The International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) is an innovative partnership platform that brings together over 1,500 diaspora communities groups, the private sector, and public institutions in a collaborative process to enhance diplomacy and development outcomes around the globe. In July, we held the second annual Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum. At the forum, we announced a number of new partnerships to enhance the IdEA platform including a new platform to help people to invest back in their communities of heritage through a partnership with GlobalGiving that highlights investment projects that benefit developing communities. We also announced a partnership with MentorCloud, which connects mentors in the United States with youth around the world, as well as a volunteer matching service to help place U.S.-based diasporans into volunteer opportunities in communities of heritage. And under a new IdEA Fellows program, USAID announced the Diasporas Development Initiative, a public private partnership with Accenture and Cuso International in which highly-skilled diaspora professionals will be recruited to do volunteer assignments in their countries of origin or heritage.
In addition to these partnership, IdEA helped launch or support four competitions: the Caribbean Idea Marketplace, which would provide $100,000 matching grants to projects that foster local and diaspora business partnerships in the region; the African Diaspora Marketplace, under which USAID awarded 17 entrepreneurs with business development support and grant funding to launch businesses in Africa; the Latin American Idea Partnership (La Idea), an effort of S/GPI, USAID and multiple private sector partners to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs in the United States and Latin America; and the Pacific Islands Diaspora Marketplace to enhance and deepen collaboration in this region.
2013 will bring even more momentum to this initiative. The 3rd annual Global Diaspora Forum, which will take place on May 14, will build on its global alliances and expand from beyond a DC-centered event to a multi-city engagement around the world. By expanding to include cities with robust diaspora communities in the United States and around the globe, the 2013 Global Diaspora Forum will become a truly global event that engages North American-, European-, and African- and Asian-based diaspora communities simultaneously. In addition, we are working on a number of initiatives to engage diaspora communities via innovative means — including the development of a diaspora volunteer corps and a platform for diaspora philanthropy.