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    Scotland’s Homecoming reaches peak with Gathering, Diaspora Forum

    By Noreen Bowden | July 8, 2009

    Scotland will welcome 8,000 members of its diaspora later this month for “The Gathering”,  the highlight of its Homecoming Scotland year. In Edinburgh on the weekend of July 23-25, there will be a gathering of 130 clans, a Highland Games festival, and a spectacular clan pageant called “Aisling’s Children”.

    The Scotsman newspaper reports that cynics may scoff, but cites the rewards of  Ireland’s cultivation of its diasporic links:

    For political and business leaders who want to see the country thrive, the bond between Scotland and its diaspora is not just culturally significant. As Ireland has demonstrated, properly fostered, the emotional ties could reap dividends for all involved. Over the last decade or so, the Irish government has explored ways in which the country can tap into the economic, intellectual and social bounty of its ex-pat community. One particularly successful initiative is the Irish Technology Leadership Group, which is comprised of Irish and Irish-Americans in senior positions in Silicon Valley willing to invest in Irish companies.

    There will also be a debate at the Scottish Diaspora Forum, open to the public, which will feature Scottish politicians, journalists, academics, and business people discussing the role of the diaspora in Scotland’s future. There will be a panel debate on whether the Scottish diaspora has a critical role to play in any potential new Scottish enlightenment. There will also be a “Dragon’s Glen” event, where several pitchers try to sell a panel ideas which would bring Scotland’s resident population of five million people together with its diaspora of 40 million people.

    Edited to add:

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