WASHINGTON, D.C.- On Thursday, July 25th through Friday the 26th, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Department of State hosted the 2012 Global Diaspora Forum (GDF), an annual celebration of America’s diaspora communities. The U.S.-Mexico Foundation (USMF) participated in a plenary panel during the conference, in addition to hosting a closing reception for the Latin America and Caribbean diaspora guests. During the panel, entitled "Future of Diaspora Engagement," moderated by Kathleen Newland of the Migration Policy Institute, Martha Smith highlighted the USMF Mexican American Leadership Initiative (MALI), as a prime example of how leaders in the U.S. are breaking new ground working with their home country, whether the ties to the home country are recent or from several generations ago.
The Global Diaspora Forum is an annual celebration of America’s diaspora communities. The gathering challenges diaspora communities to forge partnerships with the private sector, civil society, and public institutions in order to make their engagements with their countries of origin or ancestry effective, scalable, and sustainable. The event brings together a diverse range of stakeholders, all passionate about promoting diaspora engagement, including: leaders of diaspora communities; senior U.S. government officials, private sector stakeholders; representatives of international institutions and foundations; and issue experts.
Following the close of the forum, the USMF co-hosted a reception for diaspora community members from Latin America and the Caribbean with the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute. “We were so pleased to welcome such distinguished guests and partners in the diaspora sphere. We look forward to continuing to make great strides as UMSF through the MALI program and from our conversations during the 2012 GDF it is clear that we have the support of very strong partners in the non-profit and private sector and State Department," said Martha Smith, USMF President & CEO.
Attendees were greeted by Andrew Seele of the Woodrow Wilson Center and heard remarks by Gustavo Arnavat, Executive Director of the Inter-American Development Bank; Fabiola Rodriguez-Ciampoli, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs; and Kris Balderston, Special Representative for Global Partnerships, provided the keynote address on the importance of the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) and the outstanding work done by diaspora communities, highlighting MALI as one such exemplary initiative. Other senior officials from government agencies including the U.S. Department of State and USAID were also in attendance. Click here to see an album of photos from the event.