Monday, July 27, 2009
Edinboro Highland Games
The Edinboro Highland Games were going on at the same time as the huge Gathering of the clans in her sister city Edinburgh, Scotland!
See my photos of the Edinboro Festival!
Analysis: Scots groups worldwide need to unify
Published Date: 27 July 2009
By Alan Bain
HOMECOMING 2009 and The Gathering are both welcome signs of Scotland and the Scottish Government's interest in its Diaspora.
The successes of these two events are a clear indication of the importance attached by the Diaspora to coming home and reveal the potential economic as well as tourism legacy that those events can provide.
The legacy, however, will depend on the
egree and manner in which it is capitalised
upon by Scotland and its government.
Today's Homecoming Scotland Leadership Conference suggests the hope that the conference's sponsors – the American-Scottish Foundation and the Illinois St Andrew Society – have true partnerships that will evolve between Scotland, its government and the Diaspora.
We suggest that an approach to the Scots Diaspora akin to the non-controlling Irish model be taken. Development and evolution of these partnerships should be organic within a framework that is acceptable to both parties.
In the United States, for example, there is a feeling that greater benefit to both Scotland and its Diaspora could be achieved by a joined-up approach that each has for Tartan Day and Scotland Week.
The importance of a joined-up approach lies in the fragility of the Scottish Diaspora organisations.
The American-Scottish Foundation is volunteer-driven and has no endowment; it depends on membership dues and sponsorship income to function. Communications from Canada and Australia reveal a similar fragility.
Sustaining and building the Diaspora is an objective that both the Diaspora and the Scottish Government have in common. Scotland and its government, it is hoped, will play a vital role in the effort to attain this objective.
Scots abroad tend to gravitate to smaller communities with no access to St Andrew societies and their like. However, the internet can connect the Scottish community.
Discussions took place over the weekend concerning the formation of a single .sco internet portal that would bind Scots worldwide.
We urge that such an initiative be led by the Scottish Government and that it include all parties that have relevant information to provide.
We also encourage the government to develop a Diaspora Task Force that includes representation from those governmental, non-governmental and private sector organisations that have a stake in a successful outcome.
• Alan Bain is president of the American-Scottish Foundation.
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