Global Migration: Rethinking Skills, Knowledge and Culture
26-27 November 2016
Organised by Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism, New Delhi
Last Date for Receiving Abstract: 30 June 2016
Globalization has brought about a new paradigm where socio-cultural, political, and economic landscapes get exposed to unexpected dynamics of challenges and change. It thus becomes a matter of both challenge and opportunity for the home and host countries.
On the one hand, the economic changes over the past hundred years that includes close integration, opening of trade, ideas and information, have resulted in benefitting the industrially developed economies. On the other hand, for the developing economies, the challenges remain though of different level and kind. However, the changed circumstances globally also bring along opportunities for these states to help them overcome the challenges.The increased movement of people has resulted in theglobal development of new ideas, intercultural linkages, democratisation of global space etc. In this scenario, diaspora has emerged as an important player in the transnational sphere for both thehome and host countries.
The actual process of engaging diaspora in the development process remains a challenge for the home countries. Policies result from a complex interplay of local and global conditions, including the role of lobby groups, socio-economic and political conditions of the country, level of institutional development, technological progress. This engagement process is also mediated by the social and cultural identities of the diaspora that are not just diverse but also contested. The challenge faced by the developing countries in this regard is very different from that of the industrially advanced states.
In recent years, the policies related to human and financial capital have been gaining serious attention. Contrary to the idea of brain drain that dominated the development debate in the 60s and 70s among the scholars and policy makers of developing countries, diasporas in the age of internet are viewed as instruments of human, ?nancial and social development of both the host and the home state. Many developing countries in the recent past have been playing a significant role in channelizing the resources through various institutional mechanisms by engaging both the government and non-governmental institutions. Developing countries have managed to channelise ?nancial resources from their diaspora quite e?ectively. India has emerged as the largest recipient of remittances in the world surpassing China in the last few years. Financial capital accumulated by diaspora abroad is often repatriated to the country of origin in the form of remittances or direct investments. Human capital plays an important role in this regard and is e?ectively transferred across borders with the use of ICT, creating opportunities in several sectors such as higher education, training, research and development, etc. There are evidences of successful diasporic knowledge transfer in areas such as IT and Healthcare. For instance, the success of Bangalore IT boom and corporate healthcare may be attributed to the contribution of the high skilled Indian diaspora in the US.
The multidirectional engagement between diaspora and homeland is more intensive with the help of virtual platforms. There are multiple dynamics involved in shaping the contour of the diaspora and engaging them with region, nations and transnational spheres.
Conflicts and engagement in the development are simultaneous with many diasporas. However, there is a need to engage positively with all dynamics rather than ignoring the force that is so important in the globalised world.
Skills and Knowledge
Globalisation altered the economic activities in a great manner. The development of service economy and ICT has created demand for new skills and knowledge. Many developing countries suffered the initial brain drain due to the lack of absorption capacity of their skilled human resource and subsequent backwardness in the new economy. However, the scenario has been changing over time due to the globalised and mobile workforce that brought back not just financial capital but also human capital in terms of skills and knowledge.
This conference will delve into the knowledge and skill development aspect of the diaspora that remains one of the major policy thrust area in many developing countries and also how their potential can be harnessed for the development of the homeland.
Cultural development is an umbrella term that relates to wide array of human activities. An active diaspora has a strong attachment with the homeland. The cultural bond with the homeland constitutes a very strong form of belonging for the diasporic communities.The conference will discuss in greater details such cultural aspects, namely, Films, literature and religion etc. so as to provide a more coherent picture of diaspora and its interrelated dynamics.
Though the core areas remain Skill, Knowledge and Cultural development, the conference is open to papers that may not directly fall into the area but provide insight into the broader aspects of diaspora and development dynamics.
About the Conference
The conference will bring together scholars from diverse fields such as academic, civil society and policy from different countries. The conference intends to provide comparative perspectives in diaspora engagement. The papers will be published in a book by an international publisher.
The conference will have more wider reach and try to represent as many countries possible so that both macro and micro perspectives and diversities of issues will be covered. There are several countries actively engaged in policies and working on a new paradigm of global engagement to tap resources in the globalised world ever increasing human mobility.The conference is conceived to address these issues, both conceptual as well as applied areas so as to give a wholistic approach to understand the issue.
The following are the Themes and Sub themes for the Conference. However, all the related issues are also welcome.
Themes and Subthemes
1. Diaspora and Transnationalism
· Concepts of Migration and Diaspora (Critical appraisal of place of birth, duration)
· Transnationalism and Globalisation
2. Diaspora Policies
· Diaspora Engagement Policies: Legal, political, economic and socio-cultural
· Diaspora policy practiced across the world: Legal aspects, socio economic benefits for the diaspora
· Dual citizenship, voting rights to emigrants: Legal incorporation of the diaspora
· Overseas Indian Citizenship practiced by the Indian State
· Emigration policy for the lesser skilled temporary migrant workers: Emigration Laws around the world
· Addressing grievances of the diaspora: A critical appraisal of the state's role
· issues confronted by the Indian diaspora in Malaysia, Gulf states
· Politics of Migration and Policies on Diaspora with implications for Foreign and National Security
· Impact of Politics on Emigration and Immigration (WTO, Bhumiputra in Malaysia, Racism, Citizenship issue in Gulf, Visa policy of selective, USA/Developed countries,
· Diaspora and Soft power diplomacy (cultural diplomacy)
· Impacts of Diaspora on Foreign Policies
3. Diaspora and Development
· Immigration, Knowledge Economy and policies towards high skilled labour
· International Trade
· Return Migration
· Technology Transfer
· Mobility: Indo-Euorope Migration Corridor
· Skill Migration
· Brain Drain, Brain Gain, Brain Chain and Brain Bank
· Migration of Health Care and IT Professionals
· Changes in VISA regime- H1B1 of USA to Blue Card of Germany
· India-Europe Migration of Students and Skilled Professionals
4. Diaspora and Conflict
· Nursing at the war zone
· Disguised Returnees
· South Asian Labour Hostages
· Making of Refugees and Asylees
· Crisis of Rights, Challenges, and Advocacy
5. Diaspora and Civil Society
· Diaspora organisations and their role
· Marriages, Custody, Adoption, Property, Hague Conventions
· Human Trafficking
· Diaspora Philanthropy
· Rehabilitation, Social Security.
