An interview with Dr. Marjorie Brennan on the outcome of the Diaspora Engagement Conference called “Models, Methods, and Mechanisms for Diaspora Engagement in Haiti: Leveraging knowledge, skills and resources for Mutual Economic Development” that took place on November 1-2 at Columbia University in New York. Dr. Brennan is the Founder and Executive Director of the Joseph Denis Thomas (JDT) Foundation, one of the organizers of the event.
What was your overall impression of the conference? Do you feel it achieved its objectives and purpose?
We gathered at Columbia University and spent two days exploring methods, mechanisms and models for Diaspora to come together and find solutions to pressing social and economic problems. We were fortunate to have a robust partnership of the National Association of Haitian Professionals, The Earth Institute at Columbia, and the Joseph Denis Thomas Foundation, which brought diverse viewpoints. There is a growing recognition of the substantial benefits that Diaspora populations can bring to development efforts in Haiti, not just as senders of remittances but also as sources of direct and indirect investments. Yet it is a challenge for the Diaspora to identify practical mechanisms and frameworks for these investments of time, talent, and financial resources.
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