Diaspora discussed at Foreign Ministry

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On 6 October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a meeting of the working group on diaspora policy to discuss current research projects undertaken by the Centre for Diaspora and Migration Research of the University of Latvia with a special focus on the education of children and young people of the diaspora, the ministry said in a news release.

The Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large for the Diaspora, Pēteris Kārlis Elferts noted that the Centre’s competence in research enables Latvia to create a "coherent, high quality policy aimed at cooperation with the diaspora and its engagement in processes in Latvia, as well as supporting the organisation of events."

Aija Lulle, Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Migration Research, and researchers Arta Mellupe and Elza Ungure presented the Centre’s activities for 2015.

An important topic being considered at the moment concerns children and youth of the diaspora. A conference on the prospects for their education is to be held in Riga on 22 October.

Based on research compiled so far, the Centre will be publishing a book presenting a comprehensive analysis of the history of the diaspora schools from the perspective of several generations, their present-day problems and opportunities, the integration of children in the Latvian school system after their return from abroad and other issues related to identity and values.

This is the first study on such a scale, and it covers 18 different topics. Aija Lulle noted that research clarifies, for instance, the course of education of diaspora children in their countries of residence and problems experienced, and offer recommendations for parents on how they can help their children that are attending school abroad.

This year, the Centre continued research on diaspora tourism, namely, the role and involvement of the diaspora in Latvia’s tourism development. The Centre will present its study at a conference entitled “Diaspora Tourism Research on the Baltic States: the State of Affairs Today and Future Challenges” scheduled for 7 October.

At the beginning of 2015, the wider public and those involved in formulation of the diaspora policy were introduced to the Centre’s study the diaspora’s political representation. A study was also undertaken on diaspora media and media platforms.

The working group has also initiated research on other issues important for the diaspora, such as educational opportunities for diaspora students in Latvia, dual citizenship, and information that could be useful for facilitating the return of members of the diaspora to Latvia.

Taking part in the meeting of the diaspora working group were representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the World Federation of Free Latvians, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Latvian Language Agency, the Ministry of Economy, and the Society Integration Foundation.

The Centre for Diaspora and Migration Research of the University of Latvia was established on 1 September 2014. The Centre’s website at www.diaspora.lu.lv/ provides the latest information on the Centre’s activities and research projects.

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