6. Diaspora and Global Culture
· Diaspora in the global cultural revolution- multiculturalism and Diaspora
· Indian Diaspora: Film, Literature, Language, Food
· Films and Diaspora
· Diaspora and Global Culture: Film, literature, food and religion
7. Diaspora and Gender Relations
8. Diaspora, Religion and Ethnicity
· Religious Practices at the Hostland; Hinduism in Middle East and South-East Asia
· Ethnic Enclaves
· Ethnic Markets and Enterprises
· Religious practices and rights to celebrate
· Forceful conversion of Diaspora
9. Diaspora and Remittances
· Economic impact of remittances at the homeland
· Socio-cultural development of left behind families with remittances
· Social remittances and knowledge transfer
· Cultural Remittances- Impact at the homeland
· Impact of remittances at different levels; Individual, Family, Community and National.
10. Technology and Diaspora
Technology Transfer and Exchange
Migration and Technology
Technolgy, virtuality and new mobilisation identity
Technology and Diaspora culture
Technology and education and skill development
11. New Dynamics of Diaspora Engagement
· Virtual Diasporas and Knowledge Platforms
· Indian Diaspora, Virtual platform and development
· Diaspora investment and Entrepreneurship
Guidelines for Submission of Abstracts
Guidelines for Abstracts
All abstracts will be peer reviewed and selected papers will be invited for final paper presentation. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you please send an query
Venue: New Delhi
Abstracts or requests for further information should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The conference will provide a knowledge platform for scholars working in policy and academic domain to share ideas, comparative perspectives on diaspora and international migration. A large array of stakeholders at national and international level will benefits from the conference and publications thereafter. The following stakeholders will directly benefit from the conference:
Government Ministries: Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Culture
Agencies/Departments: Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Reserve Bank of India,
Development Organisations working in the diaspora areas
Corporate Sectors: Working in the area of music, films, investment, knowledge transfer, human resource training, education sector
The conference intends to provide fresh perspectives and better understanding of the migration and diasporic issues that will provide input for academic scholarships as well as for effective policy. Conference papers will be published by a reputed international publisher. However the papers will be finalised only after the peer reviewed process.
India International Centre, 40, Max Mueller Marg New Delhi
India International Centre, 40, Max Mueller Marg New Delhi
Delhi, the capital city of India is a land locked city and has an extreme type of continental climate. The peak winter just ends during the first week of February month in Delhi but the temperature remain around 10°C to 24°C . The winters are marked at times by mist and fog in the mornings. The cold wave from the Himalayan region makes winters very chilly. Therefore participants are requested to wear warm cloths.
How to Reach
International Airport to Venue
Take a pre-paid taxi from pre-paid booths located both inside and outside the airport and ask to be taken to the India International Centre near Lodi Gardens Gate No. 3. You will be asked to make the fare payment at the booths and they will give you a receipt/slip. This has to be handed over to the taxi driver once you reach your destination. Do not pay anything more to the driver. You can also get a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw from the road outside the airport. However, be warned that most of them overcharge, do not use their meters and you may have to haggle for a fair fare.
After exiting the airport, the driver should take a left turn and get on to the Jaipur highway (NH 8). You will cross the Radisson Hotel on your right. From the next opening, take a right to enter the expressway and then drive towards Rao Tula Ram Road. You’ll cross Subroto Park and West End on your left, and reach the Moti Bagh flyover traffic junction. From here, take a right to go on to the Mahatma Gandhi Road, popularly called the Ring Road. You’ll cross the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bhikaji Cama Place, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital on the right to reach a major flyover system called the AIIMS flyover. Climb on to the flyover and take the left road on it.
As you come down, you’ll cross Dilli Haat on the left and INA market on the right. You’ll climb another flyover (over Safdarjung airport) and then take a right from a traffic light to enter Lodi Road. You will cross a few traffic lights, and come to a Junction with a large grey-and ochre building on your right, on the other side of the road. Take a left turn from this Junction which will take you to Max Mueller Marg. The first turn on the left leads to the IIC Annexe building and third turn on the left brings you to the main IIC building.
Google Map: https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Delhi+Airport/28.593693,email@example.com,77.158699,12z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m5!1m1!1s0x390d1b845efada7d:0x34de94252977c229!2m2!1d77.094021!2d28.558311!1m1!4e1?hl=en
Domestic Airport to Venue
Take a pre-paid taxi from pre-paid booths located both inside and outside the airport and ask to be taken to the India International Centre near Lodi Gardens Gate No. 3. You will have to make the fare payment at the booth and they will give you a receipt/slip. This has to be handed over to the taxi driver once you reach your destination. Do not pay anything more to the driver. You can also get a three-wheeler auto-rickshaw from the road outside the airport. However, be warned that most of them overcharge, do not use their meters and you may have to haggle for a fair fare.
After exiting the airport, the driver should take a left turn and get on to the Jaipur highway (NH 8). You will cross the Radisson Hotel on your right. From the next opening, take a right to enter the expressway and then drive towards Rao Tula Ram Road. You’ll cross Subroto Park and West End on your left, and reach the Moti Bagh flyover traffic junction.
From here, take a right to go on to the Mahatma Gandhi Road, popularly called the Ring Road. You’ll cross the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bhikaji Cama Place, Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital on the right to reach a major flyover system called the AIIMS flyover. Climb on to the flyover and take the left road on it.
As you come down, you’ll cross Dilli Haat on the left and INA market on the right. You’ll climb another flyover (over Safdarjung airport) and then take a right from a traffic light to enter Lodi Road.
You will cross a few traffic lights, and come to a Junction with a large grey-and ochre building on your right, on the other side of the road. Take a left turn from this Junction on the Max Mueller Marg. The first turn on the left leads to the IIC Annexe building and third turn on the left brings you to the main IIC building
New Delhi Railway Station to Venue
Take a pre-paid taxi from pre-paid booths located both inside and outside the railway station and ask to be taken to the India International Centre near Lodi Garden Gate No. 3. You will have to make the fare payment at the booths and they will give you a slip. This slip has to be handed over to the taxi driver once you reach your destination. Do not pay anything extra to the drivers. You can also get three-wheeler auto rickshaw from the road outside the station. But most of them overcharge, do not use their meters and you will have to do a lot of negotiating.
