Virtual Leadership: The Next Phase of Diaspora Philanthropy

Jayaram Manivannan, Emerging Leader, International Fellows Program ~ 2006




In this paper, Jayaram Manivannan presents an innovative vehicle for diaspora philanthropy, termed as Virtual Leadership. He argues that members of the Indian diaspora have the potential, wealth, know-how, and the will to impact the development process in India. Manivannan argues that technology and falling costs of connectivity, in combination with societal conditions provide a favorable context for technological interventions by diaspora populations. The paper presents case studies of diaspora groups in New York and collective interaction among diaspora communities over the internet, including Mexican and Chinese-Americans. From such case studies, Manivannan sets out a series of expectations regarding the role of members of the Indian diaspora in shaping the social sector of India, and the impact of online interaction on villages/towns/communities. Finally, a set of recommendations is presented, including the need for Virtual Leadership to be employed in diverse areas of India to promote the legitimacy of philanthropy organizations, and for diaspora leaders to reach out to local partners in India.



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