Diaspora and transnationalism represent the human face of globalization. There has been significant scholarship on the subject both at empirical and theoretical levels. More recently, there has also been an emerging interest in the associated policy implications amongst various institutions, governments and development organizations. However, there have been very few attempts to synergise, connect and interlink these diaspora studies with contemporary and emerging challenges so as to further enrich comparative research and draw lessons for policy making. Today Diasporic communities are interacting with increasingly complex and volatile global socioeconomic and political systems. This poses major challenges to the existing theoretical frameworks and methodologies to understand explain and analyse diasporic issues. Moreover, disciplinary, institutional and national boundaries have often limited our endeavour to develop a holistic understanding of such complex issues.

Our continued interaction with global experts on Diaspora encouraged us to create an international platform to facilitate, cooperate, collaborate and engage with scholars, diasporic communities, development organizations, businesses and governments worldwide. This is why the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) was conceived and formally established in 2012. Though launched and based in India, GRFDT’s vision, objective and activities are global in nature. GRFDT is a platform to synergise and make use of the existing global intellectual, cultural and institutional expertise. In addition, the emphasis is on bridging the limitations posed by the so called boundaries.

GRFDT has started Roots and Routes, a monthly Newsletter, in order to reach out to the researchers and policy makers working on the issues of diaspora and transnationalism.

i. To generate ideas through discussions, seminars, conferences, etc. on various issues related to Diaspora and Transnationalism.

ii. To engage in and promote interdisciplinary research on Diaspora and Transnationalism.

iii. To organize advanced level training in research and undertake evaluations in Diaspora and Transnationalism.

iv. To publish periodically and/or occasionally journals, books, working papers, newsletters and policy briefs and maintain reference library and online archives, etc.

v. To promote dialogue among academicians, policy makers, industry & civil society on various emerging issues relating to Diaspora & Transnationalism.

vi. To compile and disseminate ethical issues related to research and policy on Diaspora and Transnationalism.

vii. To create and maintain a database of professionals, academicians and policy makers and facilitate research and studies on Diaspora and Transnationalism.

viii. To collaborate and work with public and private institutions and organisations focusing on issues related to Diaspora and transnationalism.

ix. Any other activity the society may identify in future that is relevant and related to Diaspora and Transnationalism.


 

Scholar's Openion about GRFDT

I am very happy that the newly formed GRFDT has launched its newsletter Roots and Routes. The twin words in its title remind us of the lives and works of two great Indians-- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi the centenary for whose Hind Swaraj we celebrated earlier in this millennium and Rabindranath Tagore whose 150th birth anniversary we are celebrating now. They are the fitting icons for youth in our era of extensive travel and transnationalism to which your research forum is dedicated. Please accept my choicest best wishes for your endeavor!

-Prof. Ravindra K. Jain, Tagore National Fellow for Cultural Research, India.

 

I heartily welcome the inaugural issue of the newsletter “Roots and Routes” and offer my wishes aspired to successfully achieve a global outreach for it. The publication of this newsletter is GRFDT’s absolutely timely endeavor. While the issues of Diaspora and Transnationalism gradually come under the spotlight of international politics and gain significance from all-encompassing perspective of development, the need for enhanced research in those areas translated into policy actions becomes apparent.

- Dr. Armen Baibourtian,  Senior Adviser to the UN Resident Coordnator in Armenia. 

 

"I strongly encourage this initiative and hope that it will help to strengthen the capacity of the Diaspora-oriented, both academics and policymakers at international level by providing with the essential knowledge and tools to develop practical policies to maximise the contribution of Diasporas to the development of their respective home countries. I am very proud to have been invited to join this new community of Diasporas scholars and policy-makers".

 - Professor Brij Maharaj, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

 

Scientific diasporas should be recognised as agents for development and international cooperation. To boost their participation in helping reducing the unequal disparities between the North and the South adequate policies should be informed by reliable research findings and supported by evidence based analysis. The creation of the GRFDT including both academic and policy voices promises to be an ideal exchange platform that will certainly contribute to leverage diasporas' knowledge for home country development.

- Dr. Gabriela Tejada, Scientific Researcher, EPFL, Switzerland.

 

Congratulations on the establishment of the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT). This is a very relevant, timely and appropriate platform for scholarly and intellectual engagement on the multidimensional facets of diaspora. Significantly, the GRFDT initiative is driven by a group of young scholars – the academic leaders of tomorrow.

-Latefa Narrriman Guemar, Centre for Migration Policy Research, Swansea University, U.K .