After exiting the railway station, the driver should take a turn towards the Connaught Place outer circle. On the Connaught Place outer circle you'll cross the Super Bazaar and Statesman building on your left From the Connaught Place outer circle drive towards Janpath road. Take left to Janpath road and go straight on this road. As you come down, you'll cross Hotel Meridian on your left, National museum on the right. Janpath road will lead you up to Lodi Garden . Take left on reaching Lodi Garden you will find a Junction. You take a right from this Junction on the Max Mueller Marg. On this road the first turn on the right is for IIC Main building and third turn on the right is for IIC main building.
Google Road map of the location
Google Map: https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Indira+Gandhi+International+Airport,+New+Delhi,+Delhi+110037/India+International+Centre,+New+Delhi,+Delhifirstname.lastname@example.org,77.1303325,13z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x390d1b85fc2a2d89:0xbef376182c43ed9d!2m2!1d77.0999578!2d28.5561624!1m5!1m1!1s0x390ce2edb8df534b:0x42658014c4433471!2m2!1d77.2234579!2d28.5939536?hl=en
Prof. Margaret Walton-Roberts, Associate Dean, School of International Policy and Governance
Dr. Ned Bertz, Assistant Professor of History, University of Hawaii
Dr.Nayeem Sultana, Associate Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dr.Nandini C. Sen, Associate Professor. Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi, New Delhi
Dr. Evans Stephen Osabuohien, Dept. of Economics and Development Studies, Covenant University, Nigeria
Prof. Vinesh Hookoomsing, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
Prof. Vivek Kumar, CSSS, JNU, New Delhi
Dr. Anjali Sahay, Associate Professor, International Relations and Political Science at Gannon University, Pennsylvania, USA
Prof.GuofuLIU,School of Law, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing
Dr. Kumar Mahabir, The University of Trinidad and Tobago, Corinth Teachers College, UTT
Dr.Els van Dongen, Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Dr. G. Srinivas, CSSS, JNU, New Delhi
Dr.SadanandaSahoo, SOITS, IGNOU
Visa Related Information
The following information should be produce
Name of applicant
Father’s/ Husband’s Name
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Date and place of passport issue
Passport valid until
Address of Residence
Participants will have to arrange their own accommodation. However, they can contact the organisers if they want any support in facilitating the arrangement.
Dr. M. Mahalingam
Dr. Rajneesh Gupta
Ravinder Singh Parihar
Dr. Chitra Natarajan
Dr. Kshipra Uke
Dr. Divya Balan
Jeetendra D. Soni
Dr. Muneer Illath
(A token amount to be collected from participants to cover the cost of conference kits and food during the conference).
Postgraduate Students and Research Scholars
INR 2000/- (US $ 30 only for registration
INR 2500/- (US $ 40) only for registration
Global Migration: The Dialectic of Nation and Trans-nation in Diasporic Geopolitics
Keynote Address by Ravindra K. Jain at the International Conference on Global Migration: Rethinking Skills, Knowledge and Culture, organised by GRFDT on November 26-27 November 2016.
Venue: India International Centre, New Delhi
I wish to delineate the geopolitical context of skills, knowledge and cultural transfers and exchanges in global migration. The salience of global migration and the diffusion as well as the organization of the exchange and transference of skills, knowledge and culture is evident in the range of contributions—themes and perspectives—to be presented in this conference. The papers deal with migration and development; multi-cultural locations; literary exegeses; interfaces, integration and conflicts; regional configurations; questions of identity; and diplomatic as well as policy issues.
The dialectic between transnational and the nation-state settings is at the heart of the geo-political frame in which our analyses and deliberations can be framed. Specifically, the debate is between the proponents of those who see global diasporic processes crossing nation-state boundaries in a sui generis manner and those—political scientists and nationalists in the main—who advocate, for reasons that they are able to enunciate logically, the return to the nation-state boundaries in a more or less ‘United Nations’ universe of discourse. I discern that historians and literary scholars—proponents of the humanities in the main—belong to the transnational camp and hard-nosed social scientists, especially those with a vision of political economy, subscribe to the nation-state persuasion. What are the relative merits and demerits of the two visions? And is there a justifiable complementarity between them as a compass for our deliberations? This is the only issue that I will broach in my address.
To undertake the task at hand, I analyze, in the words of Wimmer and Glick-Schiller (2002: 30), “how the concept of the nation-state has and still does influence past and current thinking in the social sciences, including our thinking about transnational migration”. Our authors discuss this topic critically in a universe of discourse designated as “methodological- nationalism” in the social sciences. Before coming to methodological nationalism, however, I would pin-point certain empirical instances where the nation-state framework looms large in our thinking about transnationalism and globalization.
Let me look at some of the topics that would be discussed in this conference. On a rough count, some seventy to eighty per cent of the papers are centrally located in the context of a nation-state (e.g., India, Uganda, Iran, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and the USA etc.) or in the international relations between these nations. Thus the papers discuss, for example, Bangladeshi immigrants in India, Gujarati migrants in the USA, Keralite and Punjabi migrants transnationally, the Rajasthanis in USA etc. In other words, either roots migration from geographical-cum-linguistic regions of a nation-state or emigrants, including refugees, between nation-states constitute the context of global migration and diaspora. Unless one examines the analytical framework of these contributions it would be difficult to say what proportion of these presentations is biased in the direction of what Wimmer and Glick-Schiller designate as “methodological nationalism”. This bias refers to those analyses which fall into the trap of a “container model” of the nation-state, hence reducing transnationalist phenomena to a literal relationship between and amongst nation-states. In the extant literature on Indian diaspora there are salutary examples where an awareness of such a trap and the side-stepping of literal internationalism are in evidence. Axel’s (2001) multi-sited ethnography of the Sikh diaspora, Eisenlohr’s (2007) analysis of Indian” ancestral culture” in a sui generis localized socio-economic dynamics in Mauritius, Hanson’s (2012) observations on in situ mediations, away from any necessary nexus with developments in contemporary India, among Indian diasporics in Durban, South Africa, and Willford’s (2006) interpretation of Tamil religiosity in Malaysia are instances where a reference of diasporic “ Indian” culture back to India in “real time” has been transcended in a transnationalist (rather than an internationalist) analytical frame. The latest academic contribution in this direction is Amrith’s (2013) environmentalist-cum-transnationalist interpretation of historical migrations across the Bay of Bengal, to which I will come again in detail a little later.
