Engaging Diaspora in Reconciliation Efforts in Sri Lanka: Lessons Learnt


  • Amjad Mohamed-Saleem International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies




Disadvantageous Group, Sexual Orientation Discrimination, LGBTI , Turkey


With nearly three million Sri Lankans living overseas, across the world, there is a significant role that can be played by this constituency in post-conflict reconciliation.  This paper will highlight the lessons learnt from a process facilitated by International Alert (IA) and led by the author, working to engage proactively with the diaspora on post-conflict reconciliation in Sri Lanka.  The paper shows that for any sustainable impact, it is also critical that opportunities are provided to diaspora members representing the different communities of the country to interact and develop horizontal relations, whilst also ensuring positive vertical relations with the state. The foundation of such effective engagement strategies is trust-building. Instilling trust and gaining confidence involves the integration of the diaspora into the national framework for development and reconciliation. This will allow them to share their human, social and cultural capital, as well as to foster economic growth by bridging their countries of residence and origin.

Author Biography

Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Amjad is a recently completed PhD student from Exeter University.  He is currently the manager for the Inclusion, Engagement and Protection team at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva. Amjad has extensive expertise and knowledge in social inclusion and building a culture of non-violence and peace. He is a political analyst on South Asian issues with expertise in Humanitarian and Development matters, Peacebuilding and Interfaith Dialogue. His last job before joining IFRC was Country Director of International Alert Sri Lanka where he led a project to develop a ‘Roadmap for Engagement with Overseas Sri Lankans’, for the Government of Sri Lanka to engage productively and pragmatically with Sri Lankan overseas communities for peace building and reconciliation.  He has also worked in the past as a consultant for KAICIID, Search for Common Ground, Islamic Development Bank, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Cordoba Foundation, Islamic Relief amongst others.  He was the Country Director of Muslim Aid for Sri Lanka (and Bangladesh) from 2005-2009.

Amjad sits on the board of  the Joint Learning Initiative for Faith and Communities. He was a thematic advisor for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2015, the vice chair for the NEAR Network  and civil society advisor to the Commonwealth Foundation.  He is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and State of Formation, an alumni of the International Visitors Leadership Program and a Hive Global Leaders Fellow. Amjad has an M.Eng from Imperial College, London, a MBA from U21 Global Singapore and has completed his PhD from Exeter University on ‘Muslim Identity in Post Conflict Sri Lanka’.



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How to Cite

Mohamed-Saleem, A. (2020). Engaging Diaspora in Reconciliation Efforts in Sri Lanka: Lessons Learnt. Migration Letters, 17(1), 7–16. https://doi.org/10.59670/ml.v17i1.739