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    "Guyana Needs its Diaspora"

    "Guyana needs its diaspora" - Minister Harmon at Diaspora Engagement Conference lunch

     

    Ministry of the Presidency

    Georgetown, Guyana – (July 26, 2017) Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, said that the Government of Guyana is committed to working with and engaging the Guyanese diaspora as, he noted, it possesses valuable skills, resources and talents, which can contribute to the growth and development of the country. The State Minister was at the time delivering an address at a special lunch for the University of Guyana’s Diaspora Engagement Conference of the Education Resource Ambassadors, at the Ramada Princess Hotel. The Conference is being held from July 23 to 28, under the theme, “Dreaming Diaspora Engagement, Doing Diaspora Engagement.”

    Minister Harmon said that the Government of Guyana recognises the crucial past, present and future roles of members of the diaspora in the nation’s affairs. “Our administration led by President Granger has used every opportunity to emphasise the importance of the diaspora to our country’s development. Our administration also recognises that the Guyanese diaspora include some of our brightest, most talented and best trained people, who possess enlightened work ethics from being in more developed societies and that it constitutes a vast reservoir of resources and talents needed here at home to help to confront the challenges of development,” he said.

    It is for these reasons, he said, the administration has sought ways and means of meaningfully engaging the diaspora, including the further development of the Guyana Diaspora Project, which was initially launched in 2012. This was done, he said, with the expressed objective of streamlining, in a sustainable way, the interaction and relationship between the Government of Guyana and the Guyanese Diaspora.

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    “I wish to underscore the fact that our on-going sustainable thrust to engage the diaspora goes way beyond obligatory efforts at fostering national identity and highlighting our cultural diversity abroad. Instead, the Government of Guyana’s enhanced diaspora engagement efforts also include, critical national development pursuits that seek to harness the expertise, resources, capacities and goodwill of the diaspora, which comprises our country men and women across the globe and who perhaps, outnumber us who reside in Guyana,” the Minister of State said.

    Minister Harmon said that the Government of Guyana is extremely mindful of the importance of each of the constituent groups that make up the Guyanese diaspora, whether in the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia or elsewhere. Further, the Minister said that diaspora engagement in today’s world has taken on proportions that have evolved out of the complexities of an international arena in which rights and privileges are sacrosanct. Similarly, national Governments, not excluding Guyana, have had to be cognisant of these global shifts and take appropriate action at the local levels.

    “It is in this context that diaspora affairs have not only grown in complexity and influence but also in relation to the demands on and the expectations of the national governments. As such we are a Government committed to ensuring a level playing field for Guyanese abroad, wherever they may be and that at all time, our stated and functional diaspora strategy reflects this policy in a transparent and even handed manner,” he said.

    Minister Harmon, in providing an update on the New Diaspora Engagement Strategy and Action Plan, which is being developed with the help of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said that it will be made available to the participants for them to give their thoughts and suggestions. This Plan will formally guide the Government’s relationship with the diaspora.

    The Action Plan is expected to address the concerns, which members of the diaspora have and have had over the years. This comprehensive policy document, Minister Harmon said will not be a dormant white paper but will instead, be a policy guide that will require stakeholders to adhere to principles based on international and other proven best practices and will be predicated on the unavoidable pervasive precepts of accountability and transparency. This, Minister Harmon said, is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to including and engaging the diaspora.

    Meanwhile, Minister Harmon commended the Vice Chancellor and the administration of the University of Guyana for the initiative, which he said is indeed an effort to move from “Dreaming Diaspora Engagement to Doing Diaspora Engagement.”

    “I have to no doubt that its culmination in the establishment of the Diaspora Engagement Centre will help to provide more structured and meaningful engagement of our people in the diaspora. I also think that the expressed intention to provide a neutral arena of engagement will be most useful,” he said.

    Vice Chancellor of UG, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, in brief comments, said that the engagements over the past few days have been very fruitful. He noted that the participation and interest of the Government and its Ministers, is also heartening even as the University is playing its role in bridging the gaps, which exists.