What is this “transnationalist” analytical frame? How has it evolved? What are some of its insights in contemporary works? Is there a danger of certain transnationalist analyses covertly falling into a biased “methodological internationalism” trap? How may one reformulate the discourse of global migration, diaspora and transnationalism from an anthropological vantage point? (In posing this last question, I have in mind analogically, the Wittgenstinian perspective (an anthropological way of doing Economics where you do not only “look” but “see”) on global migration.
The beginnings of a transnationalist perspective may be traced to a relatively politically aseptic cultural ecological viewpoint in human geography. An early example of its use is found in the concept of plantation as a “settlement institution”. To quote its founding father (Thompson 1986:2; see also Thompson 1957, 1959), “plantation becomes migration and the planting of people, and the place planted becomes a plantation”. The term “plantation” in the original sense had reference not to a landed estate but to the “whole process of migration and settlement... The early use of the term corresponded to the Dutch term Volk-Planting.”The earliest human component on a typical plantation, for example in Malaya, consisted of immigrants—planters, supervisors and labourers. The only indigenous factor was the tract of land they jointly worked and inhabited. It was the way in which these people incorporated their statuses and purposes into the land that gave rise to characteristic social relationships among them, The estate (plantation) became a stratified social grouping (see Jain 1970: xix).
In anthropology “the cultural ecological hypothesis” (Steward 1936) was formulated in the study of hunting bands that later germinated in the study of plantation and peasant communities in Puerto Rico (Steward et.al., 1956). It also formed the theoretical basis of Thompson’s idea of plantation as a settlement institution. The concept of cultural ecology proved seminal in that both the terms “culture” and ecology” subsequently found an inter-relationship in the integrated and interpretative studies of evolutionary human behaviour (see Geertz 1973; Fox 1975; Bateson 1987). In contemporary social science theorizing as well as in popular usage the term” ecosystem” designates the culture and environment of any organization, ranging from the civic and the local (e.g., a municipality) to the cosmopolitan and the trans- local (e.g., a multinational corporation: see Garsten 2003).
The methodological infusion of the conceptual vocabulary of the “nation” (nationality, nationalism, internationalism, etc.) into the cultural ecological hypothesis is of relatively recent vintage. One may legitimately claim its original usage to be transnational in the sense that its locational parameters then were unbounded by what has been discussed as the “container model” of the nation-state. This is precisely its methodological nexus where environmental history approaches (Amrith 2013) and of “continuous histories” (Subrahmaniyam 1997) converge with anthropological analyses of transnationalism ( e.g., Appadurai 1997). There is a difference, however, between the historians’ usages of the concept of culture and that of contemporary anthropologists. And a similar difference in usage pertains to the infusion of the nation-state context in anthropological texts and in certain political science writings.
Cultural ecology and transnationalism—a case study
Rather than review the whole gamut of transnationalist studies of global migration to bring out their focus on cultural ecology, let me take up Amrith’s study, Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants, (Harvard University Press, 2013). The environmentalist persuasion and, hence, ecological history is pronounced in this approach. In ecology, the sea (waters) assumes an important role. The ecological interplay between the sea-shores and the hinterlands (the littoral) is characterized by repeated human crossings of the ocean and the progressive reclaiming of lands beyond the sea-shores through cultivation and building cons truction. Nature and human endeavour are thus seen as global factors in migration and its consequences. The story of famines and fluctuations of natural factors in sea-routes (wind directions and storms) are built into the historical narrative. Ecological regions are thus conceptualized and reinvented in a novel way recalling Braudel’s studies of the Mediterranean, Subrahmaniyam’s of the Indian Ocean and earlier studies of the Bay of Bengal itself by historians like Chris Baker and others . In thus reconstructing the eco-history of the terrain, particularly of south and southeast Asia, Amrith subsumes , in a sense, the currents of colonialism and imperialism within cultural ecology. Based on such a perspective, the countries of south and southeast Asia in Amrith’s book—India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines—constitute a continuous region for a circulatory flow of ideas, goods, and people. Finally, up until the installation of the nation-state idea and its jural-political constraints following the period of the World Wars, the Bay of Bengal remained a cultural ecological region in the above sense. The aftermath of the wars saw the “loss”, through its partial eclipse into newly constituted nation-states, of the Bay of Bengal eco-region as an” imagined community.”
The ecological frame in the above redaction of cultural ecology may not be disputed (though there are sceptics who would want detailed scientific proofs for assertions like the “rising” of ocean waters (Amrith, Chapter 8) similar to doubts concerning climate change and global warming, but here I shall let it pass). But the anthropologist is within his disciplinary rights to interrogate its usage of the concept of culture. I begin with a clarification. Michael Herzfeld (2013: 110), writing about political- science culturalists, such as Samuel Huntington (1996), says, “The culturalists’ view is that you cannot understand a political process, especially in international relations, without taking culture into account. But what they actually take into account is ‘cultures’—finitely bounded entities that look far more like the creations of 19th century nationalist ideologues or early anthropologists than the fluid processes that today’s anthropologists usually study.” In a similar vein, the anthropologist Frederick Barth (1994) has written that his concept of culture is characterised as continuous rather than discontinuous; it is wrought by variation and flux; it is contested rather than being assumed to be homogenous; and, finally, though culture was seen mainly as a boundary-making mechanism (in relation to ethnic groups), its content was not altogether unimportant. With particular reference to the cartography of diaspora, Avatar Brah (1996: 234) defines culture comprehensively as “the play of signifying practices; the idiom in which social meaning is constituted, appropriated, contested and transformed; the space where the entanglement of subjectivity, identity and politics is performed. Culture is essentially process... (The) emphasis on process draws attention to the reiterative performance constitutive of that which is constructed as custom, tradition, or value.” (Author’s italics)
While speaking of cultural syncretism among Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists in the Bay of Bengal eco-region of south and southeast Asia, Amrith basically glosses over many aspects of the continuous and processual nature of culture, of contestations within the cultural flow (culture with a capital “C”) and veers close to a somewhat simplistic view of “live and let live” paradigm of coexistence among cultures especially in the pre World War era but continuing to this day. As to the content of multiple cultures in the region, Amrith confines his entire discourse of accommodation to religion and spirituality (sample the examples of local Christianity p. 179; local Hinduism p.280; local Islam and Buddhism also p. 280).
