Inter-Diaspora Round Table 25th February 2020
Inter-diaspora round table: Discussion on the Balkan region
Question about consequences of brain drain, one way migration, or whatever term seems most appropriate, is not a unique nor a new one. It has and continues to affect many regions, nations, communities. It shapes futures and affects daily life. New immigration law in Germany will add additional pressure to the Balkan region and provide an additional temptation to skilled workforce to leave. The consequences are yet to be fully felt, but could be devastating. There are already reports of cities and whole regions finding themselves without needed medical support and specialists, and the trend is likely to continue.
What can be done about it?
There have been many initiatives by individuals and organisations in countries of origin, but what has been missing was a regional element. How could the region get together and tackle this issue, that is slowly becoming a crisis. Recently, The Balkan forum has invited the Serbian City Club, together with representatives of around 16 members of the diaspora communities, of the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. Participants included academics, professors, civil society activists, doctors, engineers, lawyers and journalists residing in EU and US primarily, who all brought their invaluable experience and expertise, while exploring ways to constructively engage in a dialogue and a potential cooperation.
We all agreed that diaspora, or community representatives residing abroad, are a huge asset whose potential should be enhanced. We identified many commonalities in the way migration is affecting our countries of origin, and ways we could support each other and share best practice examples. We recognised diaspora communities from the region have historic issues and baggage, which have shaped attitudes and perceptions towards each-other. We reflected on common ground recognising what unites us, even when we disagree. We acknowledged challenges that lay ahead, and the need to clarify the specific ways forward, before getting lost in vastness of the issue. Above all, we identified the best way forward would be to work together.
Invitation to attend the inter-diaspora round-table discussion was greatly appreciated – we felt privileged to be able to share our experiences and thoughts on the matter, as this topic has been one of our key priorities during our last fifteen years of activity.