Call For Presentations

Diaspora Engagement Conference

Founding Conference of the UNIVERSITY of GUYANA’s Diaspora Engagement Centre:
Shared Heritage, Aspirations & Interests

Dreaming Diaspora Engagement, Doing Diaspora Engagement

July 23 – 28, 2017

Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, Providence, East Bank Demerara, Guyana

The overarching objective of the Diaspora Engagement Centre (DEC) is to deepen and enhance the institutional framework within which Caribbean countries and key stakeholders relate to diasporas and the diasporic economy.

The DEC mandate is based upon a regional approach which would involve key stakeholders and institutions in the CARICOM / CARIFORUM region and in the wider Latin American context. The DEC would be based at the UNIVERSITY of GUYANA.

Day 1 Sunday, July 23, 2017 Arrival and Sponsored Welcome Reception @19:00hrs
Day 2 Monday, July 24, 2017 Opening Plenary, Academic Panels and Papers
Day 3 Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Presentations from Government, Private Sector, Civil Society, Launch of Diaspora Engagement Centre (introduce Founding Director, Premier Logo, etc.)
Day 4 Wednesday, July 26, 2017 Second Educational Resource Ambassador (ERA) Conference (Distribution of Certificates to New Ambassadors)
Day 5 Thursday, July 27, 2017 Know Your Country: Visits to Attractions on and beyond the Coast / Diaspora Give Back Market Place
Day 6 Friday, July 28, 2017 Closing Plenary; Official Installation of Prof. Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith as Vice-Chancellor of The UNIVERSITY of GUYANA; Take Group Pictures; Hold Cultural Event in Evening at the Umana Yana Banquet Hall followed by Music and Dancing

The theme, Dreaming Diaspora Engagement – Doing Diaspora Engagement has been chosen in recognition of the fact that much has been said in the last two to three decades about the potential for the diaspora in national and regional development. Indeed many Caribbean countries have introduced policies and programmes aimed at mainstreaming their diaspora into national and regional growth and development. There, however remains a need for more investigation into how the various policies and intents can be actualised. In other words how the potential of the region’s diaspora can become a reality.

There are few opportunities for diasporic researchers and scholars to engage in a genuinely global dialogue. In the context of globalizing similarities and differences, such dialogue is increasingly important as it facilitates the development and sharing of knowledge, and the establishment of international collaborative relations. This conference is committed to advancing the achievement of a just, peaceful and progressive Caribbean diasporic world community through collaboration and dialogue on various issues through the exchange of ideas, concerns, solutions, problems, person-to-person contacts and professional relationships. An important aspect of the conference would be discussion of the history of the engagement of the Caribbean Diaspora with Caribbean development and the lessons learnt from this history of engagement.

The major goals for this conference are:
  • Build a partnership with the Pan-Caribbean Diaspora;
  • Engage the Pan-Caribbean Diaspora in nation building;
  • Discuss lessons learnt in Diaspora Engagement;
  • Solicit Proposals and Ideas in Capacity Building on Diaspora Engagement;
  • Outline Business Opportunities for Diaspora Engagement;
  • Map Interest and Skills with Needs;
  • Develop / Craft Diaspora Engagement Programmes and Policies;
  • Launch Pan-Caribbean Diaspora Research Center; and
  • Enable transnational Network Engagement.

    To this end, the conference will:
  • Provide a forum for panel discussions around the goals of the conference as well as the sharing;
  • Provide an opportunity for scholars, researchers and community advocates to interact and share major concerns with each other while discussing matters relating to their respective communities. The conference will thereby enhance the global networks of diasporic scholars, researchers and community advocates within the context of Hometown associations;
  • Offer insightful experiences, innovative ideas and solutions that could benefit both local and international scholars, researchers, as well as their respective diasporic communities; and
  • Encourage or challenge organizations, individuals and community advocates, to utilize their skills and talent not only to advance academic excellence, but also, to launch various projects such as building new schools, technical colleges, and conduct humanitarian initiatives in their respective countries and beyond, in order to improve the quality of life of their diasporic communities. We will call this a Volunteering / Touring Day.

    It is expected that there would be various panels where we will consider presentations in various genres such as poems, plays, film, documentaries, paintings, photography, literature, workshops/interactive sessions, posters/exhibits, among others.


    Identity Issues in the Caribbean Diaspora Engagement Experience
    Presenters in this panel would speak to the history of Caribbean migration and the creation of Caribbean Diaspora communities all around the world. They would speak to how the Caribbean Diaspora adapted and thrived in their new homes and how they related to their family and friends back in their countries of birth. The ways in which the Diaspora experience has changed with changes in technology would also be discussed in this section.

    The Role of Hometown Associations (HTA)
    Presenters in this pane would explore the role of HTA as a major conduit of Diaspora engagement and mechanism for sustainable development. Their role in collectivizing remittances, facilitating cross-continental cultural and political connections would also be explored as well as the extent to which HTA represent transnational identity rooted in both country of origin and adopted home country.

