Digital diasporas and international development: Afghan-Americans and the reconstruction of Afghanistan


  • Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff

    Corresponding author
    1. Public Administration and International Affairs, School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
    • Associate Professor, School of Public Policy and Public Administration, George Washington University, 805 21st Street, NW Suite 601, Washington, DC, 20052, USA.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This article draws upon research conducted under the research programme Digital Diasporas, Identity and International Policy Process (DIP2) for which the author was co-principal investigator with Lori Brainard. The author would like to acknowledge the Center for the Study of Globalization at the George Washington University for its generous funding of this ongoing research programme and to thank Thomas Bryer, Andrew Edelson, Sarah Epps and Tara Hill for their helpful research assistance.


Digital diasporas, diasporas organised on the Internet, offer potential to contribute relevance, representativeness and responsiveness in meeting development needs. Following a brief overview of thorny dilemmas faced by the changing international development industry, the article discusses diasporas and their current role in international development, and examines the potential mobilisation and communication benefits afforded by the Internet. Three organisations of the Afghan-American digital diaspora are described, representing a range of development activities and intentions. Two sets of propositions are presented: those for digital diasporas seeking to promote effective development contributions and those for actors in the traditional international development industry. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.