Diaspora: Origins, Evolution and Engagement

By Sunday 14 February 2021 No Comments

By: Melissa Siegel

This explainer video gives a brief introduction to the concept of diaspora looking at the origins of the term, how definitions differ and have changed and evolved over time as well as how governments often try to engage their diaspora.

0:00​ Introduction
0:28​ Classical vs Modern Definitions
3:12​ Institutional Definitions
4:15​ Diaspora Engagement

  • Thank you to Kevin O’Dell for help on this video

African Union Logo By Source, Fair use,
Maps by

Cohen, R. (2008). Global Diasporas: An Introduction. Routledge: London.
Faist, T. (2010). “Diaspora and Transnationalism: What Kind of Dance Partners?” in Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories, and Methods. Bauböck, R. and T. Faist, eds. Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam.
Gamlen, A. (2006). “Diaspora Engagement Policies: What are they, and what kind of states use them?”. Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society Working Paper No. 32. University of Oxford.
Sheffer, G. (2003). Diaspora Politics: At Home Abroad.” Cambridge University Press: New York.
Vertovec, S. (2009). Transnationalism. Routledge: London.
Vezzoli, S. and T. Lacroix (2010). “Building Bonds for Migration and Development: Diaspora Engagement Policies of Ghana, India, and Serbia.” GTZ Discussion Paper.

Melissa Siegel is a Professor of Migration Studies and Head of Migration Studies at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and UNU-MERIT