Kingsley Aikins CBE


I believe there is such a thing as diaspora capital, just as there is financial capital, human capital. Now all countries have diaspora capital. I am dedicated to teach nations how they can reap the dividends from their growing diasporas. There are 250 million people living in the world now in a country other than the one they were born in. That is three percent of the world’s population, about one-tenth in the developed world and three million people annually migrate. That 250 million is about triple what is was in 1990. The phenomenon of our time is migration. People moving around the world. In the old days, geography dictated your identity. Where you were living determined who you were. Now, because of technology and because of communications, things are different. You can be here and there. You can lead hyphenated lives. There are lots and lots of different hyphenated lives that people can lead. In the old days, absence equaled exile. If you left your country, you were gone, and you were gone for good. But now you can connect and you can connect in many different ways. Remittances are a huge industry. This year about $450 billion will be transferred as remittances. Remittances happen all around the world now. That’s a number which is going to grow dramatically. Reality and why diasporas are increasingly important is that the world is dramatically changing beyond all recognition. In fact, in many cases you could argue the world is not about countries, it’s about regions, and it’s about cities. The fact that the information age is now over, we now live in the networked age, the measurement of power is your connectedness. As I mentioned earlier, about how important place is and this sense of place – that where you are from means where you can and do go back and whom you network with and whom you trust. Trust is not an event; you don’t meet somebody today and trust them tomorrow .

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Global Economist, Globalist & Diasporist

Kingsley Aikins is a recognized leading authority on global diaspora issues, philanthropy and networking. Born in Dublin, Kingsley Aikins was educated at The High School, Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, from which he graduated with an honors degree in economics and politics. He also has a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Marketing and has studied and worked extensively in France and Spain. For five years he was the Sydney-based representative of the Irish Trade Board and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Ireland. He was a Founding Director of The Australian Ireland Fund. He founded the Lansdowne Club in Sydney which has become one of the largest Irish business networks in the world. For two years, he served as Executive Director responsible for the growth of the Fund in Australia and played a leading role in setting up The Ireland Fund of New Zealand. In January 1993, Aikins moved to Boston to take over as Executive Director of The American Ireland Fund. The Fund was set up in 1976 and since then has raised over $300 million for projects involved in peace, culture, community development and education throughout the island of Ireland. In June 1995 Aikins was appointed Chief Executive of the Worldwide Ireland Funds now active in 13 countries including Ireland. Kingsley worked for The Ireland Funds for 21 years and during that time over a quarter of a billion dollars was raised and distributed to over 1200 projects in Ireland, North and South.

In 2008 he was awarded a CBE for fostering British-Irish relations.He is a member of the Institutes of Marketing, Export and Linguists. He was also responsible for the successful five-year Hope and History Campaign to raise $100 million. After 21 years, he left The Ireland Funds and runs a consultancy company based in Dublin called Diaspora Matters which gives advice on diaspora issues to governments, corporates and individuals. Since its inception, Diaspora Matters has researched, written and spoken extensively on how different countries are engaging their diaspora communities. He writes and speaks extensively on philanthropy, diaspora and networking. In 2009, while with The Ireland Funds, Kingsley Aikins co-authored ‘The Global Irish Making a Difference Together’ which was a comparative review of international diaspora strategies. In 2011, having founded Diaspora Matters, Aikins produced a ‘Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit – Harnessing the Power of Global Diasporas.’ His subsequent work, the ‘Philanthropy and Fundraising Toolkit’ was based on his own experience of having raised over a quarter of a billion US dollars as Chief Executive of the Worldwide Ireland Funds. In 2012, he was the keynote speaker at the Hillary Clinton Global Diaspora Forum in Washington. Diaspora Matters has worked closely with the governments and diaspora NGOs in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, Scotland, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Argentina, Catalonia and Malaysia.