Cultural ecology and levels of politics
It is true that besides religion and spirituality Amrith is able to configure financial and trading exchanges among the diverse ethnic groups in the eco-region, but where is the political power equation in his cultural configuration? He does tackle this question also at the end of the book but, as we shall see, in a global context of environmentally defined geo-political scenario. There is, nevertheless, a more proximate context: that of the nation-state building process in diasporic situations of diverse locations where the power equations are played out. To return to the Bay of Bengal eco-region currently in the throes of country-wise nation-building processes, ethnic groups are mutually engaged in power games that can be analysed in Gramsci’s terms as “transformist hegemony” (Gramsci 1971; Williams 1989). To take the Malaysian example, each ethnic minority (e.g., the Chinese and the Indians) to speak nothing of the ethnic majority (the Malays as bumiputeras) are proud possessers of their cultural heritage. But the ethnic minorities in relation to the politically dominant ruling ethnic majority face a dilemma. If they adhere exclusively to their cultural moorings and behaviour, they are looked down upon by the dominant ethnic majority as a potential fifth column in the polity. Yet they are expected to make a contribution to the common patrimony of the nation-state controlled by the ruling majority. If, then, they proceed to homogenize with the culture of the majority, they suffer ridicule by others and in their own eyes as lackeys hanging on to the coat-tails of their alien superiors/oppressors. This, then, is the predicament of diasporic ethnic minorities in the nation-state building process and it lays behind many an inter-ethnic conflict. There is no allusion to this dilemma or similar contestations in Amrith’s account.
Here there is a double whammy, however. The nation-states of the Bay of Bengal eco-region with all their patterns of dominance and inter-ethnic conflicts are subordinate to yet bigger power-games in the Indian Ocean/South China Sea/the Pacific Ocean arena—those between the U.S. , China and India. Amrith is sensitive to this environmentally defined context while by-passing, as we have seen, the cultural politics of nation building processes in the eco-region. That our author’s sights are all focussed on the grand global vision of the U.S. administration is evidenced when he cites with approval and approbation the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement made in Chennai in July 2011 (Amrith 2013: 251). Hillary Clinton extolled the port city of Chennai to discuss India’s leadership in the region to its east not only in the historic past but even today. “Today the stretch of sea from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific contains the world’s most vibrant trade and energy routes, linking economies and driving growth”, she said. Amrith adds, “The Bay’s position as a stretch of sea from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific puts it once again at the heart of global history”. . Ironically, several parts of that very city of Chennai faced a grave threat of ecological disaster in August 2016!
The message loud and clear to the students of diaspora and transnationalism is that whether we stress ecology or political economy or both, we must ground global theories in empirical instances while avoiding the pitfalls not only of methodological nationalism but of an insidious methodological internationalism as well. (See for a timely warning in relation to freewheeling globalization analyses, Favell 2001) For transnationalist analysis to trump both methodological nationalism and internationalism, the human ecosystems—peoples and their environments, natural and man- made—as also the observers of these systems, would have to be conceived as moving targets subject to the vagaries of geo-politics.
To end on an anthropological note for research methodology to be adopted in the scenario sketched above, it would seem that sustained and long-term fieldwork in specific localities that are part of national and international arenas may provide an answer. What one anthropologist (Herzfeld 2013) describes as cultural and social intimacy of and with the informants may hold a clue to discommoding the obvious or self-evident truths publicised by the powers-that-be and echoed by the media. In so doing the social responsibility of the anthropologist- ethnographer would be “not so much to speak truth to power, as to speak doubt to truth”. He/she would then be raising questions about what increasingly powerful media present as self-evident truths.
Amrith, Sunil S 2013 Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
Appadurai, Arjun 1997 Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Delhi: Oxford University Press
Axel, Brian Keith 2001 The Nation’s Tortured Body: Violence, Representation, and the Formation of a Sikh ‘Diaspora’. Durham and London: Duke University Press
Barth, Fredrik 1994 Enduring and Emerging Issues in the Analysis of Ethnicity, in Hans Vermeulen and Cora Govers (eds.) The Anthropology of Ethnicity. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis, pp. 11-32
Bateson, Gregory 1987 Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Northvale: Jason Aronson
Brah, A. 1996 Cartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities. London and New York: Routledge
Eisenlohr, Patrick 2007 Little India: Diaspora, Time, and Ethno Linguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius. Berkeley: University of California Press
Favell, A. 2001 Migration, mobility and globaloney: metaphors and rhetoric in the sociology of globalization, Global Networks 1(4): 389-398
Fox, Robin 1975 Encounter with Anthropology. London: Peregrine Books
Garsten, Christina 2003 The cosmopolitan organization: an essay on corporate accountability, Global Networks 3 (3): 355-370
Geertz, Clifford 1973 The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic Books
Gramsci, A. 1971 Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. New York: International
Hansen, T.B. 2012 Melancholia of Freedom: Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press
Herzfeld, Michael 2013 Doubting and Intimacy: Ethnography and the Discommoding of the Obvious, in K.L. Sharma and Renuka Singh (eds.) Dual Identity: Indian Diaspora and Other Essays. New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan, pp, 92-121
Huntington, S.P. 1996 The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. New York: Simon and Schuster
Jain, R.K. 1970 South Indians on the Plantation Frontier in Malaya. New Haven and London: Yale University Press
Steward, J.H. 1936 The Economic and Social Basis of Primitive Bands, in Essays in Anthropology Presented to A.L. Kroeber. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 331-50
Steward, J.H. et. al 1956 The People of Puerto Rico. Urbana: University of Illinois Press
Subrahmanyam, Sanjay 1997 Connected histories: notes towards a reconfiguration of early modern Eurasia, Modern Asian Studies 31(3): 745
Thompson, E.T. 1957 The Plantation Cycle and problems of Typology, in V. Rubin (ed.) Caribbean Studies: A Symposium, Jamaica and New York. Pp. 29-33
Thompson, E.T. 1959 The plantation as a social system, in Plantation Systems of the New World. Washington: Pan American Union, pp. 26-37
Thompson, E.T. 1986 Introduction: the plantation a worldwide institution, in Sue Eakin and John Traver (eds.) Plantations Around the World. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, pp. 1-8
Willford, Andrew 2006 Cage of Freedom: Tamil Identity and the Ethnic Fetish in Malaysia. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
Wimmer, A. And N. Glick Schiller 2002 Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-state building, migration and the social sciences, Global Networks 2(4): 301-334
Williams, B.F. 1989 A class act: Anthropology and the Race to Nation Across Ethnic Terrain, Annual Review of Anthropology 18: 401-444
Ravindra K. Jain was trained in anthropology and sociology at Lucknow University (M.A. 1958) and the Australian National University, Canberra, (Ph.D. 1966). After completing his doctoral studies on South Indian plantation workers in Malaysia he was appointed University Lecturer in the Social Anthropology of South Asia and Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford University, U.K. (1966-74). He taught social anthropology and sociology as Professor and Dean, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi (1975-2002). He has held research and teaching assignments at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia; the University of the West Indies, Trinidad; the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa; the Australian National University, Canberra; Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor; the Chinese University of Hong Kong; the University of Kwazulu Natal, Durban, South Africa; and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Mauritius. An authority on Indian Diaspora, he is the author of numerous books, research articles and reviews over fifty years, including, most recently, Nation, Diaspora, Trans-Nation: Reflections from India (Routledge, 2010) and The Making of a Museum: Personal Recollections (Aakar, 2013).
