Decades of violent conflict in the Horn of Africa have been characterised by nation-state failures and the attempts of the international community to bring security to the region. Conflicts have led to the dispersal of refugees throughout the region and abroad, thus the role of the diaspora in these conflict settings has received attention. The migration-development debate in general has rapidly evolved into an issue in the fields of research, policy and practice.
Remittances and other support to the warring parties from the diaspora can easily fuel the conflicts and undermine peace building efforts at the local level. On the other hand, there is a lot of evidence that diaspora communities are involved in the processes of reconciliation and peace building, as well as community development and family life in the Horn of Africa.
Within multi-sited connectedness the issues of development, peace building and reconciliation are however not simple. They pose complex challenges (political, economic, cultural and psychological) for the re-interpretation of identities and traditions as well as learning and contesting new ideas and habits of the surrounding society. These re-interpretations and new ideas are immensely important for the way in which diaspora contribute to development and peace-building activities in their countries of origin.
This panel will deal with dynamics and complexities relating to the involvement of diaspora in their countries of origin, as well as assess the role of diaspora communities as development actors.