Diaspora Groups & Digital Diplomacy

Diaspora communities can and are playing a role in Digital Diplomacy. In conflict situations, trade issues and other international relations activities. We put forward that they will become increasingly important in this area in the future.

Digital Diaspora In Conflict Situations
The Syria conflict underway is a prime example of the role and importance of diaspora communities on both sides. In America, Canada and the UK for example, there are Syrians and sympathisers who support and oppose the Assad government. These groups create and publish content across a number of social media channels, seeking to gain the support of citizens and the government of their host countries. In addition, some Syrians have acted as information coordinators, gathering intelligence to share with rebel groups in Syria or helping facilitate the exit of people who are threatened. Similar actions have taken place in Sudan (now and in the past), Israel and other countries.

Natural Disaster Engagement
When a country such as Haiti is hit with a natural disaster, diaspora communities in Canada and the United States engaged online. Their objectives were to connect with local news media and citizens of their host country to keep awareness of the situation at the forefront to drive aid support. They also connect to groups at home in order to facilitate dialogue with aid organisations from their host country.

General Issues Awareness
In Canada and the United States for example, there are a number of Chinese diaspora who leverage social media and online tools to create awareness of issues of concern in China. These are around trade, human rights and the environment. They use these tools to connect with Canadian companies who may want to do business in China and also to help awareness for example with Canada’s department for International Trade. Similar actions are taking place in the United States. Increasingly, we are seeing evidence of diaspora communities in Canada and America coordinating their messaging on their views and lobbying agendas.

These are just some of the ways diaspora communities are engaging in digital diplomacy activities in their host countries. As our world is increasingly interconnected, it is likely that these communities will join together in neighbouring countries to better coordinate their messaging and activities.

What do you think? Do you agree? What would you add?

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