[ Research ]

We aim to optimise the interactive experience, as we continue to map diasporic communities and their networks. Our mapping reports, which can also be consulted in the Initiatives section, include detailed analyses structured along the research matrix: demography (how population size has been reported), networks (how diaspora entities interact and with whom, both online and offline), governance (how the country of origin manages diaspora engagement and what institutional infrastructures are in place), and finally, impact metrics. The latter is based on the network and captures the impact of cooperation between two or more entities, as well as the impact of each node/entity within the network, based on the roles that entity performs (i.e.: facilitating connections with other organisations/institutions, outreach, relaying information (bridges), operating as community clusters etc.). There are plenty of resources to explore, from interactive networks (so far, the Romanian diaspora in the UK and Switzerland) and impact metrics, to a pilot analysis of diaspora governance (with a focus on Romania), in the Governance sub-section. The networks will be updated every year to permit a longitudinal analysis of how cooperation develops (to be implemented towards the end of 2022).


When we started researching the Romanian Diaspora there was no reliable data, we could use to test our hypotheses. First and foremost, a question that remains unanswered, how many Romanians live, work & study abroad? How can we discern between seasonal, circular, and permanent migration patterns? There are some indications, but the population size varies significantly, depending on the source. This is precisely why, our mapping reports, include a section on how the population size is reported, showing how various statistical bodies, national institutions, and international organisations frame demography. Providing an answer to this question – how many Romanians live abroad at any given time? – has numerous implications: from effective representation of the diaspora in the Parliament, and more targeted engagement, to more informed policies / diaspora strategies. Our hope is that gradually, we can mitigate this void by generating a reliable statistical and demographic repository, for each host country with Romanian communities. The same critical dimension can be effectively applied to researching other diasporas.

Secondly, there was no data on patterns of association and organisation abroad. How connected is the diaspora? What do Romanians pursue when they decide to relocate to a different country? What are the scope and impact of their initiatives? How do diaspora organisations cooperate, amongst themselves, with host and home country institutions, with civil society bodies? Are Romanians anchored and integrated in the host country or more inclined towards Romania? Why do we need to know all this? For the latter, the answer is quite straightforward. For the millions of Romanians dispersed across the globe, from Europe to the Americas and beyond, for this strategic constituency that showed a tremendous capacity to mobilise and produce meaningful change. Answering the previous questions required quite a bit of time, since we had to start from scratch.

Our research process involved creating a unique dataset of diaspora-related entities: formally registered diaspora associations/organisations, informal social media groups, diaspora online platforms, media, Orthodox parishes, student groups abroad, professional or business associations, Romanian schools etc. In absence of an up-to-date repository (cataloguing the associative environment) the initial data collection phase was a rather complex endeavour (see the Data Management Plan below, for a detailed appraisal of primary data collection). Once we mapped the actors geographically, by country of residence, we created a relational dataset of all their interactions, from publicly available mediums (social media pages, websites, media reporting, press releases etc). This process enabled us to visualise connectivity using Social Network Analysis methodology. Different from what has been done before, we managed to document both online and offline interactions. One of the most important metrics, the impact of diaspora initiatives helped us assess the influence of Romanian communities abroad and at home. Are Romanians capable of pursuing ambitious, long-term oriented agendas (like other diasporas)? Departing from this innovative knowledge base we were able to foster islands of good practice of how to cooperate transnationally on projects that benefit the entire community, of how to pool resources with like-minded diaspora civic groups and organisations in producing meaningful change. All projects past, and ongoing can be consulted in the Initiatives menu.

Another dimension we sought to integrate in our research is diaspora governance. Our policy briefs show how states engage diasporas, what institutions provide a public interface and how they facilitate this relationship. Our mapping of British communities abroad, contains a comparative section on diaspora governance. Our pilot assessment of diaspora governance focuses on Romania because the effectiveness of diaspora policies and strategies has not been properly documented (yet). For example, the Department for Romanians Abroad (Departamentul pentru Românii de Pretutindeni) funds projects which purportedly benefit all Romanians abroad. Is it truly the case though? In absence of a systematic review of all diaspora policies and strategies, there has been no institutional accountability of how public funds are being spent, nor how expenditures are being reported. Hence, we decided to address this persistent lack of transparency through an accessible monitoring tool that can be explored and understood by all. In the Governance sub-section, you can explore a radial bar chart of all diaspora projects funded by the Department for Romanians Abroad between 2014 and 2021, together with a detailed analysis of budgetary expenditures.

We also added a qualitative dimension to complement the quantitative analysis. Based on extensive semi-structured interviews and focus groups we documented how diaspora organisations accessed funding, embedding their experiences in an interactive debate tool. Our main inquiry focuses on whether the funding mechanism responds to the needs of those abroad. Public opinion seems to converge on a seminal point: a substantive reform cannot be delayed, and ought to start with how funding is allocated. For now, resources are in Romanian, however all our metrics and methodology can be easily applied to the study of other diasporas or governance infrastructures.



To mediate an understanding of how Romanians associate or organise themselves abroad, forming community associations, charities, volunteer networks and hubs, online groups and platforms, Romanian schools, and Orthodox parishes etc. we created the first (and perhaps only) relational database codifying geographically, by scope of activity, and type all diaspora entities whether formally registered associations or informal groups, both online and offline, per country of residence. Cooperation is assessed based on the frequency and strength (conferred by the weight) of interactions between different actors). We chose not to limit the scope, and as such the dataset includes institutions, civil society, media and the private sector from both home and host countries. This dimension enables a more rigorous appraisal of diaspora participation in the public sphere, of the rapports and interactions with public authorities, as well as the degree of political representation.

