By Noreen Bowden | November 26, 2008
An interesting example of Irish leadership in diaspora thinking took place in New York recently, when Niall Burgess, the Ambassador and Consul General of Ireland to the USA, spoke at the Jamaican consulate on the Irish-American experience. The event was the first in a series of conversations with business and community leaders “aimed at inspiring critical thinking about the development of the Jamaican Diaspora Movement”.
Ambassador Burgess spoke along with Moet Hennessy Chief Operating Officer Jim Clerkin in the event, titled “From immigrant community to Diaspora movement, the Irish Americans: a case study”.
The event is one of a series of events hosted by the Jamaican Consul General in collaboration with the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board/NE USA and the Organisation for International Development. The next event in the series will focus on the Indian experience.
And on a related note, Ireland’s experience is helping to inform Pittsburgh’s attempts to keep in touch with its own exiles. The rust belt city has faced outward migration in recent years, and possesses an ‘emigrant community’ of loyal former residents.
See this blog entry by geographer and social theorist Jim Russell at the Pittsburgh Quarterly : it references David McWilliams’s diaspora ideas and the Donegal Diaspora Network.
Russell has set up an extremely informative website called “Cleveburgh Diaspora” about the Cleveland-Pittsburgh Diaspora. There is much of worth here about topics such as brain drain, attracting returnees, and encouraging investment from area natives living away.