    Building Partnerships With and Within the Diaspora
    Presenters in this panel will discuss issues relating to members of the Caribbean Diaspora working better together within the Diaspora and also working with their home countries. Here participants would discuss the dynamics of Diaspora cooperation in the Diaspora. Also to be discussed in this panel are the challenge of the diaspora working with partners in their home countries and the associated tensions and misunderstanding.

    Remittances and Beyond: Technology and Business / Entrepreneurial Opportunity Recognition within the Diaspora
    Presenters would speak to Capital Markets, Investing Remittances, investment opportunities, and technology mediation of business opportunities in the Diaspora and between entrepreneurs/investors in the Diaspora and those in the home countries. Technology has reduced distances, facilitated marketing, and generally enhanced opportunities for innovation and business partnerships. How to maximize investment opportunities for those in the Diaspora and in partnership with those at home is an area of great opportunity and challenge. This panel would seek to explore this dynamic with a view to policy formulation to support Diaspora investors.

    Contemporary Issues / Challenges Facing the Caribbean Diaspora
    Presenters in this category will look at issues such as ethnic discrimination, poverty and poverty reduction, family life, culture clash, volunteerism and voluntary organizations, social issues, cultural diversity, ethnicity and nationalism, reparation, and ‘adaptations, assimilations and synthetization’ in diaspora host societies “reciprocity”, as well as opportunities to address and overcome challenges and obstacles.

    Imaging and Imagining the Diaspora: The Global Caribbean Diasporic Community in the 21st Century
    It is expected that presenters in this panel will address matters such as governance, appropriate technology, human rights, the role of Caribbean culture and religion in the future diaspora and global community, the nature of transnational relations among diaspora communities, diaspora bonding, the importance of civic engagement, social justice and social development, fostering intercultural understanding and cultural diversity, promoting global development and sustainability in the form of viable institutions, foundations, associations and chambers of commerce and ways to enhance diasporic publications, conferences and organizations.

    Researching the Diaspora
    What are the tools, methods, policies for researching the Diaspora and for engaging the Diaspora.

    The Role of the Diaspora as Brand Ambassadors
    The Governance of Diaspora Engagement / Launch of Guyana Diaspora Engagement Strategy – How the Caribbean Diaspora interacts formally with their home countries seems always to be a vexed question. The modalities of government / official engagement between the Diaspora and home governments is not the same by any means and levels of satisfaction with government efforts to integrate the Diaspora with their home countries varies between countries and between individuals from the same countries linked to politics, income, ethnicity, etc. This topic needs exploring as the ease with which members of the Diaspora can return home, invest, and otherwise participate in developments in their home country is linked to how much they can contribute to sustainable economic development. At the conference we expect to have government delegations and we are slated to have a discussion of the new Guyana Government Diaspora engagement strategy.

    One (1) or two (2) Business Roundtables that allow for the private sector (who may not be interested in writing papers) to present their experiences and views in a less formal and academic way.
  • Reception and Dinner
  • Commemorative Dinner and Cultural Evening
  • Tours (to be announced)

    There would be at least four (4) presenters in each panel session. Presentations will be limited to 15 minutes each.
    1. Abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted on or before March 14, 2017. [Please use the Presentation Proposal Format below in sending your abstract].
    2. Acceptance letters for proposals will be e-mailed by April 14, 2017.
    3. Presenters should indicate if their formal presentations will be in PowerPoint format.
    4. Where appropriate an electronic copy of the full paper (a 5 – 10 page summary is acceptable) must be submitted no later than June 16th 2017.

    In the subject window of your e-mails, please type the following words:


    Proposals for Presentations should be sent to:

    Dr. Fitzgerald Yaw
    Chairman – Editorial Committee
    Diaspora Engagement Conference Secretariat – the UNIVERSITY of GUYANA
    Mobile: +592 623 0251

    The following format should be used in sending proposals to the conference committee:

    Name of Presenter: ………………………………………………………
    Institutional Affiliation (if any): ………………………………………………………
    City: ………………………………………………………
    State/Province: ………………………………………………………
    Zip / Postal Code: ………………………………………………………
    Country: ………………………………………………………
    Mobile: ………………………………………………………
    E-mail: ………………………………………………………


    Brief Biography (75 words or less)

    To be announced.

    Presenters would be expected to fund their own travel and local accommodation to the conference.

    Arrangements are being made for discounted rates at Ramada Georgetown Princess for presenters and delegates [].

  • Submission of Abstracts – April 14, 2017
  • Acceptance of Presentation – May 12, 2017
  • Full Presentation * Submission – June 16, 2017

    * – where appropriate a 5 – 10 page summary is acceptable

    Diaspora Engagement Conference Secretariat
    February 4, 2017