The process of codifying the data is followed by mapping the associative environment using a Social Network Analysis software which, upon processing, enables an interactive exploration by node (actor) categories and types of interaction. As for the former, the main category groups have been refined over the years to capture the diaspora eco-system at a granular level. The cards below indicate the taxonomy (by category, sub-category, and type), or how we classify all the actors.

TYPE (Examples)
Academic/educational institutions (country of residence)
Academic/educational institutions (Romania)
Universities, schools, research centres & independent institutes etc.
NGO Sector (Romania)
NGO Sector (country of residence)
NGO Sector (Other)
NGOs, local chapters, foundations, charities (national and/or local) etc.
Diaspora Entities
Diaspora Entities (Other diasporas)
Registered diaspora associations, community organisations, Romanian language schools (weekend), student chapters, volunteer-network, online groups & platforms etc.
Media (RO)
Media (Diaspora Journalism)
Religious Sector (Media)
Media (country of residence/international)
News & media outlets, information portals, investigative collaboratives, professional journalistic associations etc.
Business/Professional Associations
Bilateral trade/professional associations, chambers of commerce, diaspora businesses, etc.
Public Sector (Romania)
Public Sector (country of residence/ local administration)
Public Sector (country of residence/ national level)
Public Sector (Other)
National ministries and bodies, local authorities and local/regional public administrations, institutions for external representation (embassies, consulates, honorary consulates), etc.
Religious Sector (Institutions)
Religious Sector (Diaspora)
Religious Sector (other denominations)
Religious Sector (Charities)
Churches and parishes abroad (Orthodox & other denominations), ecumenical associations & charities, weekend schools (hosted by parishes),


Gauging the population size by countries of residence also helps us understand the broader associational activity of diasporic communities, as well as the spatial distribution of diaspora organisations and groups (if they have physical headquarters or traceable activities on the ground). One metric we employ is the associative density, or the average number of diaspora entities relative to the population’s size, which shows a community’s social capital and propensity to participate in volunteer-based activities, forming organisations, attracting membership, or engaging in advocacy. Our approach to interpreting (diaspora) demography takes a critical stance. Specifically, we inquire how statistical reporting, and the demographic appraisal of diasporas and migrant communities has evolved over time. Moreover, demographic data impacts political representation which renders diasporas into a strategic constituency in both home and host countries. Therefore, interpreting how demographic data is being reported, and to what end (i.e.: tailoring the delivery of public services, for electoral purposes or statistical projections) is a fundamental step in our inquiry, and useful for comparative purposes.


Modularity Class
Between -1 and 1
Employed to detect communities within a network, and cohesion inside the community higher than outside (more edges or interactions forming inside a cluster of entities rather than outside).

Geographical proximity (organisations, groups in the same city/town, region etc.), similar goals, and areas of interest may drive the formation of communities. Nodes (actors/entities) can be part of more than 1 community.
Degree Centrality
Values are network dependent.
A measure that provides a ranking of the most important nodes (entities) in a network. It is conferred by counting the number of edges (links) a node has. To be used in conjunction with the following measure.
Eigenvector Centrality
This centrality index measures the influence of a node within the network, not solely by the number of connections, but based on the centrality values of that node’s links.

A high eigenvector score means that a node is linked to other nodes with high centrality scores.
Closeness Centrality
(variant > Harmonic Centrality)
It is a measure of how often a node appears on the shortest paths between nodes in the network, by computing the average distance from a given node to all other nodes.

With this measure we can estimate how fast the flow of information would be through a given node to other nodes, thereby identifying hubs of information dissemination.
Represents the maximum distance from a node to any other node in the network, the reciprocal of eccentricity used a measure of importance.
Betweenness Centrality
Detects the influence a node has over the flow of information in a network graph. The algorithm calculates unweighted shortest paths between all pairs of nodes, identifying those nodes that serve as bridges linking parts/sections of the network.

It may be indicative of entities that facilitate the flow of information, brokering connections, and generally demonstrating high outreach capacity. Equally, this may be a measure of others’ dependence on a given node, and therefore is regarded as a measure of potential control, access efficiency and/or independence from the intermediaries’ potential control.
Clustering Coefficient
1 (neighbourhood is fully connected) Close to 0 (hardly any connections in the neighbourhood)
A measure of the degree to which nodes (entities) in a graph tend to cluster together, calculating how connected a vertex’s (node) neighbours are to one another.


One facet of our inquiry focuses on the degree to which diaspora governance acts as an opportunity structure for those abroad: responding to their needs and aspirations, strengthening organisational capacities, funding diaspora projects and initiatives and finally, upholding good governance norms.

For the comparative dimension of diaspora governance, we systematically review a government’s priorities in relation to its diaspora, how these priorities are translated into policies or diaspora strategies and with what outcomes. Using this approach we analysed diaspora governance in Italy, France, Ireland, and the UK, countries with vast diaspora infrastructures and impactful engagement strategies.

We also produced the first and most comprehensive dataset on diaspora governance in Romania, analysing the distribution of diaspora funding, budgetary allocations, whilst reviewing institutional performance (the Department for Romanians Abroad, Departamentul pentru Românii de Pretutindeni, DRP). The initial scope of our inquiry expanded once we became familiar with accessing funding (collaboratively) from Romania, also a way of testing the system, through embedded participation. We developed a monitoring instrument tracking all diaspora projects funded between 2014 and 2021 (to be updated annually.

The information we needed was not publicly available or lacked updates and standardisation. To this end, we filed multiple Freedom of Information Requests for the data to be released (based on L544/2001).

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