Consular Special Report Embassy 55
Gordon Wilson of WorldReach outlined a new software tool to help consuls manage diaspora relations in a more strategic and integrated way
A country’s diaspora is an under-utilised asset for growing diplomatic relations. An engaged diaspora can help grow trade, investment, cultural relations, tourism and knowledge transfer for a country.
An active diaspora can even have an influence on political debate in a country. Remittances also sustain family networks in the home countries and can be an important source of foreign exchange.
Capturing data for strategic diaspora diplomacy
But gathering, tracking and maintaining contacts of the diaspora is a challenge. Channels for outreach to the community are limited and communication is infrequent and usually one-way (from embassy to the diaspora).
Diaspora diplomacy tends to be practised on an ad hoc basis when communities come together in response to a national disaster or celebration. But strategic diaspora diplomacy requires regular, long-term engagement with expatriate communities in a way that is tailored to their interests or skill sets. Without a good database this is much harder to achieve.
Strategic diaspora diplomacy requires regular, long-term engagement with expatriate communities in a way that is tailored to their interests or skill sets
So consular software company WorldReach have created Diaspora Connection a tool that helps consuls (and other diplomatic officers) integrate, organise and manage diaspora data from multifaceted activities that the embassy may be involved in. Every event, from business conferences, to cultural celebrations, student meetings, alumni get togethers or fundraisers is an opportunity to capture data.
Citizens themselves can input and update their data online or on a mobile device. The mission may offer limited access to diaspora groups who can help the embassy grow the network.
The software also has tools for relevant two-way communication with one’s diaspora.
The database can be tailored in multiple ways, such as geographically or by area of activity (eg culture, education, business) so that communication is tailored to specific groups within the diaspora.
Scalable, adaptable, affordable
WorldReach’s Software as a Service (SaaS) is a subscription service available via the cloud and is scalable, thus making it cost effective even for smaller missions where a bespoke data solution would be very costly.
It is easy to set up and has features that can be adapted to the specific needs of the mission. Subscription payments would typically be around £50 per month.