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Scientific diasporas as development partners

Skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa in Switzerland: empirical evidence and policy responses- Preface by Jean-Baptiste Meyer

Edited By Gabriela Tejada Guerrero and Jean-Claude Bolay

Over the last two decades, globalisation has accelerated international migration flows, particularly of skilled labour. Yet increasing migration by skilled workers from developing countries («brain drain») has raised serious concerns internationally about the adverse development impact on their countries of origin. This book, however, highlights the positive aspects of skilled labour migration as scientific diasporas are playing a growing role in the transfer of technology, skills and knowledge («brain gain») to their home countries. This is a very significant development in a globalised world where science, technology and knowledge can trigger economic and social transformations. The book presents solid empirical evidence of the contributions scientific diasporas make to their countries of origin, based on primary surveys of skilled migrants from Colombia, India and South Africa employed in Switzerland, a major destination country. The findings lead to a better understanding of the motives for migration, the profile of the scientific diaspora communities in Switzerland, and the varied ways in which they help their home countries. The book makes a significant contribution to the international policy debate and dialogue on migration and development. In particular, it shows how to leverage the potential of scientific diasporas as agents of home country development, by identifying good practices and offering specific recommendations for the countries of origin and of destination.

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Chapter 1 North-South Scientific Cooperation: a Challenge for Sustainable Development by Jean-Claude BOLAY 3

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Chapter 1 North-South Scientific Cooperation: A Challenge for Sustainable Development Jean-Claude BOLAY1 1. Introduction If this research on the role of scientific diasporas as catalysts for development of countries of origin is meaningful, it is because it looks into one of the main factors of development cooperation: human resources. To be more precise, it looks at the role played by scientific and professional elites in transforming society in so-called developing and emerging countries. We therefore start from the very general but nevertheless important pre- cept that science and technology – research, high-level training and techno- logical innovation – make a contribution to the sustainable development of the planet. In an increasingly globalised world, this contribution takes place not just at the local but also continental and international levels, whether it be within academic institutions or public or private companies. The pre-eminence of the scientist as a key factor of development is no longer disputed. However, we would like to remind the reader, in this brief introductory chapter, of a few characteristics of the predominant international situation so as to highlight a number of general considerations, as well as a few features specific to countries and regions in the developing world and the im- pact these have on their societies. Lastly, we will attempt to draw out the les- sons learned over the past few years to ensure that together scientific coopera- tion and development provide the means to achieve two major aims: excellent scientific and technological production and its appropriateness to the...

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