The Role of Diasporas in Peace, Democracy and Development in the Horn of Afric

Ulf Johansson Dahre
Introduction: Transnationalism
and migration
The 5
annual Somalia International Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) Conference of the
Horn of Africa focused on “The Role of Diasporas in Peace, Democracy and Development”. The conference was held in Lund, Sweden, August 19-20, 2006. The content of this volume reflects some of the views and proceedings presented at the conference.
It is a well known fact that a large portion of the citizens of the countries of the
Horn of Africa have left the region for Europe, North America, the Middle East and
elsewhere. The aim of the conference was to explore causes and consequences of the
Horn of Africa transnationalism and its social, economic and politic impact on the
countries in the region. Questions posed centred around issues such as the positive
and negative aspects of transnationalism, conflicts and the long-term political social,
economic and cultural consequences of those connections.
The conference was interdisciplinary including African studies, Anthropology,
Human Rights, Sociology, Political Science, and Economic History and views from
several NGOs. The report is divided into four parts. The first part deals with general
issues in relation to the Horn, such as, human rights, the situation of women, and
conflicts. The second part deals with transnational issues concerning various countries on the Horn of Africa both in home and host countries. The third part deals
specifically with Somalia from different perspectives, including the situation on the
ground, conflict and reconciliation, media and the transnational Somali communities in the northern U.S.A. The fourth part of the report contains the specific recommendations from the workshops. The report is concluded by professor Arne Ardeberg, proposing the establishment of a Permanent Forum on the Horn of Africa at
the University of Lund.
The concepts of transnationalism and transnational social spaces originate from
globalization and migration research (Basch et al, 1992). Beside the extension of
markets and the intensification of trade and financial flows, globalisation processes
are strongly related to cross-border migration. The global networks of people, their
motives for migration and its effects on political economic, social and cultural structures form a growing field of research. But transnationalism is not a new social phenomena even if it is sometimes portrayed as such. For comparative reason we can see Continued


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