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Unleashing the "smart power" of US-based diaspora professionals and entrepreneurs...

IdEA logo (This article first appeared on the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA) website in mid-August 2012, soon after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced our partnership at the 2nd Global Diaspora Forum in Washington DC. It is being reproduced here for the convenience of our blog readers and rss subscribers). Dr. Ravi Gundlapalli, CEO of MentorCloud

I was recently invited to speak at Secretary Clinton’s second Global Diaspora Forum in Washington, DC on July 25-26, 2012. I had a wonderful time sharing MentorCloud’s vision and technology during events at the U.S. Department of State and USAID. I enjoyed witnessing the incredible response to the idea of people coming together to empower others by sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Secretary Clinton described MentorCloud as “a new mentoring and networking web platform specifically for diaspora members trying to get involved and give back.” At the 2011 Global Diaspora Forum, Secretary Clinton said that, “Diaspora communities have the potential to be the most powerful people-to-people asset we can bring to the world’s table.” During her keynote address this year she added, “By tapping into the experiences, the energy, the expertise of diaspora communities, we can reverse the so-called “brain drain” that slows progress in so many countries around the world, and instead offer the benefits of the “brain gain.” What an innovative idea! MentorCloud can be the platform that unleashes the ‘smart power’ of over 62 million U.S. diaspora members.

The theme of this year’s Forum was “Moving Forward by Giving Back,” with distinguished speakers and panelists sharing how new technology can empower and increase diaspora philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, and social innovation. The positive energy that I experienced at the Forum was very inspiring. Over 500 delegates representing diaspora organizations from all over the world engaged actively, forging new friendships and partnerships that will undoubtedly lead to tremendous results in the years to come.

USAID administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah summed it up nicely. He said during his opening remarks on the second day, “One of the things that makes this country great is the fact that there are 62 million of us. And the fact that so long as we’re the country where people aspire to come to succeed, we’ll be the greatest country in the world. And so long as we connect that success back to where we came, that’s the embodiment of our humanity and our commitment to ourselves.”

MentorCloud is proud and privileged to be a strategic partner for this historic initiative. Our sincere appreciation and plaudits to Romi Bhatia, Thomas Debass, Kris Balderston, Kathleen Newland, Deena Shakir, Malina Dumas and others from the IdEA team for organizing such a fantastic, inclusive and highly inspiring conference. Thanks to Vuyo Dunjwa (Executive Chairman of the Board, Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce), Greg Buie (Chief Operating Officer, People to People), and Francis Robles (Chief Financial Officer, FUPEC-CA) and Elmer Arias, (President, FUPEC-CA) for joining me during my presentation and sharing your remarks on how you envision leveraging and complementing this platform for your organizations’ development programs in your respective communities and countries of origin/heritage.

I believe that knowledge and experience are those rare things that grow in yourself when you share them with others. Make a pact with yourself today to:

a) Be a mentor and share what you know

b) Be a mentee and seek to learn from others who have been there, done that, and accelerate your own career.

ps: Link to the original article on IdEA website.