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    Regional, youth Farmleighs to follow Global Irish Economic Forum

    By Noreen Bowden | March 9, 2010

    Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin has released the “Progress Report on Follow-up to The Global Irish Economic Forum”. The report outlines a number of initiatives that have been undertaken following the Global Irish Economic Forum, which was held at Farmleigh in September 2009.  The forum had two aims: first, to explore how the Irish abroad could contribute to economic recovery, and second, to examine ways in which Ireland and its global community could develop a more strategic relationship with each other.

    While the Forum has in the past few months occasionally been criticised in the media as a talking shop, it’s clear the government is trying to demonstrate the impact of the event on its economic strategy. The report include specific projects in the areas of diaspora engagement,  economic policy, culture, innovation, tourism, greentech, international financial services, and agriculture and food. Among the ideas on diaspora engagement are:

    • Global Irish Network – This network of 300 people in 37 countries was launched and held its first meeting on 4 February. The network is intended to serve as a resource for the Government in promoting Ireland’s economic, cultural and tourism messages in key markets.
    • Regional “Farmleighs” – Meetings in a number of countries with visiting members will take place in 2010.
    • Supporting business and technology networks – The Government has funded the Irish Technology Leadership Group in Silicon Valley with $251,000; Craig Barrett has been appointed the new chair of the ITLG. An Irish Innovation Centre is due to open in California “in the first quarter of 2010”.
    • Farmleigh Overseas Graduate Programme – The Government is working to establish a programme to facilitate up to 500 graduate placesments abroad; the initial focus will be in Asia.
    • Youth Forum for the Global Irish – The DFA is working with the Ireland Funds to convene a Forum in June 2010 for 100 younger members of the global Irish community.
    • Gateway Ireland – John McColgan of Riverdance is moving this private-sector initiative forward, aimed at creating “a new high-quality Irish portal website”.
    • Diaspora Bond – The Government is examining the feasiblity of extending the National Solidarity Bond, announced in Budget 2010, to non-Irish residents.
    • Local Diaspora Strategies – Each Irish embassy is producing a strategy aimed at supporting and enhancing engagement with the local Irish community.

    There are more proposals under the aforementioned other subheadings.  Some of the ideas that are under development include:

    • The New Irish centre in New York, toward which the Irish government has pledged 2.3 million euro
    • A new performing arts university, which is in the exploratory phase
    • Efforts to maximise the tourism potential of online access to genealogy records
    • A new strategy for Asia and emerging markets
    • The development of “Food and Drink Diaspora” network by Bord Bia
    • The maintenance of investment in research and development in Budget 2010
    • The development of proposals by the Innovation Task Force to address issues raised at Farmleigh.

    As someone who’s been studying Ireland’s engagement with its diaspora for years, it’s clear to me that we’ve entered a new era in our relationship with the Irish abroad.

    Some of these ideas might be a hard sell (diaspora bonds, anyone?), but even more important than the new initiatives are the enhanced desire for engagement by the Irish government.  Recent years have seen extraordinary changes and an increasingly sophisticated relationship developing between Ireland and our diaspora. Part of this has been influenced by changing trends in global diaspora strategies, much of it by Ireland’s peculiar circumstances. It will be exciting to see how this relationship grows, and particularly how the Irish diaspora will respond to this increasing outreach.

    See the entire report at the GlobalIrishForum website.

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    Topics: Latest News | 2 Comments »

    2 Responses to “Regional, youth Farmleighs to follow Global Irish Economic Forum”

    1. Howard Says:
      April 19th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Any update on when the Diaspora youth forum will be held?

    2. Noreen Bowden Says:
      April 26th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Howard – it doesn’t seem to have really been announced yet but I saw a news article that said it would be this summer.