IOM Project: Iraqi minorities in diaspora
A team at UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance has been commissioned by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) office in Iraq to research how ethno-religious communities in the Iraqi diaspora, namely Christian and Yazidi communities, engage with Iraq and with diaspora community structures in countries of residence. The study focuses both on individual Iraqi migrants and on diaspora organisations/associations/businesses that are owned or founded by Iraqi migrants and/or focus on Iraq. The study maps diaspora organisations created by Iraqi migrants in selected focus countries, including Germany and the United States, and explores the role of organisations in supporting engagement with Iraq, including in aspects such as political participation and civic engagement, knowledge exchange, financial support, cultural exchange and reconciliation, and humanitarian relief. This assessment identifies barriers or constraints to engagement that reflect the contexts (e.g., legal environments, private sector ecosystems, limited social networks) in either country of residence or Iraq. The project also explores how Iraqi migrants, including ethnic and religious minorities, perceive the prospect of temporary or more long-term return to Iraq by analysing the factors that limit or encourage their future return intentions. The research team includes Eleni Diker, Mohammad Khalaf, Soha Youssef, and Dr. Michaella Vanore, who have so far completed focus group discussions, in-depth-interviews, and surveys among members of the Iraqi diaspora in the US and Germany.