The Opportunity

Over the last 45 years, the number of people worldwide living outside their country of origin has almost tripled—from 76 million to 215 million. In 2012 alone, this global diaspora sent over $534 billion to their friends and families in developing countries. The United States has the largest number of global diaspora members of any country in the world. Indeed, virtually all Americans have immigrant roots—and these roots are a quintessential part of our national narrative. As informal ambassadors for the United States in their countries of origin, the diplomatic and developmental influence of global diaspora communities has been largely overlooked.

The Alliance

To unleash this potential, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP), in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) at the Secretary’s Global Diaspora Forum on May 17, 2011. IdEA harnesses the global connections of diaspora communities to promote sustainable development in their countries of heritage. By supporting partnerships around entrepreneurship, volunteerism, philanthropy, and innovation, the Alliance provides a platform for capacity-building and a forum for collaboration across sectors to expand efforts and to improve lives in countries of origin.

The Pillars

IdEA promotes the following three core modes of diaspora engagement around the world:

1. ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Expand entrepreneurship and investment through supporting diaspora entrepreneurs in investing and building sustainable enterprises as well as stimulating trade in countries of origin.

2. INNOVATION: Foster research and resource collaboration between science and technology diaspora communities and their counterparts in countries of origin.

3. PHILANTHROPY & VOLUNTEERISM: Encourage platforms that facilitate diaspora volunteerism and cultivate diaspora giving in areas of education, health, nutrition, and disaster relief in countries of origin.

Learn more at

IdEA Partnerships:

African Diaspora Marketplace is a public-private partnership aimed at harnessing the knowledge and resources of U.S.-based African diaspora and other entrepreneurs to address economic opportunity and advancing the ability of small-medium sized business (SMEs) in Sub-Saharan Africa to obtain capital. Website»

Caribbean Idea Marketplace is a business competition platform which aims to foster collaboration between local and global Caribbean diaspora entrepreneurs to develop and expand innovative projects that will generate employment and economic growth. Website»

Latino American Idea Partnership (La Idea) is a business competition platform that fosters collaboration between entrepreneurs in the United States and Latin America with the goal of expanding innovative businesses that will generate employment and economic growth throughout the Americas. Website»

The IdEA partnership also organizes an annual Global Diaspora Week (GDW), which recognizes and celebrates diaspora communities and their contributions to global development. GDW is intended to create awareness, enable collaboration and enhance learning amongst those working with diaspora communities in different locations around the world.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future