Prof. Jain was the T.H.B. Symons Fellow in Commonwealth Studies, Emeritus Fellow of the University Grants Commission, National Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and Tagore National Fellow of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. In 2008, he was elected Chairman of the Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists, and in 2009 his book, Indian Transmigrants: Malaysian and Comparative Essays , was adjudged as the best contribution for the prestigious G.S. Ghurye Award. In December 2013, he received the Life Time Achievement Award of the Indian Sociological Society. A festschrift in his honour is edited by K.L. Sharma nd Renuka Singh, Dual Identity: Indian Diaspora and Other Essays (Orient Blackswan, 2013). Currently he is on the editorial board of Global Networks, South Asian Diaspora, Asian Anthropology, The Eastern Anthropologist, and The Indian Journal of Anthropology.
Chief Guest Address at Valedictory Session
Indian Diaspora in Kuwait
John Mathew Chandy John, Entrepreneur, Author and Philanthropist
Presented at International Conference on “Global Migration: Rethinking Skills, Knowledge and Culture”, 26-27 November 2016, Venue- India International Centre Annexe, New Delhi
Indian diaspora is huge running in to tens of millions, spread across the length and breadth of the entire planet earth. A small but unique and significant segment of Indian diaspora, consisting of a million people in Kuwait is the topic selected. Kuwait, though tiny in size is one of the richest nations in the world. The only national income of the country is oil which was formed deepbeneath the surface of earth millions of years ago during the physical and chemical evolution of the planet. Mother earth kept the secret of this immense wealth buried under the desert till early decades of 20th century, then the Imperialist powers continued to keep the secret as the whole world was at war and they did not want the enemies to put their hand on the valuable energy reserve. The secret was not revealed to the world till after the completion of the mega genocide, which we all call as the second Great War. The outflow of the black gold and inflow of yellow gold in to Kuwait commenced immediately after. The price of the liquid black gold peaked from 5 cents in 1950s to almost a dollar a liter in 2014.Oil exporting Gulf Arab states were inundated with petro dollars beyond the wildest imagination of any economist.
Put all the luxuries and extravaganzas of Hollywood, Bollywood, London, Paris, New York and Tokyo in a bowl, mix it thoroughly, add copious quantities of fantasies from 1000 and one nights, flavour it with expensive Bakhour chips from theHimalayas and let the voluptuous girls around the world serve it on a solid gold plate, a research scholar can enjoy the rich taste of the life style of Arabs living in the metropolises of GCC countries. The streets and highways are buzzing with the latest models of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maserati’s, BMWs, Mercedes’s and Rolls Royce’s. The rich and elite of these cities do not live in houses but palaces; they maintain a retinue of servants to look after their needs, whims and fancies; their kitchens are run by five star Chefs and their shopping trips are to the most expensive designer boutiques in Paris or Milano or New York. They travel only in first class or private jets and stay only in the most luxurious hotels in mega cities. If this is the story of rich and elite in the Gulf Arab States, the ordinary citizens are really extraordinary, when compared to the working class around the world; almost everything including food, electricity, water and fuel are heavily subsidized, free education at the universities of their choice, free medical aid including treatment abroad in countries like USA, UK or Europe. They even get financial support to marry and settle down. Employment and lifelong pension as well asa fat unemployment allowance are the birthright of all Kuwaitis. Black Gold and a multinational diaspora created an Utopia for Kuwaitis.
Who are the builders of this Utopia? Dr.A.K.Pasha of JNU stated in his book that “To a large extent Kuwait is a British creation. In fact it is a byproduct of Imperialism in the Gulf”. The imperialist companies British Petroleum and Gulf Oil Corporation of U.S.A together with the Government of Kuwait established a company by the name Kuwait Oil Company which started the exploration, production and export of crude oil from the desert of Kuwait after theSecond World War. Kuwait was a protectorate of British Empire at that time and Kuwait’s population in 1946 was 100,000 and in 1950 it crept up to 150,000 as per the available statistics. Able-bodied men available to work, leaving women and children out, were only a handful and most of them were traders travelling between India, Kuwait and Syria and others were sea farers. They were hardly literate; in short there were no local citizens to carryout the harsh and most demanding work of installing oil drilling rigs, constructing oil storage tanks and laying pipelines to transport oil from the well head to storage tanks and from the storage tanks to the ships. BP took the responsibility of manning the operation by importing His Majesty’s subjects from his colony- India. The Indian expatriates along with a large number of expatriates from other countries had to face very harsh living conditions in the desert; drinking water was brought from Basra in Iraq using donkeys and camels and hence even taking bath was a luxury they afforded rarely. They were living in tents which were constantly at the mercy of sand storms and desert winds; after a long day’s work when they returned to their tents their measly belongings were buried in sand. In summer months, ambient temperature reached 52degrees in shade and in direct sunlight it exceeded 80 degrees. Winter nights were biting cold at 4 or 5 degrees. One may wonder why a large number of Indians opted to work in the harsh ambience of Kuwait. Post second world war conditions in India was deplorable; the colonial masters depleted Indian resources; food, materials and money was in absolute scarcity, unemployment was rampant and majority of Indians were in abject poverty. India was still under the cruel boots of Feudalism. Foreign countries proved to be the promised Canaan for the famine infested Indians.
