If you don’t ask, you don’t get
The old Welsh proverb, "Nerth gwlad, ei gwybodaeth" meaning “The strength of a country, its knowledge”, has never rang so true. Unfortunately, today, many years after this proverb was written, a lot of our acquired knowledge now exists outside of Wales. In this period of national, global, crisis it’s time to reconnect with our friends and bring that knowledge home. So, as we start look to the future with all its increasing uncertainty, what help can we look to our diaspora provide us?
"The old Welsh proverb, "Nerth gwlad, ei gwybodaeth" meaning “The strength of a country, its knowledge”, has never rang so true."
It’s estimated over 250 million people live outside their country of birth, and we know Wales has a lot of friends scattered around the globe. These friends are a rich source of knowledge and expertise that can be extraordinarily valuable to a country – never more so than in a time of crisis. However, you need to know who they are, where they are and what they are able and willing to contribute. That’s why an ongoing programme of proactive diaspora engagement is so important - a friend in need is a friend indeed.
Observing the coronavirus crisis unfold we are all concerned about our ability to cope. As we look beyond the crisis, we will increasingly ask, what needs to be done to get back to any sense of normality? In response to the current situation, many countries are actively looking to their diaspora for help. A few examples:
- Serbia is calling out to their diaspora for non-practicing health professional to return and help the fight against coronavirus.
- Denmark is accelerating its effort to connect the Danish diaspora for economic purposes and engage them through technology (like we’ve done with Connect)
- Ghana recently held an emergency global conference call for its diaspora to explore how they can support each other.
- Lebanon’s government has called on people in its diaspora to send donations to four bank accounts to aid the country’s fight against coronavirus.
- Pakistan's diaspora communities are being asked to help their home country meet national requirements relating to medical supplies and associated items.
- New Zealand has created a global directory of those who need help and those who can help (something we can do via Connect)
In Wales, we tend to look toward Westminster when in need. Whilst understandable, in our current political set-up, it doesn’t always produce the result we want, especially if there are opposing parties in power in Wales versus the UK as a whole. I would therefore argue that uncovering and mobilising the rich source knowledge and support from within the Welsh diaspora – our GlobalWelsh - would help us to answer many of our questions and solve many of our challenges.
"Wales is open to our friends around the world, we can bring them home, through digital means, and start tapping into our incredibly rich and diverse global resource, our greatest asset and our biggest fans – our diaspora, our GlobalWelsh."
We have an estimated three million ‘friends of Wales’ who, if asked, would rally to the cause in a crisis – some already are. Equally, in more stable times, our GlobalWelsh could re-engage with Wales in meaningful activities which align with an individual’s personal interests and addresses a national or local need. This can fall into many categories, be it economic, cultural, philanthropic or social.
So, as we start look to the future with all its increasing uncertainty, what help can we look to our diaspora provide us? In Romania the public are urging their government to encourage their diaspora to return and not only help the fight against coronavirus but take special measures to encourage them to stay, on a permanent basis.
Convincing diaspora to leave their adopted country and lifestyle, to return to the country they left (mainly due to lack of opportunity) is difficult and inevitably results in low levels of success. However, we know from our extensive research that returning diaspora tend to have a disproportionately positive impact when they return. This is due to their broader knowledge, experience and network.
When it comes to business and economic impact, through our global network, growing presence via City Hubs around the world and Diaspora Direct Investment activities, GlobalWelsh is building an impressive list of business leaders across the full spectrum of industry sectors - it appears that the Welsh character well equips us for modern business leadership roles. It is through this network that we look to have an impact in bringing investment, thought leadership and facilitate global trade during normal times. These are the foundations to facilitate opportunities via our diaspora away from home.
"We know from our extensive research that returning diaspora tend to have a disproportionately positive impact when they return. This is due to their broader knowledge, experience and network."
Equally our wider community can be mobilised to help Wales in a times of crisis and beyond. Through GlobalWelsh Connect our new online community platform Wales, and our friends, now have the means to engage in meaningful ways and create connections that may otherwise not have occurred. Whether it’s rallying key expertise, developing working groups or addressing challenges based on global experience and the passion for place there is finally a place where this can happen, where we can pose the questions.
Likewise, we have a key role to play in showcasing the talents, successes, expertise and skills of our diaspora back in Wales, and showcasing Wales on the global stage. Getting to know our diaspora, our global community, is important. In doing so we can foster new inspiration, raise aspirations among young people and offer new perspectives.
"Getting to know our diaspora, our global community, is important. In doing so we can foster new inspiration, raise aspirations among young people and offer new perspectives."
So, amongst many hard lessons to be learnt from the coronavirus crisis the most important is that communities matter, greatly. Whilst we can do much to help each other locally, and nationally, we are ultimately part of a global economy and a global community that’s no longer restricted by borders. Wales is open to our friends around the world, we can bring them home, through digital means, and start tapping into our incredibly rich and diverse global resource, our greatest asset and our biggest fans – our diaspora, our GlobalWelsh.
If you have a challenge you think GlobalWelsh can help with, please contact us today >> firstname.lastname@example.org
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