how we develop a more interactive communications approach for our diaspora including creating a means by which diaspora can register themselves as a member of Scotland’s international community, and enable them to receive the information that’s most relevant to them.

And we will work with partners to ensure active connections and traffic-driving between relevant websites to best meet the needs of our varied diaspora audiences.

Social media

It is vital to develop and strengthen connection with future generations of diaspora. We want more younger members of Scotland’s diaspora to connect to us, and with each other. Building our digital channels will provide the opportunity to reach these audiences – not just our educational communities where numbers are understandably high, but also young business leaders, artists, and future generations of heritage diaspora.

We will seek to reflect diaspora relationships and experience in our communications. We will also trial the launch of Instagram channels in targeted international markets to engage new diaspora members directly. We will seek feedback from younger members of our diaspora to improve these channels and understand what content they want from Scotland.

Digital directory

For the first time, we will develop a public-facing digital directory of organisations around the world affiliated with Scotland.

Hosted on, the directory will support different strands of diaspora engagement and encourage awareness of the depth and spread of Scotland’s diaspora internationally. It will showcase the wide range of community and cultural offerings available to our diaspora – from traditional clan and St Andrew’s Societies, to established alumni groups and innovative business networks.

The directory can also act as a touchpoint for those wanting to engage with Scotland’s diaspora in different countries. From those seeking a sense of “home” when moving to a new country to members of affinity diaspora looking to become more involved in a Scottish cultural pursuit for the first time. Or, simply anyone who wants to learn about Scotland if they are considering visiting, studying, or even emigrating here.

The directory will also support collaboration between organisations based in, or travelling to, the same location, increasing opportunities for Scots and friends of Scotland to connect.

We will update the directory regularly, working with organisations to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, increasing engagement and the flow of information between the Scottish Government and its public bodies, and their own memberships.

Working with other governments

There are many lessons that we can learn from other countries and partners to better engage Scotland’s diaspora communities.

Ireland’s well-established diaspora policy, bolstered by its global diplomatic network, is seen as a world-leader and one from which Scotland can learn. Wales’s experience in developing digital platforms also offers examples.

While Scotland has a relatively small diplomatic footprint, we can ensure our headquarters, International Network and SDI offices globally are supporting these initiatives including by working with devolved and UK Government counterparts.

The UK Government’s diplomatic missions have connections with Scottish communities worldwide and often host or participate in key cultural moments while the British Council’s extensive overseas operation has links to cultural and educational networks. Scotland has access to these networks, and so we will explore how both diplomatic missions and the British Council can help deliver the aims of this Framework.

Recognising and supporting our diaspora

We recognise that our diaspora contributes immeasurably to boosting Scotland’s reputation around the world. The vast majority of this activity is voluntary, driven only by passion for Scotland itself. We believe this sort of commitment to Scotland is worthy of recognition.

We will therefore launch a diaspora recognition award, marking the achievements of our diaspora internationally. The award will be launched during this Parliament and recognise the achievements of our diaspora in different fields. We will publish details on criteria and nomination following design of the award with diaspora communities.

We will use our new digital resources to tell stories of our diaspora’s activities around the world, to congratulate those participating but also to encourage others to get involved.

And we will use the connections spawned by our comprehensive approach to diaspora engagement to promote business and employment opportunities in Scotland for members of our diaspora, and to offer a pathway for those seeking to make Scotland their home either permanently or as a student.

Reaching out to traditional Scottish diaspora organisations will also be an important strand of our work. We will support these heritage organisations to broaden their appeal to young people, connecting them to Scotland. This includes support to expand their membership through appointing Youth Officers and considering establishing scholarships and youth exchanges. We will also encourage the involvement of contemporary performers at major diaspora events like Tartan Day, festivals and Burns Night or St Andrew’s Day celebrations to increase awareness of Scotland’s dynamic cultural scene.

And we will pilot a Scottish Connections Fund to further the aims of this Framework. The fund will support initiatives that bring together those with a connection to Scotland, promote Scotland’s reputation and interests, and build greater connections back to Scotland itself. We will publish details of the fund in 2023.



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