Indian Migration to Kuwait
Migration to Kuwait from India to work as guest workers continued in heaps and bounds and it has reached almost a million within seven decades and still counting. In earlier period of migration except for a small percentage of professionals others were nicknamed as ABCs-Ayah-Butler-Clerk. The hue and composition of Indian diaspora slowly changed over the last few decades. At present most of the guest workers coming from India are hard core professionals- engineers, medical doctors, graduate nurses, chemists, accountants, managers, lawyers and specialists of every walk of modern professions. Though Kuwaiti citizens nurture a general dislike towards guest workers, Indians are respected and loved by the Kuwaitis for their hard work and loyalty.
Indian diaspora in Kuwait played a very significant role in converting the barren desert in to a modern luxurious welfare state; let it be exploration, production, marketing and transportation of crude oil; or filling the city’s skyline with skyscrapers; or designing, building and operating huge world class hospitals; or constructing and operating huge power stations to produce a total output of 12,000 MW and millions of cubic meters of potable water distilled from sea water or constructing and operating some of the largest oil refineries and petrochemical complexes or any similar activities. In service sector the presence of Indian diaspora is outstanding; smiling polite faces of Indians can be seen in Malayalee restaurants as well as in the Board room of a multimillion dollars turnover companies; the only difference is the restaurant waiter’s attire will be a Chinese made pants and tee shirt while the company director will be in a French made Armani 5 piece suite. Lo and behold; the Indian diaspora in Kuwait remitted in the financial year of 2014/15 a whopping sum of $2950 million which is a handsome 4.5 % of the total foreign remittance India received during the year!
There are many success stories of Indian entrepreneurs in Kuwait who used the investor friendly conditions such as easy bank finance, minimal bureaucracy, lack of taxation, lack of labour strikes and favorable climatic conditions. They became billionaires and multimillionaires during a span of couple of decades. House of Jashanmal is one of those success stories. The present owner Mr.Tony Jashanmal’s grandfather started a small business in Iraq during the First World War and in 1940s his son Mr. Narayan Jashanmal transplanted the business in the soil of Kuwait and now it is a large chain of stores operating in all the Gulf countries and the owner is a billionaire according to relevant press reports. During Second World War a Punjabi gentleman –Om Prakash-started a restaurant for Italian prisoners of war and after the war he came to Kuwait from Iraq. He realised that the newborn state needs a reliable supply of uniforms for her soldiers, policemen, medical staff and school students and ventured in to starting a tailoring business. Today it is a prestigious large business and is managed by his sons. If these are the war time startup there are hundreds of new startups. A Malayalee gentleman started a rent-a-car company in mid-eighties and now the company operates a fleet of 5,000 cars supported with service workshops. The huge profits generated by such entrepreneurs are channeled in to India for investment in their own ventures such as hotels, car dealerships, manufacturing units and trading companies.
When Saddam Husain of Iraq who posthumously joined the array of Hitler, Mussolini and Idi Amin, invaded Kuwait in 1990, rendered 2 million people homeless, 170,000 of them were Indian guest workers who were contributing in a big way in foreign direct remittance to India. Government of India’s attitude towards those hapless citizens was of apathy and indifference. Selling even their underclothes they had to earn some money to buy their way back to India; while Government of India extended only meager namesake assistance for the thousands who supported Indian economy with their sweat in the desert of Kuwait. The wound inflicted by the Government at that crucial period is still hurting the survivors like me. Government of India’s attitude towards Indian diaspora in Gulf countries is still in deplorable stage.
Challenges to Indian Diaspora
Universal suffrage is the birthright of all citizens including Indian Diaspora but it was denied to them till very recently and now it is granted to them which is a cruel joke. A humble guest worker earning meager wages in foreign country must travel all the way to his village and go through the cumbersome bureaucratic procedures to get him registered as a bonafide voter and further on the polling day he must come again from wherever he is, to exercise his franchise. 99.95% of the Indian diaspora worldwide who are eligible to exercise their franchise cannot afford this luxury. Government of India is treating the Indian Diaspora with contempt and apathy who is filling the foreign exchange coffers of India with dollars, who saved the honour of India in1991. Foreign exchange reserves of the Government got reduced to such an extent in 1990 that India could barely finance three weeks’ worth of imports which lead the Government to airlift national gold reserves as a pledge to IMF in exchange of a loan. Indian diaspora opened their valets and funded the Government to retrieve the pledge. In spite of such many contributions, voting rights for them is not facilitated in this era of super cheap IT facilities. This is the height of ingratitude by a Government to its citizens.
From a handful of thousands of Indian guest workers in the 40s of the last century today the number has swelled to 900,000 and counting. Some 30,000 illegal Indians are also living in Kuwait constantly fearing of getting arrested at any time; in spite of the efforts of Indian Embassy and the Government of Kuwait the problem persists. Even breaking the laws they want to stay back in Kuwait. The case is repeated in all the wealthy countries as the so called third world nationals are escaping their countries and attempting to migrate to greener pastures. Migrants are breaking the borders created by imperialist and feudal powers of yester centuries. Border less one world may not be a pipe dream anymore.
Indian diaspora in Kuwait created a mini India in Kuwait; over 100 Indian associations, 20 Indian schools, several Indian hospitals, hundreds of small and medium business houses, several large companies partially owned and fully managed by Indians and an array of other activities managed by Indians make a visitor to Kuwait wonder whether they are in India. Population ratio wise there is almost one Indian to one Kuwaiti and soon it will tilt in favour of Indians. Once domestic servants were the majority of Indians but now they are a minority. The decline in oil prices and the resultant austerity measures being adopted by the Government is restricting the migration of foreigners to Kuwait, but it is going to several years if not decades such policies can bear fruit. Kuwait for decades to come will have to depend on foreign manpower to keep the country going and Indians will be an important constituent of expatriates. The government is in the process of diversifying the economy to be not entirely dependent on oil. New business opportunities will emerge giving opportunities for Indian business houses to invest in Kuwait. With 100% reliable power and water supply, excellent roads and highways network, very efficient port facilities, good public health care systems, strict adherence to law and order and an investor friendly government Kuwait is emerging as an investment destination and Kuwait will maintain its position as a migration destination. All the rich countries will remain as migration destinations and the diaspora population will swell and swell till all the borders are broken down and the whole earth will become a free space where human beings can travel and live at will. Human race will pay a heavy price to achieve that goal. This year alone more than 4000 human beings were drowned in the Mediterranean while they were trying to migrate from North African borders to European borders and the story is continuing.