 

We, in the Caribbean, welcome the initiative taken by Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT). The Newsletter Roots and Routes will definitely promote synergy between knowledge and practice. Indeed, the Caribbean has created its very own large, highly educated diaspora pool that represents a potential source of engagement for economic development. This is particularly important because small, open economies in the Caribbean require additional resources to help accelerate economic growth, reduce poverty and meet other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Inevitably, the Caribbean must consider appropriate modalities to engage its Diaspora, including innovative financing solutions, and "Brain Gain" programs.

-Mr. Jwala Rambarran, Chairman, NIHERST, Trinidad and Tobago.

 

The expansion of global knowledge systems has in recent years led to an increased sharing of knowledge through global cyber interconnectivity. Cross-border transmigration is one major route through which knowledge has spread. This boundless international sharing of expertise and knowledge across nationalities needs to be properly channelled through proactive global policy frameworks and specific interventions and it is in this spirit that I heartily welcome the birth of “Routes and Roots” as it is poised to effectively suggest means through which this may be accomplished.

-Dr. Francis Matambirofa, Director, African Languages Research Institute, University of Zimbabwe, Harare.

 

GRFDT is a phenomenal initiative that explores concepts related to the Diaspora and transnationalism in modern academic and political discourses.  Practitioners must move beyond traditional discourses on brain drain and brain gain to an active discussion on brain circulation as an effective tool to re-engage the Diaspora in meaningful ways.   Through the newsletter “Roots and Routes” a reformulation of citizenship, migration, and development policies will be examined in the constructive engagement of the Diaspora.

Dr. Anjali Sahay, Department of Political, Legal, and International Studies, Gannon University, Pennsylvania, USA

 

I am happy to learn that “Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism” is bringing out a monthly Newsletter “Roots and Routes”. Diaspora Studies is emerging as a major interdisciplinary programme in the academic field. According to the Institute of Migration Studies more than two hundred million migrant workers are presently in working various countries of  the world. This is an important aspect of Globalization which needs to be thoroughly studied. Diaspora has major socio- economic and socio- political implications both for sending and host societies. It has impact on Foreign Policy, Economic Development and National Security. All countries with sizeable overseas communities must thoroughly study this subject to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. The Newsletter will play a useful role in this regard.

- Amb. J C Sharma, Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India

 

I am immensely delighted to learn that a forum-namely the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism (GRFDT) has now been established. It is going to be a consortium of academics dealing with the cutting-edge research on diaspora issues. Given the phenomenal growth of diaspora engagement across the globe, such a move is highly commendable. This will undoubtedly facilitate another platform that will bring together reputed experts and the emerging scholars in the field and contribute towards their enriched interaction. I congratulate the architects behind such a great move and am confident that their stupendous efforts to this end will pay-off all of us with good dividends. I wish this forum a staggering success.        

- Dr. Md. Salahuddin, Asst Professor, Southeast University, Bangladesh

 

Congratulations on the establishment of the Global Research Forum on Diaspora and Transnationalism in India. Hopefully, GRFDT will directly tackle the issues related to diaspora and transnationalism and seeks to identify policy options that might contribute to the development of broad and coherent strategies to better match demand for diaspora with supply in orderly ways. I do believe that GRFDT will be shaped as the largest such group focusing specifically on the issues related to diaspora and transnationalism in the near future.

- Prof. Guofu Liu, Law School, Beijing Institute of Technology, China

 

In my opinion GRFDT is a laudable and commendable adventure. This is because it will further create and disseminate useful knowledge regarding Diaspora and activities relating to it, which will foster linkage between home and resident countries.  This will further strengthen investment and development opportunities.

- Dr Evans Osabuohien , Dept. of Economics & Development Studies, Covenant , University, Ota, Nigeria

 

I am pleased to know that you have organized such a consortium focusing on the issues of diaspora and globalization. I am happy to be part of it. Globalization is making the transfer of goods and their producers one of its distinctive features and it is high time that a forum like GRFDT takes root in India. India with its growing diaspora  is well placed to launch such an enterprise and I will be happy to do my bit to make it successful.

-Dr. Annapurna Pandey, Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

 

The link between diaspora and transnationalism and development now figures substantially on the international development cooperation agenda. Developing a newsletter program with a solid audience will, therefore, prove to be a very an important ‘knowledge asset’ for GRFDT. I am sure Roots and Routes will deliver specific and current information that will help its members-readers with current advances in the field and generate future research issues. It will provide the unique experience of getting to know your fellow researchers, stakeholders, policy makers.  

- Prof. K M Baharul Islam, Chairman & CEO, South Asia Development Gateway

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