Networking Practices and Factors Influencing Participation in Current Diaspora


The basis for a strong diaspora community is its cohesion and constant contact between its members through participation in diaspora events, organizations and groups. Unfortunately only 11% of the Latvian diaspora are members of its organizations, their numbers being especially low among national minorities and youth. The aim of this study is to provide an answer to the question – what would promote a wider participation of the members of diaspora in its life. The largest Latvian diaspora survey to date «The Emigrant Communities of Latvia» reveals that the most common way for Latvians living abroad to get involved in the life of the diaspora is by reading Latvian diaspora news portals, as well as newsletters and blogs of like-minded groups of people from diaspora. Last year, 24% of them have participated in an event for Latvians living abroad. However, 40% of them were not involved in the life of the diaspora in any way. Apart from Internet activities, 35% of Latvians or Latvian citizens living abroad were involved in the life of the Latvian diaspora in at least one way.


The involvement of minority emigrants, especially ethnic Russians, in the life of Latvian diaspora is negligible, thus, it is important to remember emigrants of other nationalities when designing events and to offer activities of interest to them as well. These can be sports events as well as participation in various other informal interest groups (astronomy club, discussion club, etc.) that would not focus on Latvian culture but on activities that could be of interest to people of any nationality.

Representatives of the old diaspora (Latvians in exile and their descendants) are significantly more often involved in both diaspora organizations and events, and often try to promote Latvian related activities in their children and grandchildren. Traditions have been actively maintained by diaspora organizations in the traditional «old» diaspora countries, but there are concerns that, as generations change, they may have become less relevant since the organizations themselves fail to change and adapt to the new circumstances. This study sheds light on the reasons that deter young people from participating in diaspora organizations and activities and suggest ways to make them more attractive to young people.