John Mathew Chandy John is an Author, Activist, Social Worker, Entrepreneur, Engineer, Philanthropist, Currently active in Organisations in Kuwait; one engaged in raising funds for the needy in India and the other engaged in teaching Malayalam to school children. Besides, he Published three Malayalam books; two on Evolution and the third a novel. Published one novel in English. Currently working on an English novel and a Malayalam novel. Published a large website with audio to teach Malayalam language. Qualified as a Chemical Engineer in 1960 with eligibility to earn CSIR scholarship. Worked in FACT in Kerala till July 1962 and migrated to Kuwait to work in state owned Petrochemical Industries. Resigned in 1981 and started an Engineering and Contracting Company in partnership with Kuwaiti citizens. Presently serving the same company as the Deputy Chairman. The company grew in to a major company employing 4000 people. Started Malayalam Industries Ltd in Kochi, Kerala in 1984, and the company is engaged in Hospitality, Engineering and Trading. Started The Medical Engineering company in Kuwait in 2014 and the company is engaged in Equipping hospitals. Started MIL Enertech Engineers in 2016 at Kochi in association with two major Engineering companies in Kuwait who are investing in India. The company is engaged in Engineering Design and Technologies.
Prof. Vijay Agnew, Chair
Tansri Prof. T. Marimuthu
Prof. Brij Maharaj
Dr. Melissa Tandiwe Myambo
Dr. Sandhya Rao Mehta
Dr. José de Jesús López Almejo
Vijay Agnew is a professor of Social Science at York University and the former director of the Center for Feminist Research. She has written extensively on immigrant women in Canada, Race and Racism, and the South Asian Diaspora. Some of her publications are: Racialized Migrant Women in Canada. Edited. (University of Toronto Press, 2009); Interrogating Race and Racism. Edited. (University of Toronto Press, 2007); Diaspora, Memory and Identity: A Search for Home. Edited. (University of Toronto Press, 2005);Where I Come From (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2003; In Search of a Safe Place (University of Toronto Press, 1998) and Resisting Discrimination (University of Toronto Press, 1996).
Tan Sri Professor Dr. T. Marimuthu is now an Adjunct Professor at the School of Education and Cognitive Sciences, Asia e-University, Kuala Lumpur. He was formerly the Chairman of Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology University in Kedah, Malaysia. Professor Marimuthu obtained his BA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Malaya and his MEd and PhD from the University of Manchester, England. He taught Sociology of Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur from 1970 till 1990. During this period Tan Sri has served as the Deputy Dean of the Faculty, Head of the Department of Social Foundations, member of the University Senate and Professor of Social Psychology of Education. As a Professor at the University of Malaya, he supervised twenty over Med and PhD candidates successfully. Tan Sri Prof was also very active in research and publications initiating and heading several research projects in such topics as private tuition, national integration, student development in universities, access and equity in higher education and student learning orientations. Tan Sri Marimuthu was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University, California and the University of Chicago, USA and has been a consultant to various international organisations such as UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank on educational and parliamentary matters. He is the author of several books and articles in the field of sociology of education. Tan Sri has also served as a General Education Specialist for UNESCO – UNDP sponsored Education Sector Study in the Union of Myanmar (Burma) (1990-1993); and Consultant to National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) on the establishment of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) South Africa (October, 1996). In 1990, Tan Sri entered politics and became the Member of Parliament for Teluk Kemang in Negeri Sembilan between 1990 till 1995. During this period, he was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Malaysia. Tan Sri Marimuthu was then appointed to the Senate, holding office from 1996 to 2002, and serving as the Chairman of the International Relations committee of the Malaysian Parliament and as President of the Senators Club. Tan Sri Prof has been bestowed with several honors and awards for his distinguished social and political services.
Brij Maharaj is a senior professor of geographer at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. He has received widespread recognition for his research on urban politics, segregation, local economic development, xenophobia and human rights, migration and diasporas, religion, philanthropy and development, and has published over 140 scholarly papers in renowned journals such as Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, Political Geography, Urban Geography, Antipode, Polity and Space, Geoforum, Migration and Development, Local Economy, and GeoJournal, as well as five co-edited book collections. In October 1998 he was elected Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers “in recognition of outstanding scholarship in the field of Geography”. He has also served on the Public Policy (Vice-Chair 2004-2008) and Human Mobility Commissions of the International Geography Union (IGU).He is chairperson of South African National Committee of the IGU. In November 2005 he was the Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa. He is co-editor of the South African Geographical Journal (Routledge).He was alsoConsulting Editor of the Journal of Immigration and Refugee Studies. He has served on the editorial boards of Geoforum, Antipode,Indian Ocean Survey, African Geographical Review,Migration and Development, andSouth Asian Diaspora. He is a regular media commentator on topical issues as part of his commitment to public intellectualism.
Melissa Tandiwe Myambo is a Research Associate at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and a Fulbright-Nehru Professional and Academic Excellence Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. She holds a PhD from New York University and from 2013 to 2015, she was a visiting assistant professor and Mellon postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Los Angeles in the department of comparative literature and the international development studies program. Her research analyzes contemporary and colonial frontier migration, the move of people, ideas and capital from a “developed” to a “developing” economy. Within frontier migration 2.0, she also focuses on frontier heritage migrants – those of the African and Asian diasporas who are leaving Euro-America for their ancestral ethnic homelands in today’s rapidly-shifting global cultural economy.
Sandhya Rao Mehta is presently in the Department of English Language and Literature, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. Her research interests include literature of the Indian diaspora and women of the diaspora. She is the editor of an anthology Exploring Gender in the Literature of the Indian Diaspora and co-editor of Language Studies: Stretching the Boundaries, both published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She has published widely on the Indian diaspora, particularly in the Arabian Gulf and is presently working on a book on the Indian community in Oman.
José de Jesús López Almejo is a Faculty of Economics and International Relations at Autonomous University of Baja California, Campus Tijuana, Mexico. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco (Mexico). He did his Doctor of Philosophy in Social Science at the University of Guadalajara (2015). Title of the dissertation: “The influence from the bottom up: The Lobbying of States and Diasporas in The United States of North America”. Some of his research interests include, Understanding the bottom up approaches; Theory of International Relations (constructivism); Israel-Palestine Conflict; Impact of War on Diasporic Identity; and The Lobbying of States and Diasporas in U.S. His current research is focused on exploring the Mexican Diaspora Lobbying in U.S. as a factor of the bilateral relationship between both countries.
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