    “This Conference reflects our University’s willingness to help address the shore-home engagement gap, to help enable our nation to move beyond ‘Dreaming Diaspora Engagement to Doing Diaspora Engagement and to so mindful of our racial, political, demographic and socio economic realities at home and abroad,” he said.


    About the Guyana Diaspora Project (GUYD)

    What is GUYD?

    Guyana’s Diaspora (GUYD) Project is a project implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the IOM Guyana Office. The project seeks to engage Guyanese Diaspora by documenting skills, resources and the return interest and plans of those willing to support the development.

    The overall objective of the GUYD project is to contribute to the economic development of Guyana through the support and engagement of the Guyanese diaspora. The information obtained from the GUYD Project will act as an important indicator as to what skills and resources exist in the Diaspora and the interest of the Diaspora, which will serve as important factors guiding Government policy to engage the Diaspora.

    The history of increased migration from Guyana to other parts of the world started as early as the 1960’s due to the unstable economic conditions which prevailed during that period. Over the years, the migrant Guyanese population has increased, reducing much needed skills to support development within many sectors. As migration trends increase so has the desire of the diaspora to maintain a sense of identity, a connection to their place of origin and to contribute to the development of their home country.

    Through a mapping exercise, the project sets out to acquire information on the number of persons, organizations and associations that constitute the diaspora; which regions/countries they can be found and most importantly, what skills they may posses and are willing to share for the development of their homeland.

    Who is eligible to participate in GUYD?

    • All Guyanese living abroad
    • Children of Guyanese parentage living abroad

    GUYD project activities

    The Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) Project will be undertaking several activities that will widen the scope for reaching and engaging more members of the diaspora so as to open channels for greater discourse between the diaspora, the Government of Guyana and its homeland citizens.

    Mapping Exercise

    The GUYD Project staff will conduct an overall mapping of the Guyanese diaspora to analyze available skills and resources that can be employed by public and private organizations and institutions in Guyana.

    The mapping is carried out through an online survey of the diaspora. Face to face interviews and conversations between project staff and members of the Guyanese diaspora, introduction workshops as well as local calendar of activities will also be methods for engaging the diaspora. Click here to take survey.

    Reaching the Diaspora through Social Networks & Web tools

    The GUYD Project uses the effectiveness of social networking that allows easy accessibility for participation in the mapping exercise and the progress made.  Guyanese around the world will be able to access links to participate in the survey through some of the more popular networks such as Twitter, Face book, and LinkedIn.

    Make your participation count

    The information shared will be dealt with the strictest confidentiality and will only be used for the purpose intended.  The data derived from the survey will be used by the project’s representatives to compile data on who constitutes the Guyanese diaspora, where they can be found (state and country), what skills, resources and experiences they have and would like to share, where their interest lies and what expectations they may have in sharing their skills in Guyana.  This information will be collated on a database and can inform the second phase of the project which will facilitate the matching of skills to needs and gaps within the private and public sectors in Guyana.

    Introduction Workshops

    Staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IOM will meet and interact with representatives of diaspora groups and Guyanese Missions Overseas at introduction workshops with select cities, where there is a large Guyanese population. These groups will also be encouraged to participate in the online survey, promote and share information on the importance of registering and the benefit of development in Guyana to all Guyanese.

    The diaspora will benefit from discussions, presentations and a forum for answering questions and giving feedback on the project’s objectives.  Our frequently asked questions link on the website and feedback will provide additional information.

    Using the Platforms of Talented Guyanese

    Guyanese within the fashion and music industries who showcase their work internationally will be encouraged to support the drive for greater participation of the mapping exercises.  The GUYD project representatives will attend these activities to interact with, encourage registration and to promote participation towards development.

    For further information, please visit the Official Website for the Guyana Diaspora Project at: http://guydproject.minfor.gov.gy/ .

     

    "Would you like to give back to Guyana? Have you thought about volunteering with an organization of your interest? Have you always wanted to donate books to community libraries or schools in need? Have you thought about hosting a free seminar or lecture series? The possibilities are endless and we need you! Use the Guyana Diaspora (GUYD) website to tell us about your skills, interests, and ways in which you would like to help. We will do our best to get you involved." - GUYD Project

     

     

     

     

     

     

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