What’s diaspora got to do with it? Reflections on engaging Sri Lanka's diaspora communities in peacebuilding

This paper highlights the experiences of a peacebuilding practitioner and a diaspora partner in implementing cross-community dialogue work in the UK with the aim of long-term peace in Sri Lanka.

International Alert has been working with Sri Lanka’s diaspora communities for over four years, exploring their potential as an additional peacebuilding resource to those operating within the country.

Diaspora communities are a unique as peacebuilders, with multiple ties to the country of heritage and residence, but they are rarely homogenous and represent many political opinions and experiences.

A key challenge for building the peacebuilding capacity of diaspora communities is to acknowledge grievances, respect multiple opinions and harness collective capacity to address the needs of people on the ground. As part of this challenge, it is crucial to advocate for the acceptance and inclusion of all diaspora communities by Sri Lankan state and society.