Episode 12: How to engage diasporas in humanitarian assistance


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Welcome to the Migration & Diaspora Podcast with me your host, Loksan Harley. Today I'm joined by Dr Daniela Villacres to talk about the fascinating topic of diaspora engagement in humanitarianism.

Daniela specialises on diaspora, remittances, and civic engagement mechanisms in the context of both international development and humanitarian assistance. Daniela has worked on these topics with governments, international organisations, non-profits, and research institutions. She has provided technical assistance on the behalf of the International Organization for Migration on mainstreaming diaspora engagement across multiple sectors, such as climate-induced displacement; and worked with the World Bank to reduce the cost of sending remittances. Throughout her career, Daniela has collaborated extensively with diaspora groups, prioritising the creation of policies and programmes which empower and elevate diaspora voices. Daniela holds a BA from Emory University, an MPhil from the University of Oxford, and a PhD from Brown University.

I've known Daniela for a few years now and while I've long known her for her excellent work on migration and development, she is rapidly becoming one of the authorities on the topic of diaspora humanitarianism – or how diasporas' engage in humanitarian responses. It's a topic that's increasingly been popping up in my work on diaspora engagement, particularly since it was spotlighted at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. So in this conversation, where I honestly forgot at times that I was recording a podcast episode and not just having an engaging chat with a good friend, we talk about how diasporas respond to humanitarian crises, how their efforts are supported and coordinated (or perhaps not sufficiently coordinated) with the response actions of other humanitarian organisations, and the principles that can ensure effective diaspora humanitarian engagement. There's a lot to get through so without further ado, we hope you enjoy listening!

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