U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she believes U.S.-based diaspora communities can help solve problems back in their home countries - either by doing work themselves or by partnering with the U.S. government.
Clinton made her remarks Wednesday at the opening of the second annual Global Diaspora Forum in Washington. The two-day event has drawn more than 500 U.S.-based diaspora community leaders and senior U.S. officials. This year's forum is called "Moving Forward by Giving Back" and focuses on how these two groups are partnering around the world.
Clinton credited the Syrian diaspora community's advice for enhancing Washington's efforts to help the country's opposition form a new government. She said Syrians abroad are serving as a link between the international community and opposition activists on the ground.
She also praised the Syrian diaspora for helping to collect funds and humanitarian assistance for civilians caught in the violence engulfing their country.
Recalling her recent trip to Asia, Clinton said she saw how both profitable business ventures and innovative non-profits launched by U.S.-based Vietnamese have helped bring much needed services and jobs to their homeland since the end of fighting in Vietnam. She said these efforts help bring Vietnamese and American societies together.
The first day of the forum is featuring sessions on the future of diaspora engagement and innovations for giving back, which include using mobile applications. Thursday will feature sessions on creating public-private partnerships and identifying new opportunities for diaspora engagement with Washington.