"America's foreign policy begins at home." This is an often-quoted statement by policy leaders in recent times, from Secretary John Kerry to Richard Hass, to describe the direction of contemporary U.S. foreign policy. But is it mere rhetoric? For hosting the largest number of international diaspora in the world, America should indeed focus more attention to these millions of its residents who act as natural agents and bridges between the U.S. and their countries of origin. In fact, America's foreign policy ought to begin at home.
The Global Diaspora Forum
While I have previously written about the broadened role and engagement of the global diaspora through an example of my own initiative -- Educate Lanka Foundation -- I believe the just-concluded third annual Global Diaspora Forum (GDF) deserves recognition and coverage to educate a wide spectrum of change leaders about America's focus on this often overlooked communities. Organized by the International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA), a public-private partnership by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Migration Policy Institute, GDF exemplifies the notion of American foreign policy and diplomacy starting at home.
Initiated under the tutelage of Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2011, the forum has continued to evolve and advance through improved resources and strengthened relations with the global diaspora communities and organizations. This year's forum, focused on the next generation of diaspora leaders and youth, attracted members from more than 100 countries and took place in five major cities simultaneously, demonstrating its reach beyond the closed doors in Washington, D.C.
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