Global Diaspora Initiative

The Global Diaspora Initiative reinforces large-scale social change by connecting investors, entrepreneurs and influencers from Arab diaspora communities to engage with Ashoka Arab World and our exceptional Fellows in the Arab World to address the most pressing social issues in the Middle East & North Africa region by supporting local solutions to local problems.

Ashoka is determined to mobilize the Arab diaspora to invest in sustainable solutions to the region’s most pressing social problems. We want these investments to be effective and high-impact. Ashoka wants to shift the Arab diaspora’s current approach of charitable giving, to long term investments that create systemic social change.

We believe that the impact of having Arab diaspora leaders working closely with Ashoka Arab World and its community will: 1) help people from the Arab diaspora groups understand and value the role they can play in promoting positive change in their countries of origin; 2) enhance Ashoka Arab World’s capacity to deliver large-scale solutions to social challenges.

Why Diaspora?
Our experience has shown us that some of the most change-making citizens of a region are those that form a part of its diaspora, including emigrants or their descendants that feel a connection to the country of their heritage. Building a new life in a completely different environment triggers powerful entrepreneurial energies and, at the same time, changes one’s world-view. It is only natural that these entrepreneurial new-thinking people with a strong affinity for their own countries could become change-agents for these nations.

Today, there are some 13 million Arabs living outside of the Arab world. While remittances sent back to individual families are normal occurrences, there are few avenues in place to allow the Arab diaspora to sustainably give back to their country or region of origin. For the Arab diaspora, there has never been a more urgent time to mobilize. With the recent political and economic turmoil throughout the region, social entrepreneurship provides the innovative answers needed to tackle pressing social issues.

Our Approach
Innovative and entrepreneurial individuals in the Arab diaspora have advanced knowledge in their profession and sector, an intimate understanding of their countries of origin, and a desire to leverage their skill, perspective and resources to support and encourage sustainable positive change. To engage these individuals into the Ashoka Arab World community, the Global Diaspora Initiative will:
• Engage leaders and influencers from the Arab diaspora groups with ideas that bring about change in their home countries.
• Create a channel for members of the Arab diaspora communities to invest in initiatives that promote and build large-scale social impact in their countries and regions of origin.
• Partner with media outlets and storytellers to reach people from different diaspora groups who want to have access to and engage with solutions that are changing their local communities and countries of origin.