Time and location

Tuesday, 3 December 2019, 9:00 - 18:15
Don Bosco Haus Veinna
St. Veit-Gasse 25, 1130 Vienna

2 December 2019, 19:00 - 21:00 Uhr
Panel discussion: Afghanistan Between War and a New Beginning

Provisional Programme

9:00 - 9:30 Registraton

9:30 – 12:00 Welcome and Opening Session

Sybille Straubinger, Director, VIDC

Désirée Schweitzer (tbc), Director General, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria

Emal Haidary, Journalist, Agence France-Press (AFP), Kabul:
Status Quo of diaspora and migration policy in Afghanistan

Sara Soltani, Advisor Governance & Human Rights, Austrian Development Agency:
Diaspora engagement and development policy in Austria

Mingo Heiduk, Head of Unit at Danish Refugee Council's Diaspora Global Programme:
Diaspora Support to Durable Solutions - Report from the Afghan Diaspora Conference on 15 November in Copenhagen

Shugufa Kakar, Aria Students, The Netherlands:
Why gender matters? Challenges for Afghan women's organisations in Europe

Chair: Michael Fanizadeh, VIDC

12:00 – 13:00 Presentation of Afghan Diaspora Initiatives in Europe

Ali Ahmad
Danube University Krems (DUK)/VIDC): A road map to Afghan Diaspora Engagement in Europe

13:00 – 14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 14:30 Presentation of Workshop Sessions

14:30 – 16:30 Workshop Sessions

Workshop 1: Funding models for diaspora engagement

Workshop 2: (Self-) Empowerment of Afghan women

Workshop 3: Project-related challenges in the context of education, vocational training and health

Workshop 4: Challenges for Afghan refugees in neighbouring countries and Europe

16:30 – 17:00 Coffee Break

17:00 – 18:00 Presentation of the Workshop Results

18:00 – 18:15 Closing of the Conference

Languages: English and German with simultaneous interpretation; two of the  workshops in the afternoon will be held in English and German the other two without simultaneous translation into German.

Registration: fanizadeh@remove-this.vidc.org

Networking Conference: Knowledge Transfer and Support. The Role of the Afghan Diaspora in Europe

© Katib Cultural Association, Denmark
© Katib Cultural Association, Denmark


It is increasingly recognised that diaspora communities have a significant impact on the economic, social and political development of their country of origin through targeted projects ranging from knowledge and skills transfer, direct investment, trade, empowerment of women, support for health and education centres, to the provision of humanitarian aid. Both, countries of residence and countries of origin are increasingly recognising the values of diaspora communities and seeking to integrate them in a variety of ways. Host countries support diaspora organisations by integrating them into development cooperation, migration and integration policy, while home countries seek to integrate diaspora talent, innovation, networks and resources.

The Afghan diaspora is no exception: Many Afghans in Europe have organised themselves into social, cultural, sports and women's associations. They fight prejudices and discrimination, organize political and cultural events, as well as training and further education measures. These organisations are also very active in helping newly arriving Afghans and refugees to get started in Europe. In addition, Afghan CSOs are increasingly becoming actors in development in their country of origin.

Objective and expected outcome of the conference

The first European conference of Afghan Diaspora organizations in Austria aims to honour the diversity of Afghan associations and to present and discuss good practices from different European countries. The conference also brings together actors from the Afghan community with public institutions and international organisations, as well as development NGOs and practitioners. In addition, the conference will provide recommendations for future measures and for better integration of Afghan diaspora organisations into development and migration policy.

Guiding questions

  • What are good examples of Afghan diaspora initiatives in Europe?
    What successful projects do we know of in the field of education and training?
  • What are the challenges the Afghan community faces in Europe today in terms of racism and discrimination?
  • What are the ways and obstacles to integrating Afghan diaspora organisations and individuals into development cooperation?
  • What are the main challenges related to integration?
  • What skills and training are needed to increase the active participation of Afghan diaspora organisations in development policy?
  • What financing models for diaspora engagement exist?
  • What role does support for women's projects play in Afghanistan?
  • How can the empowerment of women in the Afghan community be strengthened?